SBIR Phase I: Unlocking the Internet of Medical Things Through Ultrasonic Networking Technology

Period of Performance: 07/01/2016 - 06/30/2017


Phase 1 SBIR

Recipient Firm

BioNet Sonar
53 Dorothy Rd
Newton Center, MA 02459
Firm POC, Principal Investigator


The broader impact/commercial potential of this Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Phase I project is development and application of networked medical implants. The team will conduct an in-depth feasibility study to develop a proof-of-concept prototype of an ultrasonic Internet of Medical Things (IoMT) miniaturized embedded system. Enclosed in a titanium biocompatible casing, this platform will be the basis of implantable medical devices with ultrasonic wireless connectivity and will be applied to multiple therapies in the human and veterinary spaces. Patients will benefit from implants that provide real-time wireless telemetry and reprogrammability while minimally affecting the implant battery life, therefore reducing device/battery replacements that are often complex and costly. Real-time continuous monitoring may also improve the clinical outcome for several therapies providing patients with real- time information about physiological parameters (e.g., glucose or pacemaker readings). This will reduce time-consuming and expensive in-office visits and hospitalizations. The IoMT platform will also enable the development of advanced therapies that require wireless reliable communication through tissues between multiple implantable sensing and stimulating devices. From a security perspective, the IoMT will eliminate electromagnetic compatibility concerns of a crowded radio-frequency (RF) spectrum. It is therefore safer and transparent to the RF spectrum management procedures of healthcare facilities. This Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Phase I project aims to develop the first proof-of-concept prototype of an ultrasonic Internet of Medical Things (IoMT) platform, a miniaturized, biocompatible implantable device with ultrasonic wireless communication capabilities. In the near future, wirelessly networked systems of implantable medical devices endowed with sensors and actuators will be the basis of many revolutionary therapies. However, biological tissues absorb radio-frequency (RF) electromagnetic waves, which are the basis of wireless technologies like Wi-Fi and Bluetooth. As a consequence, higher transmission power is needed to establish reliable links, which reduces the battery lifetime of an implantable device. The IoMT platform will offer wireless connectivity through a new and proprietary technology based on ultrasonic waves that is a safer, more secure, and lower-power alternative to RF-based technologies. The project team will conduct four research tasks to demonstrate the technical and commercial feasibility of the device: (i) explore best practices to design the core architecture of the IoMT platform; (ii) discover techniques for energy performance optimization; (iii) define best practices for powering the device; (iv) integrate and test components on a custom printed circuit board. Throughout these tasks, the team will recognize and address design tradeoffs between form factor, biocompatibility of materials, communication performance, and power consumption.