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Framework uses human body as secure comm channel

Posted: 28 Feb 2013  Print Version  Bookmark and Share

Keywords:wireless communication  MCU  AFE  bidirectional authentication 

Microchip Technology Inc. has unveiled its BodyCom technology that the company said offers designers with the world's first framework for using the human body as a secure communication channel. Compared to existing wireless methods, BodyCom technology provides lower energy consumption, while further increasing security via bidirectional authentication, stated the company.

Because no RF antennas are required, BodyCom technology allows for simpler circuit-level designs and a lower BOM. Microchip said that all of this is enabled by the BodyCom Development V1.0 Framework, which is supplied through free software libraries.

BodyCom technology is activated by capacitively coupling to the human body. The system then begins communicating bidirectionally between a centralized controller and one or more wireless units. There are applications where secure wireless communication is essential, and there is no more secure channel than the human body. This is especially true when you add bidirectional authentication that supports advanced encryption, such as KeeLoq technology and AES. For example, BodyCom technology helps prevent the "Relay Attack" problem that is typical in automotive passive-keyless-entry security systems.

Most secure, short-range communication designs are battery powered and highly cost constrained. BodyCom technology significantly increases battery life by eliminating the need for a wireless transceiver or high-power inductive fields. It also simplifies development and lowers BOM costs by not only making antenna design unnecessary, but also by using a low-frequency framework with a common MCU and standard AFE frequencies (125kHz and 8MHz)—no external crystals are needed. And, because it complies with FCC Part 15-B for radiated emissions, BodyCom technology eliminates the cost and complexity of certification.

Additional example applications include access control (security systems, home/industrial door locks, pet doors); personal safety & security (equipment access/disable, power tools, firearms, computer systems); medical (patient monitoring, hospital-room access, equipment tracking); and consumer (profile management for gaming consoles and exercise equipment).

To further enable development and speed time to market, Microchip is also announcing the BodyCom Development Kit (part # DM160213). This kit is available for $149, and comes with a central controller unit and two wireless mobile units.

The free BodyCom Development V1.0 Framework is also available and comes with a communication library, application code examples and a development GUI for PC.





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