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JOURNAL OF TELECOMMUNICATIONS, VOLUME 29, ISSUE 2, FEBRUARY 2015

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Study of UWB On-Body Radio Channel for
Ectomorph, Mesomorph, and Endomorph
Body Types
Mohammad Monirujjaman Khan, Ratil Hasnat Ashique, and Md. Raqibull Hasan
Abstract—The effects of different human body sizes and shapes on the ultra wideband (3-10 GHz) on-body radio propagation
channels are investigated. In this paper, three different human body sizes (Ectomorph, mesomorph and endomorph) are
investigated. Experimental investigation is performed using a pair of Tapered Slot Antennas (TSA) in the indoor environment.
Thirty four different receiver locations on the front part of the human body are considered for calculating the path loss. Results
and analysis show that due to three different types of human body shapes and sizes maximum of 31.8% variation in path loss
exponent is observed. The effect of the three different human body sizes and shapes variations on the 8 different ultra
wideband on-body radio channels was also studied.
Index Terms— Body-centric wireless communications, body size effects, on-body radio channel; path loss, ultra wideband.

——————————  ——————————

1 INTRODUCTION

B

ODY-centric wireless communications (BCWCs) is a
central point in the development of fourth generation
mobile communications. In body-centric wireless
networks, various units/sensors are scattered on/around
the human body to measure specified physiological data,
as in patient monitoring for healthcare applications. A
body-worn base station will receive the medical data
measured by the sensors located on/around the human
body. Body-centric wireless networks have a range of
applications, from monitoring of patients with chronic
diseases and care for the elderly, to general well-being
monitoring and performance evaluation in sports [1], [2],
[3], [4], [5].
The human body is considered an uninviting and
even hostile environment for a wireless signal. The diffraction and scattering from the body parts, in addition to
the tissue losses, lead to strong attenuation and distortion
of the signal. In order to design power-efficient on-body
communication systems, accurate understanding of the
wave propagation, the radio channel characteristics and
attenuation around the human body is extremely important. In the past few years, researchers have been thoroughly investigating narrow band and ultra wideband
on-body radio channels. In [6], [7], [8], [9], [10], [11], [12],
[13] on-body radio channel characterisation was presented at the unlicensed frequency band of 2.45 GHz. In
[14], [15] [16] [17] [18] [19], [20], [21], [22], [23] ultra wideband (UWB) on body propagation channels have been

characterised and their behaviour has been investigated
in indoor and chamber for stand-still, various postures
and dynamic human body. The shapes and sizes of the
human body will significantly affect the propagation
paths and cause large variations in the path loss for onbody radio links.
In this paper, ultra wideband on-body radio propagation study is performed by characterizing the path loss for
three different real human subjects of different shapes
and sizes. The body sizes of the test subjects used in this
study are characterised as Endomorph (thin), Ectomorph
(medium build) and Mesomorph (fatty/larger size). Measurement campaigns were performed in the indoor environment using a pair of Tapered Slot antennas. The effect
of the three different body sizes and shapes on the path
loss for various on-body links were investigated and analysed.
The rest of the paper is organized as follows; section 2
illustrates the measurement setup, section 3 presents
measurement results, radio channel parameters and modelling aspects, and finally section 4 draws the conclusion.

2 MEASUREMENT SETTINGS

For this study, three real human subjects with different
body sizes and shapes were used in this measurement
campaign (as shown in Fig. 1). Table I shows the
dimensions of three different subjects used in this
measurement (Male1, Male2, Male3). In this study, a pair
————————————————
of Tapered Slot antennas was used (see Fig. 2) [24]. A
 Mohammad Monirujjaman Khan is with the Department of Electrical and HP8720ES vector network analyser (VNA) was used to
Electronic Eng. at Primeasia University, Banani, Dhaka, Bangladesh.
measure the transmission response (S21) in the frequency
 Ratil Hasnat Ashique is with the Department of Electrical and Electronic
range of 3-10 GHz between two antennas of the same
Engineering, Primeasia University, Banani, Dhaka, Bangladesh.
Md. Raqibull Hasan is with the Electrical and Electronic Engineering De- type placed on the body. The frequency range was set to
partment, Primeasia University, Banani, Dhaka, Bangladesh.
3-10 GHz, with 1601 points and with a sweep time of 800
ms. The network analyser settings were shown in the

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Table II. During the measurement, the transmitter
Tapered Slot antenna connecting with the cable was
placed on the left waist and the receiver Tapered Slot
antenna was successively attached on 34 different
locations on the front part of the body as shown in Fig. 3.
The test subjects were standing still during the
measurements and, for each receiver location and
measurement scenario, 10 sweeps were considered. The
effects of the cable were calibrated out.
The measurement campaigns were performed in the
Body-Centric Wireless Sensor Laboratory at Queen Mary,
University of London [25]. The total area of the lab is 45
m2 which includes a meeting area, treadmill machine,

(a)Male 1
(b) Male 2
(c) Male 3
Fig. 1. Photographs of the three test male subjects used for
ultra wideband on-body radio propagation channel measurement (dimensions are shown in Table I).

TABLE 1
THE DIMENSIONS OF THREE REAL HUMAN TEST SUBJECTS USED IN THIS STUDY
Dimensions
Height (cm)
Weight (kg)
Chest Circumference (cm)
Waist Circumference (cm)

Male 1
182
70
87

Male 2
178
78
93

Male 3
188
120
124

79

86

130

TABLE 2
NETWORK ANALYSER SETTINGS
Frequency Band
Frequency Points
Sweep Time
Number of Sweep
VNA Transmit
Power

3 to 10 GHz
1601
800 ms
10
0 dBm

workstation and a hospital bed for healthcare applications

Fig. 3. Ultra wideband on-body radio propagation measurement
settings showing the transmitter antenna is on the left waist while
the receiver antenna is on 34 different locations of the body.

3 ULTRA WIDEBAND ON-BODY PARAMETERS FOR
DIFFERENT HUMAN BODY SHAPES
The path loss for each receiver location is directly calculated from the measurement, averaging over the frequency band of 3~10 GHz. It is well known that the average
received signal decreases logarithmically with distance
for both indoor and outdoor environments as explained
in [26].

PLdB (d )  PLdB (d 0 )  10  log(

Fig. 2. The Tapered Slot antenna used in this experiment [16].

d
)  X
d0

(1)

where d is the distance between transmitter and receiver,
d 0 is a reference distance set in measurement (in this
study it is set to 10 cm), PLdB ( d 0 ) is the path loss value
at the reference distance, and X  is the shadowing fading. The parameter  is the path loss exponent that indicates the rate at which the path loss increases with distance.
A least-square fit method is applied on the measured path
loss data for 34 different receiver locations to extract the
path loss exponent for three test subjects, as shown in Fig.
4. Table III lists the values of path loss exponent  obtained for different test subjects. It can be noted that the
path loss is affected by the body size. Due to different

20

80

1
0.9
0.8

Cumulative probability

body sizes and shapes, the path loss exponent  and the
mean path loss PLdB (d 0 ) at the reference distance vary for
the three different human bodies. Maximum of 31.8%
variation in path loss exponent is noticed for the three
different body shapes (thin, medium-build and fatty/larger size). Results show that the path loss exponent
increases with the body size. In the case of subjects with
the low value of body chest and waist circumference such
as male 1 and male 2, the path loss exponent is lower and
with the high value of chest and waist circumference for
male 3, the path loss exponent is higher. In this case for
thinner subject (male 1), the propagation between the
transmitter and receiver is more line of sight (LOS) than
the body with higher volume of the chest and waist circumference leads to lower value of path loss exponent
(  =1.91). For subject with higher curvature radius trunk
such as (male 3), the wave reaches the receiver through
creeping wave propagation, which has higher signal attenuation, thus leading to higher value of exponent
(  =2.80). For the subject with higher volume of chest and
waist circumferences, the communications for some of the
receiver locations is heavily blocked by the different body
parts, compared to the subject with lower value of chest
and waist circumferences. In addition, the body tissues
are also different for various subjects which also contribute for the variation of the path loss.
X  is a zero mean, normal distributed statistical variable, and is introduced to consider the deviation of the
measurements from the calculated average path loss. Fig.
5 shows the deviation of measurements from the average
path fitted to a normal distribution for three different test
subjects’ cases. Table III lists the values of standard deviation of the shadowing factor obtained for three different
test subjects. Results indicate that the standard deviation

0.7

Male 1
Normal fit(=7.36 )
Male 2
Normal fit(=7.61 )
Male 3
Normal fit(=6.60 )

0.6
0.5
0.4
0.3
0.2
0.1
0

-15

-10
-5
0
5
Deviation from average path loss (dB)

10

Fig. 5. Deviation of the measurements from the average path loss
for three different test subjects.

value  varies for different subjects.

In order to compare the path loss of three different human bodies, 8 different ultra wideband on-body channels have been chosen (Fig. 6). Fig. 7 shows variation in
path loss for 8 different ultra wideband on-body links of
three different human bodies. For the considered 8 different on-body links due to different human body sizes
and shapes, maximum of 13 dB variation of path loss of
an on-body link is occurred. It was noted for the transmitter to right wrist link (Rx 19) of male 01 and male 03,
where the variation of path loss for this link of three different subjects is mainly due to different trunk size of
the different subjects. In the case of male 01, the trunk
size is much smaller than the trunk of male 03, which
creates less NLOS and less blocked communication, resulting in a lower path loss value for this link of the
male 01.

Path Loss (dB)

70

34

33

60

50

11

Male 1
Least Square Fit (=1.91)
Male 2
Least Square Fit (=2.19)
Male 3
Least Square Fit (=2.8)

40

30
0

1

2

3

4

5
6
10 log(d/d0)

7

8

9

10

Fig. 4. Measured and modelled path loss for ultra wideband onbody channels versus logarithmic Tx-Rx separation distance of
different human body (Male 01-Male 03).

TABLE 3
ON-BODY PATH LOSS PARAMETERS FOR THE 3 DIFFERENT TEST SUBJECTS
Path Loss
Parameters

PLdB (d 0 )

 (dB) (dB)

Male 1

Male 2

Male 3

1.91
51.2
7.36

2.19
51.8
7.61

2.80
49.0
6.60

9

19

24

Receiver (Rx)
Antenna Position

Transmitter (Tx)
Antenna Position

32

28

Fig. 6. Considered 8 different on-body links choosen for path loss
comparison of different test subjects.

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[8]

7

CONCLUSION

Ultra wideband on-body radio propagation for three
different real human test subjects of various sizes and
shapes was investigated in this paper. Experimental
investigation was made in the indoor environments
using a pair of Tapered Slot antennas. Results and
analysis showed that due to the different body sizes
and shapes a maximum variation of 31.8% in path loss
exponent occurred. The path loss exponent generally
increases with the body size. The effect of the three
different human body sizes and shapes variations on
the 8 different ultra wideband on-body radio channels
was studied where results demonstrated that, for
certain on-body links (e.g. waist to right wrist) the
changes in body size and shape can lead to a
significant variation (up to 13 dB) in path loss.

[9]

[10]

[11]

[12]

ACKNOWLEDGMENT
The authors of this paper would like to thank John
Dupuy for his help with the antennas fabrication. The
authors also would like to thank Sanjoy Mazumdar for
his help during the measurement.

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Mohammad Monirujjaman Khan received his BEng. and PhD degrees from Queen Mary University of London (QMUL) in 2008 and
2012, respectively. He is working as an Assistant Professor and
Head of Electrical and Electronic Engineering department at Primeasia University, Dhaka, Bangladesh. He received best paper award in
the IEEE international conferences in 2013. He also received best
presentation award in the International IEEE conference in 2014. His
main research interests include compact and efficient antennas for
medical and sports applications in wireless body area networks and
wireless personal area networks, radio propagation channel modelling and characterization, small antennas design, cognitive radio and
system and wearable systems. He has authored and co-authored
more than 50 technical papers in leading journals and peer-reviewed
conferences. Dr Khan is acting as a reviewer for many leading IEEE
and IET journals in the area of antennas, radio wave propagation
and communication systems.
Ratil Hasnat Ashique is a lecturer at the Primeasia University, Bangladesh. He received his B.Sc. Engineering degree in Electrical and
Electronic Engineering from Bangladesh University of Engineering &
Technology (BUET) in 2011. His research interest includes wireless
communication, microwave and RF engineering, antenna design and
radio channel modelling and characterization.
Md Raqibull Hasan is a lecturer at the Primeasia University, Bangladesh. He received his B.Sc. Engineering degree in Electrical and
Electronic Engineering from Bangladesh Khulna University of Engineering & Technology (KUET) in 2013. His research interest includes
wireless communication, microwave and RF engineering, antenna
design and radio channel modelling and characterization, microcontroller, nanao technology.