US20110077513A1 - In Vivo Ultrasound System - Google Patents

In Vivo Ultrasound System Download PDF

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US20110077513A1
US20110077513A1 US12/829,284 US82928410A US2011077513A1 US 20110077513 A1 US20110077513 A1 US 20110077513A1 US 82928410 A US82928410 A US 82928410A US 2011077513 A1 US2011077513 A1 US 2011077513A1
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ultrasound
bio
signal
medical
operable
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US12/829,284
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Ahmadreza (Reza) Rofougaran
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Avago Technologies General IP Singapore Pte Ltd
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Broadcom Corp
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Publication of US20110077513A1 publication Critical patent/US20110077513A1/en
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    • A61MEDICAL OR VETERINARY SCIENCE; HYGIENE
    • A61MDEVICES FOR INTRODUCING MEDIA INTO, OR ONTO, THE BODY; DEVICES FOR TRANSDUCING BODY MEDIA OR FOR TAKING MEDIA FROM THE BODY; DEVICES FOR PRODUCING OR ENDING SLEEP OR STUPOR
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    • A61M2205/3592Communication with non implanted data transmission devices, e.g. using external transmitter or receiver using telemetric means, e.g. radio or optical transmission
    • YGENERAL TAGGING OF NEW TECHNOLOGICAL DEVELOPMENTS; GENERAL TAGGING OF CROSS-SECTIONAL TECHNOLOGIES SPANNING OVER SEVERAL SECTIONS OF THE IPC; TECHNICAL SUBJECTS COVERED BY FORMER USPC CROSS-REFERENCE ART COLLECTIONS [XRACs] AND DIGESTS
    • Y02TECHNOLOGIES OR APPLICATIONS FOR MITIGATION OR ADAPTATION AGAINST CLIMATE CHANGE
    • Y02DCLIMATE CHANGE MITIGATION TECHNOLOGIES IN INFORMATION AND COMMUNICATION TECHNOLOGIES [ICT], I.E. INFORMATION AND COMMUNICATION TECHNOLOGIES AIMING AT THE REDUCTION OF THIR OWN ENERGY USE
    • Y02D50/00Techniques for reducing energy consumption in wire-line communication networks
    • Y02D50/30Techniques for reducing energy consumption in wire-line communication networks by selective link activation in bundled links

Abstract

An in vivo ultrasound system includes first and second bio-medical units. Each of the bio-medical units includes a power harvesting module, an ultrasound transmitter, and an ultrasound receiver. Each of the power harvesting modules is operable to convert an electromagnetic signal into a supply voltage. Each of the ultrasound transmitters is powered by the first supply voltage and transmits an ultrasound signal in accordance with an ultrasound transmit-receive protocol. Each of the ultrasound receivers is powered by the supply voltage and is operable to receive a representation of the first ultrasound signal and receive a representation of a second ultrasound signal.

Description

    CROSS REFERENCE TO RELATED PATENTS
  • This patent application is claiming priority under 35 USC §119 to a provisionally filed patent application entitled BIO-MEDICAL UNIT AND APPLICATIONS THEREOF, having a provisional filing date of Sep. 30, 2009, and a provisional Ser. No. 61/247,060.
  • STATEMENT REGARDING FEDERALLY SPONSORED RESEARCH OR DEVELOPMENT
  • NOT APPLICABLE
  • INCORPORATION-BY-REFERENCE OF MATERIAL SUBMITTED ON A COMPACT DISC NOT APPLICABLE BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION
  • 1. Technical Field of the Invention
  • This invention relates generally to medical equipment and more particularly to wireless medical equipment.
  • 2. Description of Related Art
  • As is known, there is a wide variety of medical equipment that aids in the diagnosis, monitoring, and/or treatment of patients' medical conditions. For instances, there are diagnostic medical devices, therapeutic medical devices, life support medical devices, medical monitoring devices, medical laboratory equipment, etc. As specific examples magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) devices produce images that illustrate the internal structure and function of a body.
  • The advancement of medical equipment is in step with the advancements of other technologies (e.g., radio frequency identification (RFID), robotics, etc.). Recently, RFID technology has been used for in vitro use to store patient information for easy access. While such in vitro applications have begun, the technical advancement in this area is in its infancy.
  • BRIEF SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION
  • The present invention is directed to apparatus and methods of operation that are further described in the following Brief Description of the Drawings, the Detailed Description of the Invention, and the claims. Other features and advantages of the present invention will become apparent from the following detailed description of the invention made with reference to the accompanying drawings.
  • BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE SEVERAL VIEWS OF THE DRAWING(S)
  • FIG. 1 is a diagram of an embodiment of a system in accordance with the present invention;
  • FIG. 2 is a diagram of another embodiment of a system in accordance with the present invention;
  • FIG. 3 is a diagram of an embodiment of an artificial body part including one or more bio-medical units in accordance with the present invention;
  • FIG. 4 is a schematic block diagram of an embodiment of an artificial body part in accordance with the present invention;
  • FIG. 5 is a diagram of another embodiment of a system in accordance with the present invention;
  • FIG. 6 is a diagram of another embodiment of a system in accordance with the present invention;
  • FIG. 7 is a diagram of another embodiment of a system in accordance with the present invention;
  • FIG. 8 is a schematic block diagram of an embodiment of a bio-medical unit in accordance with the present invention;
  • FIG. 9 is a schematic block diagram of an embodiment of a power harvesting module in accordance with the present invention;
  • FIG. 10 is a schematic block diagram of another embodiment of a power harvesting module in accordance with the present invention;
  • FIG. 11 is a schematic block diagram of another embodiment of a power harvesting module in accordance with the present invention;
  • FIG. 12 is a schematic block diagram of another embodiment of a power harvesting module in accordance with the present invention;
  • FIG. 13 is a schematic block diagram of an embodiment of a power boost module in accordance with the present invention;
  • FIG. 14 is a schematic block diagram of an embodiment of an electromagnetic (EM)) power harvesting module in accordance with the present invention;
  • FIG. 15 is a schematic block diagram of another embodiment of an electromagnetic (EM)) power harvesting module in accordance with the present invention;
  • FIG. 16 is a schematic block diagram of another embodiment of a bio-medical unit in accordance with the present invention;
  • FIG. 17 is a diagram of another embodiment of a system in accordance with the present invention;
  • FIG. 18 is a diagram of an example of a communication protocol within a system in accordance with the present invention;
  • FIG. 19 is a diagram of another embodiment of a system in accordance with the present invention;
  • FIG. 20 is a diagram of another example of a communication protocol within a system in accordance with the present invention;
  • FIG. 21 is a diagram of an embodiment of a network of bio-medical units collecting image data in accordance with the present invention;
  • FIG. 22 is a diagram of an embodiment of a network of bio-medical units that include MEMS robotics in accordance with the present invention;
  • FIG. 23 is a diagram of another embodiment of a network of bio-medical units that include MEMS robotics in accordance with the present invention;
  • FIG. 24 is a diagram of an embodiment of a bio-medical unit collecting image data in accordance with the present invention;
  • FIG. 25 is a diagram of another embodiment of a network of bio-medical units communicating via light signaling in accordance with the present invention;
  • FIG. 26 is a diagram of an embodiment of a bio-medical unit collecting audio and/or ultrasound data in accordance with the present invention;
  • FIG. 27 is a diagram of another embodiment of a network of bio-medical units communicating via audio and/or ultrasound signaling in accordance with the present invention;
  • FIG. 28 is a diagram of an embodiment of a network of bio-medical units collecting ultrasound data in accordance with the present invention;
  • FIG. 29 is a schematic block diagram of another embodiment of a bio-medical unit in accordance with the present invention;
  • FIG. 30 is a schematic block diagram of an embodiment of a leaky antenna of the bio-medical unit of FIG. 29 in accordance with the present invention;
  • FIG. 31 is a diagram of an example of an antenna radiation pattern of the leaky antenna of FIG. 30 in accordance with the present invention;
  • FIG. 32 is a diagram of another example of an antenna radiation pattern of the leaky antenna of FIG. 30 in accordance with the present invention;
  • FIG. 33 is a diagram of an embodiment of a bio-medical unit determining relative distance using Doppler shifting in accordance with the present invention;
  • FIG. 34 is a diagram of an example of determining relative distance using Doppler shifting in accordance with the present invention; and
  • FIG. 35 is a diagram of an example of determining vibrations using Doppler shifting and ultrasound in accordance with the present invention.
  • DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION
  • FIG. 1 is a diagram of an embodiment of a system that includes a plurality of bio-medical units 10 embedded within a body and/or placed on the surface of the body to facilitate diagnosis, treatment, and/or data collections. Each of the bio-medical units 10 is a passive device (e.g., it does not include a power source (e.g., a battery)) and, as such, includes a power harvesting module. The bio-medical units 10 may also include one or more of memory, a processing module, and functional modules. Alternatively, or in addition to, each of the bio-medical units 10 may include a rechargeable power source.
  • In operation, a transmitter 12 emits electromagnetic signals 16 that pass through the body and are received by a receiver 14. The transmitter 12 and receiver 14 may be part of a piece of medical diagnostic equipment (e.g., magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), X-ray, etc.) or independent components for stimulating and communicating with the network of bio-medical units in and/or on a body. One or more of the bio-medical units 10 receives the transmitted electromagnetic signals 16 and generates a supply voltage therefrom. Examples of this will be described in greater detail with reference to FIGS. 8-12.
  • Embedded within the electromagnetic signals 16 (e.g., radio frequency (RF) signals, millimeter wave (MMW) signals, MRI signals, etc.) or via separate signals, the transmitter 12 communicates with one or more of the bio-medical units 10. For example, the electromagnetic signals 16 may have a frequency in the range of a few MHz to 900 MHz and the communication with the bio-medical units 10 is modulated on the electromagnetic signals 16 at a much higher frequency (e.g., 5 GHz to 300 GHz). As another example, the communication with the bio-medical units 10 may occur during gaps (e.g., per protocol of medical equipment or injected for communication) of transmitting the electromagnetic signals 16. As another example, the communication with the bio-medical units 10 occurs in a different frequency band and/or using a different transmission medium (e.g., use RF or MMW signals when the magnetic field of the electromagnetic signals are dominate, use ultrasound signals when the electromagnetic signals 16 are RF and/or MMW signals, etc.).
  • One or more of the bio-medical units 10 receives the communication signals 18 and processes them accordingly. The communication signals 18 may be instructions to collect data, to transmit collected data, to move the unit's position in the body, to perform a function, to administer a treatment, etc. If the received communication signals 18 require a response, the bio-medical unit 10 prepares an appropriate response and transmits it to the receiver 14 using a similar communication convention used by the transmitter 12.
  • FIG. 2 is a diagram of another embodiment of a system that includes a plurality of bio-medical units 10 embedded within a body and/or placed on the surface of the body to facilitate diagnosis, treatment, and/or data collections. Each of the bio-medical units 10 is a passive device and, as such, includes a power harvesting module. The bio-medical units 10 may also include one or more of memory, a processing module, and functional modules. In this embodiment, the person is placed in an MRI machine (fixed or portable) that generates a magnetic field 26 through which the MRI transmitter 20 transmits MRI signals 28 to the MRI receiver 22.
  • One or more of the bio-medical units 10 powers itself by harvesting energy from the magnetic field 26 or changes thereof as produced by gradient coils, from the magnetic fields of the MRI signals 28, from the electrical fields of the MRI signals 28, and/or from the electromagnetic aspects of the MRI signals 28. A unit 10 converts the harvested energy into a supply voltage that supplies other components of the unit (e.g., a communication module, a processing module, memory, a functional module, etc.).
  • A communication device 24 communicates data and/or control communications 30 with one or more of the bio-medical units 10 over one or more wireless links. The communication device 24 may be a separate device from the MRI machine or integrated into the MRI machine. For example, the communication device 24, whether integrated or separate, may be a cellular telephone, a computer with a wireless interface (e.g., a WLAN station and/or access point, Bluetooth, a proprietary protocol, etc.), etc. A wireless link may be one or more frequencies in the ISM band, in the 60 GHz frequency band, the ultrasound frequency band, and/or other frequency bands that supports one or more communication protocols (e.g., data modulation schemes, beamforming, RF or MMW modulation, encoding, error correction, etc.).
  • The composition of the bio-medical units 10 includes non-ferromagnetic materials (e.g., paramagnetic or diamagnetic) and/or metal alloys that are minimally affected by an external magnetic field 26. In this regard, the units harvest power from the MRI signals 28 and communicate using RF and/or MMW electromagnetic signals with negligible chance of encountering the projectile or missile effect of implants that include ferromagnetic materials.
  • FIG. 3 is a diagram of an embodiment of an artificial body part 32 including one or more bio-medical units 10 that may be surgically implanted into a body. The artificial body part 32 may be a pace maker, a breast implant, a joint replacement, an artificial bone, splints, fastener devices (e.g., screws, plates, pins, sutures, etc.), artificial organ, etc. The artificial body part 32 may be permanently embedded in the body or temporarily embedded into the body.
  • FIG. 4 is a schematic block diagram of an embodiment of an artificial body part 32 that includes one or more bio-medical units 10. For instance, one bio-medical unit 10 may be used to detect infections, the body's acceptance of the artificial body part 32, measure localized body temperature, monitor performance of the artificial body part 32, and/or data gathering for other diagnostics. Another bio-medical unit 10 may be used for deployment of treatment (e.g., disperse medication, apply electrical stimulus, apply RF radiation, apply laser stimulus, etc.). Yet another bio-medical unit 10 may be used to adjust the position of the artificial body part 32 and/or a setting of the artificial body part 32. For example, a bio-medical unit 10 may be used to mechanically adjust the tension of a splint, screws, etc. As another example, a bio-medical unit 10 may be used to adjust an electrical setting of the artificial body part 32.
  • FIG. 5 is a diagram of another embodiment of a system that includes a plurality of bio-medical units 10 and one or more communication devices 24 coupled to a wide area network (WAN) communication device 34 (e.g., a cable modem, DSL modem, base station, access point, hot spot, etc.). The WAN communication device 34 is coupled to a network 42 (e.g., cellular telephone network, internet, etc.), which has coupled to it a plurality of remote monitors 36, a plurality of databases 40, and a plurality of computers 38. The communication device 24 includes a processing module and a wireless transceiver module (e.g., one or more transceivers) and may function similarly to communication module 48 as described in FIG. 8,
  • In this system, one or more bio-medical units 10 are implanted in, or affixed to, a host body (e.g., a person, an animal, genetically grown tissue, etc.). As previously discussed and will be discussed in greater detail with reference to one or more of the following figures, a bio-medical unit includes a power harvesting module, a communication module, and one or more functional modules. The power harvesting module operable to produce a supply voltage from a received electromagnetic power signal (e.g., the electromagnetic signal 16 of FIGS. 1 and 2, the MRI signals of one or more the subsequent figures). The communication module and the at least one functional module are powered by the supply voltage.
  • In an example of operation, the communication device 24 (e.g., integrated into an MRI machine, a cellular telephone, a computer with a wireless interface, etc.) receives a downstream WAN signal from the network 42 via the WAN communication device 34. The downstream WAN signal may be generated by a remote monitoring device 36, a remote diagnostic device (e.g., computer 38 performing a remote diagnostic function), a remote control device (e.g., computer 38 performing a remote control function), and/or a medical record storage device (e.g., database 40).
  • The communication device 24 converts the downstream WAN signal into a downstream data signal. For example, the communication device 24 may convert the downstream WAN signal into a symbol stream in accordance with one or more wireless communication protocols (e.g., GSM, CDMA, WCDMA, HSUPA, HSDPA, WiMAX, EDGE, GPRS, IEEE 802.11, Bluetooth, ZigBee, universal mobile telecommunications system (UMTS), long term evolution (LTE), IEEE 802.16, evolution data optimized (EV-DO), etc.). The communication device 24 may convert the symbol stream into the downstream data signal using the same or a different wireless communication protocol.
  • Alternatively, the communication device 24 may convert the symbol stream into data that it interprets to determine how to structure the communication with the bio-medical unit 10 and/or what data (e.g., instructions, commands, digital information, etc.) to include in the downstream data signal. Having determined how to structure and what to include in the downstream data signal, the communication device 24 generates the downstream data signal in accordance with one or more wireless communication protocols. As yet another alternative, the communication device 24 may function as a relay, which provides the downstream WAN signal as the downstream data signal to the one or more bio-medical units 10.
  • When the communication device 24 has (and/or is processing) the downstream data signal to send to the bio-medical unit, it sets up a communication with the bio-medical unit. The set up may include identifying the particular bio-medical unit(s), determining the communication protocol used by the identified bio-medical unit(s), sending a signal to an electromagnetic device (e.g., MRI device, etc.) to request that it generates the electromagnetic power signal to power the bio-medical unit, and/or initiate a communication in accordance with the identified communication protocol. As an alternative to requesting a separate electromagnetic device to create the electromagnetic power signal, the communication device may include an electromagnetic device to create the electromagnetic power signal.
  • Having set up the communication, the communication device 24 wirelessly communicates the downstream data signal to the communication module of the bio-medical unit 10. The functional module of the bio-medical unit 10 processes the downstream data contained in the downstream data signal to perform a bio-medical functional, to store digital information contained in the downstream data, to administer a treatment (e.g., administer a medication, apply laser stimulus, apply electrical stimulus, etc.), to collect a sample (e.g., blood, tissue, cell, etc.), to perform a micro electro-mechanical function, and/or to collect data. For example, the bio-medical function may include capturing a digital image, capturing a radio frequency (e.g., 300 MHz to 300 GHz) radar image, an ultrasound image, a tissue sample, and/or a measurement (e.g., blood pressure, temperature, pulse, blood-oxygen level, blood sugar level, etc.).
  • When the downstream data requires a response, the functional module performs a bio-medical function to produce upstream data. The communication module converts the upstream data into an upstream data signal in accordance with the one or more wireless protocols. The communication device 24 converts the upstream data signal into an upstream wide area network (WAN) signal and transmits it to a remote diagnostic device, a remote control device, and/or a medical record storage device. In this manner, a person(s) operating the remote monitors 36 may view images and/or the data 30 gathered by the bio-medical units 10. This enables a specialist to be consulted without requiring the patient to travel to the specialist's office.
  • In another example of operation, one or more of the computers 38 may communicate with the bio-medical units 10 via the communication device 24, the WAN communication device 34, and the network 42. In this example, the computer 36 may provide commands 30 to one or more of the bio-medical units 10 to gather data, to dispense a medication, to move to a new position in the body, to perform a mechanical function (e.g., cut, grasp, drill, puncture, stitch, patch, etc.), etc. As such, the bio-medical units 10 may be remotely controlled via one or more of the computers 36.
  • In another example of operation, one or more of the bio-medical units 10 may read and/or write data from or to one or more of the databases 40. For example, data (e.g., a blood sample analysis) generated by one or more of the bio-medical units 10 may be written to one of the databases 40. The communication device 24 and/or one of the computers 36 may control the writing of data to or the reading of data from the database(s) 40. The data may further include medical records, medical images, prescriptions, etc.
  • FIG. 6 is a diagram of another embodiment of a system that includes a plurality of bio-medical units 10. In this embodiment, the bio-medical units 10 can communicate with each other directly and/or communicate with the communication device 24 directly. The communication medium may be an infrared channel(s), an RF channel(s), a MMW channel(s), and/or ultrasound. The units may use a communication protocol such as token passing, carrier sense, time division multiplexing, code division multiplexing, frequency division multiplexing, etc.
  • FIG. 7 is a diagram of another embodiment of a system that includes a plurality of bio-medical units 10. In this embodiment, one of the bio-medical units 44 functions as an access point for the other units. As such, the designated unit 44 routes communications between the units 10 and between one or more units 10 and the communication device 24. The communication medium may be an infrared channel(s), an RF channel(s), a MMW channel(s), and/or ultrasound. The units 10 may use a communication protocol such as token passing, carrier sense, time division multiplexing, code division multiplexing, frequency division multiplexing, etc.
  • FIG. 8 is a schematic block diagram of an embodiment of a bio-medical unit 10 that includes a power harvesting module 46, a communication module 48, a processing module 50, memory 52, and one or more functional modules 54. The processing module 50 may be a single processing device or a plurality of processing devices. Such a processing device may be a microprocessor, micro-controller, digital signal processor, microcomputer, central processing unit, field programmable gate array, programmable logic device, state machine, logic circuitry, analog circuitry, digital circuitry, and/or any device that manipulates signals (analog and/or digital) based on hard coding of the circuitry and/or operational instructions. The processing module 50 may have an associated memory 52 and/or memory element, which may be a single memory device, a plurality of memory devices, and/or embedded circuitry of the processing module. Such a memory device 52 may be a read-only memory, random access memory, volatile memory, non-volatile memory, static memory, dynamic memory, flash memory, cache memory, and/or any device that stores digital information. Note that if the processing module 50 includes more than one processing device, the processing devices may be centrally located (e.g., directly coupled together via a wired and/or wireless bus structure) or may be distributedly located (e.g., cloud computing via indirect coupling via a local area network and/or a wide area network). Further note that when the processing module 50 implements one or more of its functions via a state machine, analog circuitry, digital circuitry, and/or logic circuitry, the memory and/or memory element storing the corresponding operational instructions may be embedded within, or external to, the circuitry comprising the state machine, analog circuitry, digital circuitry, and/or logic circuitry. Still further note that, the memory element stores, and the processing module executes, hard coded and/or operational instructions corresponding to at least some of the steps and/or functions illustrated in FIGS. 1-26.
  • The power harvesting module 46 may generate one or more supply voltages 56 (Vdd) from a power source signal (e.g., one or more of MRI electromagnetic signals 16, magnetic fields 26, RF signals, MMW signals, ultrasound signals, light signals, and body motion). The power harvesting module 46 may be implemented as disclosed in U.S. Pat. No. 7,595,732 to generate one or more supply voltages from an RF signal. The power harvesting module 46 may be implemented as shown in one or more FIGS. 9-11 to generate one or more supply voltages 56 from an MRI signal 28 and/or magnetic field 26. The power harvesting module 46 may be implemented as shown in FIG. 12 to generate one or more supply voltage 56 from body motion. Regardless of how the power harvesting module generates the supply voltage(s), the supply voltage(s) are used to power the communication module 48, the processing module 50, the memory 52, and/or the functional modules 54.
  • In an example of operation, a receiver section of the communication module 48 receives an inbound wireless communication signal 60 and converts it into an inbound symbol stream. For example, the receiver section amplifies an inbound wireless (e.g., RF or MMW) signal 60 to produce an amplified inbound RF or MMW signal. The receiver section may then mix in-phase (I) and quadrature (Q) components of the amplified inbound RF or MMW signal with in-phase and quadrature components of a local oscillation to produce a mixed I signal and a mixed Q signal. The mixed I and Q signals are combined to produce an inbound symbol stream. In this embodiment, the inbound symbol may include phase information (e.g., +/−Δθ[phase shift] and/or θ(t) [phase modulation]) and/or frequency information (e.g., +/−Δf [frequency shift] and/or f(t) [frequency modulation]). In another embodiment and/or in furtherance of the preceding embodiment, the inbound RF or MMW signal includes amplitude information (e.g., +/−ΔA [amplitude shift] and/or A(t) [amplitude modulation]). To recover the amplitude information, the receiver section includes an amplitude detector such as an envelope detector, a low pass filter, etc.
  • The processing module 50 converts the inbound symbol stream into inbound data and generates a command message based on the inbound data. The command message may instruction one or more of the functional modules to perform one or more electro-mechanical functions of gathering data (e.g., imaging data, flow monitoring data), dispensing a medication, moving to a new position in the body, performing a mechanical function (e.g., cut, grasp, drill, puncture, stitch, patch, etc.), dispensing a treatment, collecting a biological sample, etc.
  • To convert the inbound symbol stream into the inbound data (e.g., voice, text, audio, video, graphics, etc.), the processing module 50 may perform one or more of: digital intermediate frequency to baseband conversion, time to frequency domain conversion, space-time-block decoding, space-frequency-block decoding, demodulation, frequency spread decoding, frequency hopping decoding, beamforming decoding, constellation demapping, deinterleaving, decoding, depuncturing, and/or descrambling. Such a conversion is typically prescribed by one or more wireless communication standards (e.g., GSM, CDMA, WCDMA, HSUPA, HSDPA, WiMAX, EDGE, GPRS, IEEE 802.11, Bluetooth, ZigBee, universal mobile telecommunications system (UMTS), long term evolution (LTE), IEEE 802.16, evolution data optimized (EV-DO), etc.).
  • The processing module 50 provides the command message to one or more of the micro-electromechanical functional modules 54. The functional module 54 performs an electro-mechanical function within a hosting body in accordance with the command message. Such an electro-mechanical function includes at least one of data gathering (e.g., image, flow monitoring), motion, repairs, dispensing medication, biological sampling, diagnostics, applying laser treatment, applying ultrasound treatment, grasping, sawing, drilling, providing an electronic stimulus etc. Note that the functional modules 54 may be implemented using nanotechnology and/or microelectronic mechanical systems (MEMS) technology.
  • When requested per the command message (e.g. gather data and report the data), the micro electro-mechanical functional module 54 generates an electro-mechanical response based on the performing the electro-mechanical function. For example, the response may be data (e.g., heart rate, blood sugar levels, temperature, blood flow rate, image of a body object, etc.), a biological sample (e.g., blood sample, tissue sample, etc.), acknowledgement of performing the function (e.g., acknowledge a software update, storing of data, etc.), and/or any appropriate response. The micro electro-mechanical functional module 54 provides the response to the processing module 50.
  • The processing module 50 converts the electro-mechanical response into an outbound symbol stream, which may be done in accordance with one or more wireless communication standards (e.g., GSM, CDMA, WCDMA, HSUPA, HSDPA, WiMAX, EDGE, GPRS, IEEE 802.11, Bluetooth, ZigBee, universal mobile telecommunications system (UMTS), long term evolution (LTE), IEEE 802.16, evolution data optimized (EV-DO), etc.). Such a conversion includes one or more of: scrambling, puncturing, encoding, interleaving, constellation mapping, modulation, frequency spreading, frequency hopping, beamforming, space-time-block encoding, space-frequency-block encoding, frequency to time domain conversion, and/or digital baseband to intermediate frequency conversion.
  • A transmitter section of the communication module 48 converts an outbound symbol stream into an outbound RF or MMW signal 60 that has a carrier frequency within a given frequency band (e.g., 900 MHz, 2.5 GHz, 5 GHz, 57-66 GHz, etc.). In an embodiment, this may be done by mixing the outbound symbol stream with a local oscillation to produce an up-converted signal. One or more power amplifiers and/or power amplifier drivers amplifies the up-converted signal, which may be RF or MMW bandpass filtered, to produce the outbound RF or MMW signal 60. In another embodiment, the transmitter section includes an oscillator that produces an oscillation. The outbound symbol stream provides phase information (e.g., +/−Δθ[phase shift] and/or θ(t) [phase modulation]) that adjusts the phase of the oscillation to produce a phase adjusted RF or MMW signal, which is transmitted as the outbound RF signal 60. In another embodiment, the outbound symbol stream includes amplitude information (e.g., A(t) [amplitude modulation]), which is used to adjust the amplitude of the phase adjusted RF or MMW signal to produce the outbound RF or MMW signal 60.
  • In yet another embodiment, the transmitter section includes an oscillator that produces an oscillation. The outbound symbol provides frequency information (e.g., +/−Δf [frequency shift] and/or f(t) [frequency modulation]) that adjusts the frequency of the oscillation to produce a frequency adjusted RF or MMW signal, which is transmitted as the outbound RF or MMW signal 60. In another embodiment, the outbound symbol stream includes amplitude information, which is used to adjust the amplitude of the frequency adjusted RF or MMW signal to produce the outbound RF or MMW signal 60. In a further embodiment, the transmitter section includes an oscillator that produces an oscillation. The outbound symbol provides amplitude information (e.g., +/−ΔA [amplitude shift] and/or A(t) [amplitude modulation) that adjusts the amplitude of the oscillation to produce the outbound RF or MMW signal 60.
  • Note that the bio-medical unit 10 may be encapsulated by an encapsulate 58 that is non-toxic to the body. For example, the encapsulate 58 may be a silicon based product, a non-ferromagnetic metal alloy (e.g., stainless steel), etc. As another example, the encapsulate 58 may include a spherical shape and have a ferromagnetic liner that shields the unit from a magnetic field and to offset the forces of the magnetic field. Further note that the bio-medical unit 10 may be implemented on a single die that has an area of a few millimeters or less. The die may be fabricated in accordance with CMOS technology, Gallium-Arsenide technology, and/or any other integrated circuit die fabrication process.
  • In another example of operation, one of the functional modules 54 functions as a first micro-electro mechanical module and another one of the functions modules 54 functions as a second micro-electro mechanical module. In this example, the bio-medical unit is implanted into a host body (e.g., a person, an animal, a reptile, etc.) at a position proximal to a body object to be monitored and/or have an image taken thereof. For example, the body object may be a vein, an artery, an organ, a cyst (or other growth), etc. As a specific example, the bio-medical unit may be positioned approximately parallel to the flow of blood in a vein, artery, and/or the heart.
  • When powered by the supply voltage, the first micro-electro mechanical module generates and transmits a wireless signal at, or around, the body object. The second micro-electro mechanical module receives a representation of the wireless signal (e.g., a reflection of the wireless signal, a refraction of the wireless signal, or a determined absorption of the wireless signal). Note that the wireless signal may be an ultrasound signal, a radio frequency signal, and/or a millimeter wave signal.
  • The processing module 50 may coordinate the transmitting of the wireless signal and the receiving of the representation of the wireless signal. For example, the processing module may receive, via the communication module, a command to enable the transmitting of the wireless signal (e.g., an ultrasound signal) and the receiving of the representation of the wireless signal. In response, the processing module generates a control signal that it provides to the first micro-electro mechanical module to enable it to transmit the wireless signal.
  • In addition, the processing module may generate flow monitoring data based on the second micro-electro mechanical module receiving of the representation of the wireless signal. As a specific example, the processing module calculates a fluid flow rate based on phase shifting and/or frequency shifting between the transmitting of the wireless signal and the receiving of the representation of the wireless signal. As another specific example, the processing module gathers phase shifting data and/or frequency shifting data based on the transmitting of the wireless signal and the receiving of the representation of the wireless signal.
  • The processing module may further generate imaging data based on the second micro-electro mechanical module receiving the representation of the wireless signal. As a specific example, the processing module calculates an image of the body object based absorption of the wireless signal by the body object and/or vibration of the body object. As another specific example, the processing module gathers data regarding the absorption of the wireless signal by the body object and/or of the vibration of the body object.
  • While the preceding examples of a bio-medical unit including first and second micro-electro mechanical modules for transmitting and receiving wireless signals (e.g., ultrasound, RF, MMW, etc.), a bio-medical unit may include one or the other module. For example, a bio-medical unit may include a micro-electro mechanical module for transmitting a wireless signal, where the receiver is external to the body or in another bio-medical unit. As another example, a bio-medical unit may include a micro-electro mechanical module for receiving a representation of a wireless signal, where the transmitter is external to the body or another bio-medical unit.
  • FIG. 9 is a schematic block diagram of an embodiment of a power harvesting module 46 that includes an array of on-chip air core inductors 64, a rectifying circuit 66, capacitors, and a regulation circuit 68. The inductors 64 may each having an inductance of a few nano-Henries to a few micro-Henries and may be coupled in series, in parallel, or a series parallel combination.
  • In an example of operation, the MRI transmitter 20 transmits MRI signals 28 at a frequency of 3-45 MHz at a power level of up to 35 KWatts. The air core inductors 64 are electromagnetically coupled to generate a voltage from the magnetic and/or electric field generated by the MRI signals 28. Alternatively, or in addition to, the air core inductors 64 may generate a voltage from the magnetic field 26 and changes thereof produced by the gradient coils. The rectifying circuit 66 rectifies the AC voltage produced by the inductors to produce a first DC voltage. The regulation circuit generates one or more desired supply voltages 56 from the first DC voltage.
  • The inductors 64 may be implemented on one more metal layers of the die and include one or more turns per layer. Note that trace thickness, trace length, and other physical properties affect the resulting inductance.
  • FIG. 10 is a schematic block diagram of another embodiment of a power harvesting module 46 that includes a plurality of on-chip air core inductors 70, a plurality of switching units (S), a rectifying circuit 66, a capacitor, and a switch controller 72. The inductors 70 may each having an inductance of a few nano-Henries to a few micro-Henries and may be coupled in series, in parallel, or a series parallel combination.
  • In an example of operation, the MRI transmitter 20 transmits MRI signals 28 at a frequency of 3-45 MHz at a power level of up to 35 KWatts. The air core inductors 70 are electromagnetically coupled to generate a voltage from the magnetic and/or electric field generated by the MRI signals 28. The switching module 72 engages the switches via control signals 74 to couple the inductors 70 in series and/or parallel to generate a desired AC voltage. The rectifier circuit 66 and the capacitor(s) convert the desired AC voltage into the one or more supply voltages 56.
  • FIG. 11 is a schematic block diagram of another embodiment of a power harvesting module 46 that includes a plurality of Hall effect devices 76, a power combining module 78, and a capacitor(s). In an example of operation, the Hall effect devices 76 generate a voltage based on the constant magnetic field (H) and/or a varying magnetic field. The power combining module 78 (e.g., a wire, a switch network, a transistor network, a diode network, etc.) combines the voltages of the Hall effect devices 76 to produce the one or more supply voltages 56.
  • FIG. 12 is a schematic block diagram of another embodiment of a power harvesting module 46 that includes a plurality of piezoelectric devices 82, a power combining module 78, and a capacitor(s). In an example of operation, the piezoelectric devices 82 generate a voltage based on body movement, ultrasound signals, movement of body fluids, etc. The power combining module 78 (e.g., a wire, a switch network, a transistor network, a diode network, etc.) combines the voltages of the Hall effect devices 82 to produce the one or more supply voltages 56. Note that the piezoelectric devices 82 may include one or more of a piezoelectric motor, a piezoelectric actuator, a piezoelectric sensor, and/or a piezoelectric high voltage device.
  • The various embodiments of the power harvesting module 46 may be combined to generate more power, more supply voltages, etc. For example, the embodiment of FIG. 9 may be combined with one or more of the embodiments of FIGS. 11 and 12.
  • FIG. 13 is a schematic block diagram of an embodiment of a power boost module 84 that harvests energy from MRI signals 28 and converts the energy into continuous wave (CW) RF (e.g., up to 3 GHz) and/or MMW (e.g., up to 300 GHz) signals 92 to provide power to the implanted bio-medical units 10. The power boost module 84 sits on the body of the person under test or treatment and includes an electromagnetic power harvesting module 86 and a continuous wave generator 88. In such an embodiment, the power boosting module 84 can recover significantly more energy than a bio-medical unit 10 since it can be significantly larger. For example, a bio-medical unit 10 may have an area of a few millimeters squared while the power boosting module 84 may have an area of a few to tens of centimeters squared.
  • FIG. 14 is a schematic block diagram of an embodiment of an electromagnetic (EM)) power harvesting module 86 that includes inductors, diodes (or transistors) and a capacitor. The inductors may each be a few mili-Henries such that the power boost module can deliver up to 10's of mili-watts of power.
  • FIG. 15 is a schematic block diagram of another embodiment of an electromagnetic (EM)) power harvesting module 86 that includes a plurality of Hall effect devices 76, a power combining module 78, and a capacitor. This functions as described with reference to FIG. 11, but the Hall effect devices 76 can be larger such that more power can be produced. Note that the EM power harvesting module 86 may include a combination of the embodiment of FIG. 14 and the embodiment of FIG. 15.
  • FIG. 16 is a schematic block diagram of another embodiment of a bio-medical unit 10 that includes a power harvesting module 46, a communication module 48, a processing module 50, memory 52, and may include one or more functional modules 54 and/or a Hall effect communication module 116. The communication module 48 may include one or more of an ultrasound transceiver 118 (i.e., a receiver and a transmitter), an electromagnetic transceiver 122, an RF and/or MMW transceiver 120, and a light source (LED) transceiver 124. Note that examples of the various types of communication modules 48 will be described in greater detail with reference to one or more of the subsequent Figures.
  • The one or more functional modules 54 may perform a repair function, an imaging function, and/or a leakage detection function, which may utilize one or more of a motion propulsion module 96, a camera module 98, a sampling robotics module 100, a treatment robotics module 102, an accelerometer module 104, a flow meter module 106, a transducer module 108, a gyroscope module 110, a high voltage generator module 112, a control release robotics module 114, and/or other functional modules described with reference to one or more other figures. The functional modules 54 may be implemented using MEMS technology and/or nanotechnology. For example, the camera module 98 may be implemented as a digital image sensor in MEMS technology.
  • The Hall effect communication module 116 utilizes variations in the magnetic field and/or electrical field to produce a plus or minus voltage, which can be encoded to convey information. For example, the charge applied to one or more Hall effect devices 76 may be varied to produce the voltage change. As another example, an MRI transmitter 20 and/or gradient unit may modulate a signal on the magnetic field 26 it generates to produce variations in the magnetic field 26.
  • FIG. 17 is a diagram of another embodiment of a system that includes one or more bio-medical units 10, a transmitter unit 126, and a receiver unit 128. Each of the bio-medical units 10 includes a power harvesting module 46, a MMW transceiver 138, a processing module 50, and memory 52. The transmitter unit 126 includes a MRI transmitter 130 and a MMW transmitter 132. The receiver unit 128 includes a MRI receiver 134 and a MMW receiver 136. Note that the MMW transmitter 132 and MMW receiver 136 may be in the same unit (e.g., in the transmitter unit, in the receiver unit, or housed in a separate device).
  • In an example of operation, the bio-medical unit 10 recovers power from the electromagnetic (EM) signals 146 transmitted by the MRI transmitter 130 and communicates via MMW signals 148-150 with the MMW transmitter 132 and MMW receiver 136. The MRI transmitter 130 may be part of a portable MRI device, may be part of a full sized MRI machine, and/or part of a separate device for generating EM signals 146 for powering the bio-medical unit 10.
  • FIG. 18 is a diagram of an example of a communication protocol within the system of FIG. 17. In this diagram, the MRI transmitter 20 transmits RF signals 152, which have a frequency in the range of 3-45 MHz, at various intervals with varying signal strengths. The power harvesting module 46 of the bio-medical units 10 may use these signals to generate power for the bio-medical unit 10.
  • In addition to the MRI transmitter 20 transmitting its signal, a constant magnetic field and various gradient magnetic fields 154-164 are created (one or more in the x dimension Gx, one or more in the y dimension Gy, and one or more in the z direction Gz). The power harvesting module 46 of the bio-medical unit 10 may further use the constant magnetic field and/or the varying magnetic fields 154-164 to create power for the bio-medical unit 10.
  • During non-transmission periods of the cycle, the bio-medical unit 10 may communicate 168 with the MMW transmitter 132 and/or MMW receiver 136. In this regard, the bio-medical unit 10 alternates from generating power to MMW communication in accordance with the conventional transmission-magnetic field pattern of an MRI machine.
  • FIG. 19 is a diagram of another embodiment of a system includes one or more bio-medical units 10, a transmitter unit 126, and a receiver unit 128. Each of the bio-medical units 10 includes a power harvesting module 46, an EM transceiver 174, a processing module 50, and memory 52. The transmitter unit 126 includes a MRI transmitter 130 and electromagnetic (EM) modulator 170. The receiver unit 128 includes a MRI receiver 134 and an EM demodulator 172. The transmitter unit 126 and receiver unit 128 may be part of a portable MRI device, may be part of a full sized MRI machine, or part of a separate device for generating EM signals for powering the bio-medical unit 10.
  • In an example of operation, the MRI transmitter 130 generates an electromagnetic signal that is received by the EM modulator 170. The EM modulator 170 modulates a communication signal on the EM signal to produce an inbound modulated EM signal 176. The EM modulator 170 may modulate (e.g., amplitude modulation, frequency modulation, amplitude shift keying, frequency shift keying, etc.) the magnetic field and/or electric field of the EM signal. In another embodiment, the EM modulator 170 may modulate the magnetic fields produced by the gradient coils to produce the inbound modulated EM signals 176.
  • The bio-medical unit 10 recovers power from the modulated electromagnetic (EM) signals. In addition, the EM transceiver 174 demodulates the modulated EM signals 178 to recover the communication signal. For outbound signals, the EM transceiver 174 modulates an outbound communication signal to produce outbound modulated EM signals 180. In this instance, the EM transceiver 174 is generating an EM signal that, in air, is modulated on the EM signal transmitted by the transmitter unit 126. In one embodiment, the communication in this system is half duplex such that the modulation of the inbound and outbound communication signals is at the same frequency. In another embodiment, the modulation of the inbound and outbound communication signals are at different frequencies to enable full duplex communication.
  • FIG. 20 is a diagram of another example of a communication protocol within the system of FIG. 19. In this diagram, the MRI transmitter 20 transmits RF signals 152, which have a frequency in the range of 3-45 MHz, at various intervals with varying signal strengths. The power harvesting module 46 of the bio-medical units 10 may use these signals to generate power for the bio-medical unit 10.
  • In addition to the MRI transmitter 20 transmitting its signal, a constant magnetic field and various gradient magnetic fields are created 154-164 (one or more in the x dimension Gx, one or more in the y dimension Gy, and one or more in the z direction Gz). The power harvesting module 46 of the bio-medical unit 10 may further use the constant magnetic field and/or the varying magnetic fields 154-164 to create power for the bio-medical unit 10.
  • During the transmission periods of the cycle, the bio-medical unit 10 may communicate via the modulated EM signals 182. In this regard, the bio-medical unit 10 generates power and communicates in accordance with the conventional transmission-magnetic field pattern of an MRI machine.
  • FIG. 21 is a schematic block diagram of an embodiment of a plurality of imaging bio-medical units 10 in a body part 214 where image data A-H 218-232 is provided by the plurality of imaging bio-medical units 10 that may pertain to a mass 216 within the body part 214.
  • The bio-medical units 10 may determine an operational mode based on a pre-determination (e.g., pre-programmed) and/or system level coordination commands received from an external communication device. The operational mode may specify how to gather image data (e.g., MMW radar sweep, ultrasound, light) and where to gather it (e.g., pointing at a specific location within the body).
  • In an example, the bio-medical units 10 perform the MMW radar sweep of a mass 216 in a body part in a coordinated fashion such that each bio-medical unit 10 performs the MMW radar sweep sequentially. In another example, one bio-medical unit 10 transmits a radar sweep while the other bio-medical units 10 generate image data based on received reflections.
  • FIG. 22 is a schematic block diagram of an embodiment of a parent bio-medical unit (on the left) communicating with an external unit to coordinates the functions of one or more children bio-medical units 10 (on the right). The parent unit includes a communication module 48 for external communications, a communication module 48 for communication with the children units, the processing module 50, the memory 52, and the power harvesting module 46. Note that the parent unit may be implemented one or more chips and may in the body or one the body.
  • Each of the child units includes a communication module 48 for communication with the parent unit and/or other children units, a MEMS robotics 244, and the power harvesting module 46. The MEMS robotics 244 may include one or more of a MEMS technology saw, drill, spreader, needle, injection system, and actuator. The communication module 48 may support RF and/or MMW inbound and/or outbound signals 60 to the parent unit such that the parent unit may command the child units in accordance with external communications commands.
  • In an example of operation, the patent bio-medical unit receives a communication from the external source, where the communication indicates a particular function the child units are to perform. The parent unit processes the communication and relays relative portions to the child units in accordance with a control mode. Each of the child units receives their respective commands and performs the corresponding functions to achieve the desired function.
  • FIG. 23 is a schematic block diagram of another embodiment of a plurality of task coordinated bio-medical units 10 including a parent bio-medical unit 10 (on the left) and one or more children bio-medical units 10 (on the right). The parent unit may be implemented one or more chips and may in the body or one the body. The parent unit may harvest power in conjunction with the power booster 84.
  • The parent unit includes the communication module 48 for external communications, the communication module 48 for communication with the children units, the processing module 50, the memory 52, a MEMS electrostatic motor 248, and the power harvesting module 46. The child unit includes the communication module 48 for communication with the parent unit and/or other children units, a MEMS electrostatic motor 248, the MEMS robotics 244, and the power harvesting module 46. Note that the child unit has fewer components as compared to the parent unit and may be smaller facilitating more applications where smaller bio-medical units 10 enhances their effectiveness.
  • The MEMS robotics 244 may include one or more of a MEMS technology saw, drill, spreader, needle, injection system, and actuator. The MEMS electrostatic motor 248 may provide mechanical power for the MEMS robotics 244 and/or may provide movement propulsion for the child unit such that the child unit may be positioned to optimize effectiveness. The child units may operate in unison to affect a common task. For example, the plurality of child units may operate in unison to saw through a tissue area.
  • The child unit communication module 48 may support RF and/or MMW inbound and/or outbound signals 60 to the parent unit such that the parent unit may command the children units in accordance with external communications commands.
  • The child unit may determine a control mode and operate in accordance with the control mode. The child unit determines the control mode based on one or more of a command from a parent bio-medical unit, external communications, a preprogrammed list, and/or in response to sensor data. Note that the control mode may include autonomous, parent (bio-medical unit), server, and/or peer as previously discussed.
  • FIG. 24 is a schematic block diagram of an embodiment of a bio-medical unit 10 based imaging system that includes the bio-medical unit 10, the communication device 24, a database 254, and an in vivo image unit 252. The bio-medical unit 10 may perform scans and provide the in vivo image unit 252 with processed image data for diagnostic visualization.
  • The bio-medical unit 10 includes a MEMS image sensor 256, the communication module 48 for external communications with the communication device, the processing module 50, the memory 52, the MEMS electrostatic motor 248, and the power harvesting module 46. In an embodiment the bio-medical unit 10 and communication device 24 communicate directly. In another embodiment, the bio-medical unit 10 and communication device 24 communicate through one or more intermediate networks (e.g., wireline, wireless, cellular, local area wireless, Bluetooth, etc.). The MEMS image sensor 256 may include one or more sensors scan types for optical signals, MMW signals, RF signals, EM signals, and/or sound signals.
  • The in vivo unit 252 may send a command to the bio-medical unit 10 via the communication device 24 to request scan data. The request may include the scan type. The in vivo unit 252 may receive the processed image data from the bio-medical unit 10, compare it to data in the database 254, process the data further, and provide image visualization.
  • FIG. 25 is a schematic block diagram of an embodiment of a communication and diagnostic bio-medical unit 10 pair where the pair utilize an optical communication medium between them to analyze material between them (e.g., tissue, blood flow, air flow, etc,) and to carry messages (e.g., status, commands, records, test results, scan data, processed scan data, etc.).
  • The bio-medical unit 10 includes a MEMS light source 256, a MEMS image sensor 258, the communication module 48 (e.g., for external communications with the communication device 24), the processing module 50, the memory 52, the MEMS electrostatic motor 248 (e.g., for propulsion and/or tasks), and the power harvesting module 46. The bio-medical unit 10 may also include the MEMS light source 256 to facilitate the performance of light source tasks. The MEMS image sensor 258 may be a camera, a light receiving diode, or infrared receiver. The MEMS light source 256 may emit visible light, infrared light, ultraviolet light, and may be capable of varying or sweeping the frequency across a wide band.
  • The processing module 50 may utilize the MEMS image sensor 258 and the MEMS light source 256 to communicate with the other bio-medical unit 10 using pulse code modulation, pulse position modulation, or any other modulation scheme suitable for light communications. The processing module 50 may multiplex messages utilizing frequency division, wavelength division, and/or time division multiplexing.
  • The bio-medical optical communications may facilitate communication with one or more other bio-medical units 10. In an embodiment, a star architecture is utilized where one bio-medical unit 10 at the center of the star communicates to a plurality of bio-medical units 10 around the center where each of the plurality of bio-medical units 10 only communicate with the bio-medical unit 10 at the center of the star. In an embodiment, a mesh architecture is utilized where each bio-medical unit 10 communicates as many of the plurality of other bio-medical units 10 as possible and where each of the plurality of bio-medical units 10 may relay messages from one unit to another unit through the mesh.
  • The processing module 50 may utilize the MEMS image sensor 258 and the MEMS light source 256 of one bio-medical unit 10 to reflect light signals off of matter in the body to determine the composition and position of the matter. In another embodiment, the processing module 50 may utilize the MEMS light source 256 of one bio-medical unit 10 and the MEMS image sensor 258 of a second bio-medical unit 10 to pass light signals through matter in the body to determine the composition and position of the matter. The processing module 50 may pulse the light on and off, sweep the light frequency, vary the amplitude and may use other perturbations to determine the matter composition and location.
  • FIG. 26 is a schematic block diagram of an embodiment of a bio-medical unit 10 based sounding system that includes the bio-medical unit 10, the communication device 24, the database 254, and a speaker 260. The bio-medical unit 10 may perform scans and provide the speaker 260 with processed sounding data for diagnostic purposes via the communication device 24.
  • The bio-medical unit 10 includes a MEMS microphone 262, the communication module 48 for external communications with the communication device 24, the processing module 50, the memory 52, the MEMS electrostatic motor 248, and the power harvesting module 46. In an embodiment the bio-medical unit 10 and communication device 24 communicate directly. In another embodiment, the bio-medical unit 10 and communication device 24 communicate through one or more intermediate networks (e.g., wireline, wireless, cellular, local area wireless, Bluetooth, etc.) The MEMS microphone 262 may include one or more sensors to detect audible sound signals, sub-sonic sound signals, and/or ultrasonic sound signals.
  • The processing module 50 may produce the processed sounding data based in part on the received sound signals and in part on data in the database 254. The processing module 50 may retrieve data via the communication module 48 and communication device 24 link from the database 254 to assist in the processing of the signals (e.g., pattern matching, filter recommendations, sound field types). The processing module 50 may process the signals to detect objects, masses, air flow, liquid flow, tissue, distances, etc. The processing module 50 may provide the processed sounding data to the speaker 260 for audible interpretation. In another embodiment, the bio-medical unit 10 assists an ultrasound imaging system by relaying ultrasonic sounds from the MEMS microphone 262 to the ultrasound imaging system instead of to the speaker 260.
  • FIG. 27 is a schematic block diagram of another embodiment of a bio-medical unit 10 communication and diagnostic pair where the pair utilize an audible communication medium between them to analyze material between them (e.g., tissue, blood flow, air flow, etc,) and to carry messages (e.g., status, commands, records, test results, scan data, processed scan data, etc.). The bio-medical unit 10 includes the MEMS microphone 262, a MEMS speaker 264, the communication module 48 (e.g., for external communications with the communication device), the processing module 50, the memory 52, the MEMS electrostatic motor 248 (e.g., for propulsion and/or tasks), and the power harvesting module 46. The bio-medical unit 10 may also include the MEMS speaker 264 to facilitate performance of sound source tasks.
  • The MEMS microphone 262 and MEMS speaker 264 may utilize audible sound signals, sub-sonic sound signals, and/or ultrasonic sound signals and may be capable of varying or sweeping sound frequencies across a wide band. The processing module 50 may utilize the MEMS microphone 262 and MEMS speaker 264 to communicate with the other bio-medical unit 10 using pulse code modulation, pulse position modulation, amplitude modulation, frequency modulation, or any other modulation scheme suitable for sound communications. The processing module 50 may multiplex messages utilizing frequency division and/or time division multiplexing.
  • The bio-medical sound based communications may facilitate communication with one or more other bio-medical units 10. In an embodiment, a star architecture is utilized where one bio-medical unit 10 at the center of the star communicates to a plurality of bio-medical units 10 around the center where each of the plurality of bio-medical units 10 only communicate with the bio-medical unit 10 at the center of the star. In an embodiment, a mesh architecture is utilized where each bio-medical unit 10 communicates as many of the plurality of other bio-medical units 10 as possible and where each of the plurality of bio-medical units 10 may relay messages from one unit to another unit through the mesh.
  • The processing module 50 may utilize the MEMS microphone 262 and MEMS speaker 264 of one bio-medical unit 10 to reflect sound signals off of matter in the body to determine the composition and position of the matter. In another embodiment, the processing module 50 may utilize the MEMS microphone 262 of one bio-medical unit 10 and the MEMS speaker 264 of a second bio-medical unit 10 to pass sound signals through matter in the body to determine the composition and position of the matter. The processing module 50 may pulse the sound on and off, sweep the sound frequency, vary the amplitude and may use other perturbations to determine the matter composition and location.
  • FIG. 28 is a schematic block diagram of an embodiment of a sound based (e.g., ultrasound) an in vivo imaging system including a plurality of bio-medical units 10 utilizing short range ultrasound signals in the 2-18 MHz range to facilitate imaging a body object 268. The bio-medical unit 10 includes at least one ultrasound transducer 266, the communication module 48 (e.g., for external communications with the communication device and for communications with other bio-medical units), the processing module 50, the memory 52, and the power harvesting module 46. The ultrasound transducer 266 may be implemented utilizing MEMS technology and function as an ultrasound receiver or an altered sound transmitter.
  • In an example of operation, an ultrasound transmitter of a first bio-medical unit transmits a first ultrasound signal and an ultrasound transmitter of a second bio-medical unit transmits the second ultrasound signal in accordance with the ultrasound transmit-receive protocol. For example, the first ultrasound transmitter may transmit its ultrasound signal during a first time interval and the second ultrasound transmitter may transmit its ultrasound signal during a second time interval.
  • Each of the ultrasound receivers receives representations of the first and second ultrasound signals, respectively. From the representations of the first and second ultrasound signals, an image of a body object may be determined. For example, if the first and second bio-medical units are in different positions with respect to the body object (e.g., an organ, a vain, an artery, a growth, etc.), the reflection, refraction, and/or absorption of the first and second ultrasound signals received will be different. From these differences, image data may be generated regarding the body object.
  • Each of the bio-medical units may further include a processing module and a communication module. One or more of the communication modules may be used to communicate with a communication device external to the host body and/or with another bio-medical unit within the host body. The communications may relate to commands for initiation of transmission and reception of the ultrasound signals, to capture ultrasound image data, to receiving the ultrasound transmit-receive protocol, to transmit the representations of the ultrasound signals, etc.
  • As an alternative to utilizing the communication modules to communicate the ultrasound transmit-receive protocol, the bio-medical units may communicate this information via the ultrasound transmitters and the ultrasound receivers. In this instance, communication between the bio-medical units may be done by modulating the data on the first and/or second ultrasound signals or may be done in a time division multiplex manner with the transmission of the first and second ultrasound signals.
  • As a more specific example, at least one of the first and second processing modules collects the first and second representations of the first and second ultrasound signals to produce a collection of ultrasound data (e.g., reflection data, refraction data, and/or absorption data). This may be done in response to a command received from external communication device and/or another bio-medical units. The processing module then transmits, via at least one of the first and second communication modules, the collection of ultrasound data to the external communication device and/or another bio-medical unit. In this manner, the biomedical units are functioning to collect raw data of the body object and the external communication device (or another external device) may perform the image processing based on the raw data.
  • As another more specific example, or in furtherance of the preceding specific example, the first and second processing modules determine location information between the first and second bio-medical units with respect to a reference point (e.g., the body object or another point within the host body). Such a determination may be made by a pinging the other bio-medical unit and determining the response time (e.g., similar to radar processing). One or both of the processing modules transmits, via its communication module, the location information to the external communication device and/or another bio-medical unit. The location information, in combination with the collection of ultrasound data, may be processed to render a three-dimensional image of the body object.
  • In another specific example, at least one of the first and second processing modules determines location information between the first and second bio-medical units. The processing module(s) collects the first and second representations of the first and second ultrasound signals to produce a collection of ultrasound data. The processing module(s) then generates image data of a body object based on the location information and the collection of ultrasound data in accordance with conventional sonogram image processing. The processing module transmits, via the first and/or second communication modules, the image data (or portion thereof) to the external communication device and/or another bio-medical unit.
  • In another example of operation, the in vivo ultrasound system further includes a third bio-medical unit. The third biomedical unit includes its own power harvesting module, an ultrasound transmitter, and an ultrasound receiver. The third ultrasound transmitter is powered by the third supply voltage and is operable to transmit a third ultrasound signal in accordance with the ultrasound transmit-receive protocol. The third ultrasound receiver is powered by the third supply voltage and is operable to receive a third representation of the first ultrasound signal, a third representation of the second ultrasound signal, and a third representation of the third ultrasound signal.
  • In this example, each of the first and second ultrasound receivers receive the third representation of the third ultrasound signal. In addition, the three bio-medical units determine location information between each other and order with respect to a body object. The sets of received ultrasound signals and the location information may be locally processed to render an image of the body object or transmitted to an external device for subsequent processing.
  • In another example of operation, an ultrasound transmitter of a first bio-medical unit transmits a first ultrasound signal at a first frequency and an ultrasound transmitter of a second bio-medical unit transmits a second ultrasound signal at a second frequency. An ultrasound receiver in each of the biomedical units receives a representation of the first and second ultrasound signals. With a difference in frequency, the higher frequency signal will penetrate further into a body object and/or the host body than a lower frequency signal. In this manner, different layers of the body object and/or the host body may be brought into focus for the resulting sonogram, or ultrasound image. Note that the first and/or second frequency may be varied to adjust the penetration depth of the ultrasound signal into the body object and/or the host body to enhance the resulting image data.
  • Each of the biomedical units may further include a processing module and communication module. The communication modules may be used to communicate the first and/or second frequencies with an external communication device and/or another bio medical unit. In addition, the communication modules may be used to convey a collection of ultrasound data (e.g., the first and second representations of the first and second ultrasound signals) to the external device and/or the other bio-medical unit. Further, the processing module may collect and process the collection of ultrasound data to render an image of the body object, which it transmits, via the communication module, to the external device and/or the other bio-medical unit.
  • In yet another example of operation, the processing module 50 controls the ultrasonic transducer 266 to produce ultrasonic signals and receive resulting reflections from the body object 268. The processing module 50 may coordinate with the processing module 50 of at least one other bio-medical unit 10 to produce ultrasonic signal beams (e.g., constructive simultaneous phased transmissions directed in one direction) and receive resulting reflections from the body object. The processing module 50 may perform the coordination and/or the plurality of processing modules 50 may perform the coordination. In an example, the plurality of processing modules 50 receives coordination information via the communication module 48 from at least one other bio-medical unit 10. In another example, the plurality of processing modules 50 receives coordination information via the communication module 48 from an external communication device.
  • The processing module produces processed ultrasonic signals based on the received ultrasonic reflections from the body object 268. For example, the processed ultrasonic signals may represent a sonogram of the body part. The processing module 50 may send the processed ultrasonic signals to the external communication device and/or to one or more of the plurality of bio-medical units 10.
  • FIG. 29 is a schematic block diagram of an embodiment of a communication module 48 of a bio-medical unit coupled to one or more antenna assemblies 94. The communication module 48 includes a MMW transmitter 132, a MMW receiver 136, and a local oscillator generator 298 (LOGEN) and is coupled to the processing module 50. While not shown in the present figure, the bio-medical unit includes at least one power harvesting module that converts an electromagnetic signal into one or more supply voltages. The one or more supply voltages power the other components of the bio-medical unit. Note that the bio-medical unit and the antenna assemblies 94 may be implemented on one or more integrated circuit (IC) dies within a common housing.
  • The one or more antenna assemblies 94 may include a common transmit and receive antenna; a separate transmit antenna and a separate receive antenna; a common array of antennas; and/or an array of transmit antennas and an array of receive antennas. The one or more antenna assemblies 94 may further include a transmission line, an impedance matching circuit, and/or a transmit/receive switch, duplexer, and/or isolator. Each of the antennas of the one or more antenna assemblies 94 may be a leaky antenna as shown in FIG. 30 (discussed below) and may be implemented using MEMS and/or nano technology 296.
  • In an example of operation, the bi-medical unit is exposed to an electromagnetic signal as previously discussed. The power harvesting module generates a supply voltage from the electromagnetic signal, where the supply voltage powers the communication module 48 and the processing module 50. When powered, the processing module may receive a command regarding a bio-medical function via the communication module. A communication device external to the host body or another bio-medical unit may initiate the command, which is received as an inbound (or downstream) RF or MMW signal by the communication module.
  • In response to receiving the command, the processing module interprets it to determine whether the bio-medical function includes a radio frequency transmission (e.g., for cancer treatment, imaging, pain blocking, etc.). When the bio-medical function includes a radio frequency transmission, the processing module determines a desired radiation pattern for the antenna assembly. For example, the desired radiation pattern may have a primary lobe perpendicular to the surface of the antenna, a primary lobe at an angle from perpendicular to the surface, beamformed, etc. Various radiation patterns are shown in FIGS. 30 and 31.
  • Having determined the desired radiation pattern, the processing module then determines an operating frequency based on the desired radiation pattern. For example, it may use a look up table to determine the operating frequency for a particular desired radiation pattern, which are determined based on the properties of the antenna(s). Once the operating frequency is established, the antenna assembly will transmit outbound RF &/or MMW signals and receive inbound RF &/or MMW signals in accordance with the desired radiation pattern.
  • As a more specific example, after establishing the operating frequency, the processing module generates a continuous wave treatment signal in accordance with the bio-medical function (e.g., for pain blocking, for cancer treatment, etc.). In addition, the processing module generates a transmit local oscillation control signal in accordance with the bio-medical function.
  • The local oscillation generator 298 receives the transmit local oscillation control signal and generates, in accordance therewith, a transmit local oscillation. The transmitter section receives the continuous wave treatment signal (which may be a DC signal, a fixed frequency AC signal with a constant or varying amplitude, or a varying frequency AC with a constant or varying amplitude) and the transmit local oscillation. The transmitter section mixes the continuous wave treatment signal and the transmit local oscillation to produce a radio frequency (RF) continuous wave (CW) signal and outputs it to the antenna assembly, which transmits the RF CW signal in accordance with the radiation pattern.
  • As another more specific example, after establishing the operating frequency, the processing module generates a pulse treatment signal in accordance with the bio-medical function (e.g., for pain blocking, for cancer treatment, etc.). In addition, the processing module generates a transmit local oscillation control signal in accordance with the bio-medical function.
  • The local oscillation generator 298 receives the transmit local oscillation control signal and generates, in accordance therewith, a transmit local oscillation. The transmitter section receives the pulse treatment signal (which may be a pulse train having a constant amplitude and a constant frequency, a pulse train having a constant amplitude and varying frequency, a pulse train having a varying amplitude and a constant frequency) and the transmit local oscillation. The transmitter section mixes the pulse treatment signal and the transmit local oscillation to produce a radio frequency (RF) pulse signal and outputs it to the antenna assembly, which transmits the RF pulse signal in accordance with the radiation pattern.
  • As another more specific example, the processing module determines that the bio-medical function includes a radio frequency transmission for generating an image of a body object. In this instance, the processing module determines a varying operating frequency such that the radiation pattern of the antenna assembly varies to produce a varying radiation pattern. In addition, the processing module generates a varying transmit local oscillation control signal, which it provides to the local oscillation generator.
  • The transmitter section generates outbound radio frequency (RF) and/or MMW signals that have varying frequencies and outputs them to the antenna assembly. With the frequencies of the outbound RF signals, the radiation pattern of the antenna assembly will vary. As such, a radar-sweeping pattern is generated.
  • The receiver section 136 receives a representation of the outbound RF signal (e.g., reflection, refraction, and/or a determined absorption). The receive section converts the representation of the outbound RF signal into an inbound symbol stream. The processing module generates a radar image of a body object based on the outbound RF signal and the representation of the outbound RF signal.
  • In addition to providing RF transmissions to support a bio-medical function, the bio-medical unit may also communicate with an external communication device and/or with another bio-medical unit within the host body. For instance, the processing module determines a second radiation pattern for communication with a communication device external to the host body using a second operating frequency, wherein the antenna assembly has the second radiation pattern for the communication at the second operating frequency. Such communications may be concurrent with the supporting of the bio-medical function or in a time division multiplexed manner.
  • As another example of operation, or in furtherance of the preceding example, the antenna assembly includes adjustable physical characteristics such that the radiation pattern can be adjusted. For instance, an antenna of the antenna assembly includes a first conductive layer and a second conductive layer. The second conductive layer is substantially parallel to the first conductive layer and is separated by a distance from the first conductive layer. The second conductive layer includes a plurality of substantially equally spaced non-conductive areas corresponding to a particular range of frequencies to facilitate the radiation pattern for the particular range of frequencies. To varying the radiation patterns, the distance between the first and second conductive layers may be varied, the geometry of the non-conductive areas may be varied, and/or the spacing between the non-conductive areas may be varied.
  • Continuing with this example, the processing module receives a command regarding a bio-medical function via the communication module and interprets it. When the bio-medical function includes a radio frequency transmission, the processing module determines antenna parameters for the antenna assembly (e.g., for desired radiation patterns, determine distance between conductive layers, geometry of the non-conductive areas, and/or spacing between the non-conductive layers). The processing module then generates an antenna control signal based on the antenna parameters, which it provides to the antenna assembly.
  • FIG. 30 is a schematic block diagram of an embodiment of a leaky antenna 94 that includes a channel and/or waveguide having a first conductive layer and a second conductive layer. The layers are separated by a distance (d), which may be fixed or variable. The second conductive layer includes a series of openings (e.g., non-conductive areas) to facilitate the radiation of an electromagnetic signal 300 that is traveling down the waveguide. The geometry and/or spacing between the openings may be fixed or variable.
  • The leaky antenna pattern (e.g., direction) is a function of at least the size of the openings, the distance between openings, and the frequency of operation. For example, the distance between openings is set to about one wavelength of the nominal center frequency of operation. With the physical dimensions static, the leaky antenna pattern may be adjusted with changes to frequency of operation (e.g., above and below the center frequency).
  • FIG. 31 is a diagram of an antenna pattern at a first frequency of operation where the antenna pattern 302 may be substantially in the 90° direction with respect to the length wise direction of the leaky antenna waveguide. In this example, the distance between the openings of the leaky antenna 94 is substantially the same as the length of the wavelength of the frequency of operation.
  • FIG. 32 is a diagram of an antenna pattern at a second frequency of operation where the antenna pattern 304 may be substantially off of the 90° direction with respect to the length wise direction of the leaky antenna waveguide. In this example, the distance between the openings of the leaky antenna 94 is different than the length of the wavelength of the frequency of operation.
  • FIG. 33 is a schematic block diagram of an embodiment of a Doppler radar bio-medical unit to provide a distancing radar function to determine the location of a body object 268. The bio-medical unit 10 includes the communication module 48 (e.g., for external communications with the communication device and for communications with other bio-medical units), the MEMS propulsion 348, the processing module 50, the memory 52, the power harvesting module 46, a MMW frequency adjust 358, a mixer 362, a low noise amplifier 360 (LNA), and a power amplifier 356 (PA). The bio-medical unit 10 may communicate with other bio-medical units 10 and/or with a communication device 24 to communicate status information and/or commands.
  • The bio-medical unit 10 may send a transmitted MMW signal 364 to the body object 268 and receive a reflected MMW signal 366 from the body object. 268. Some of the transmitted MMW signal energy is absorbed, reflected in other directions, and/or transmitted to other directions. The bio-medical unit 10 forms a Doppler radar sequence by varying the frequency of the transmitted MMW signal 364 over a series of transmission steps. The bio-medical unit 10 may determine the distance and location information based on the reflected MMW signal 366 in response to the Doppler radar.
  • The bio-medical unit 10 may receive a command from the communication device 24 to reposition, adjust the MMW frequency, and transmit MMW signals to perform the Doppler radar function. In another embodiment, the communication device 24 may send a command to a plurality of bio-medical units 10 to coordinate the formation of a beam to better pinpoint the body object. In yet another embodiment, the communication device 24 may send a command to a plurality of bio-medical units 10 to coordinate the Doppler radar function from two, three or more bio-medical units 10 to triangulate the body object location based on the distance information.
  • The processing module 50 may control the MEMS propulsion 348 to reposition the bio-medical unit 10. The processing module 50 may determine how to control the MMW frequency adjust 358 to affect the distance information detection based on a command, a predetermination, and/or an adaptive algorithm (e.g., that detects course distance ranges at first and fine tunes the accuracy over time). The processing module 50 controls the MMW frequency adjust 358 in accordance with the determination such that the PA 356 generates the desired transmitted MMW signal 364. The LNA 360 amplifies the reflected MMW signal 366 and the mixer 362 down converts the signal such that the processing module 50 receives and processes the signal.
  • FIG. 34 is a timing diagram of an embodiment of a Doppler radar sequence where a transmit (TX) series 368 of MMW transmissions for the transmit sequence of transmitted MMW signals 364 and a receive (RX) series of MMW receptions for the receive sequence of reflected MMW signals 366. The transmit sequence may modulo cycle through frequencies that are Δf apart (e.g., f1, f1+2 Δf, f1+2 Δf, . . . ) spaced apart in time at intervals t1, t2, t3, etc.
  • The receive sequence 370 provides the reflection signals in the same order of the transmit sequence 368 with small differences in time (e.g., at r1, r2, r3, . . . ) and frequency. The processing module 50 determines distance information based on the small differences in time and frequency between the receive sequence 370 and the originally transmitted sequence 368.
  • FIG. 35 is a schematic block diagram of another embodiment of a Doppler radar bio-medical unit 10 to provide a distancing radar function to determine the density of a body object 268 when the body object 268 vibrates from an ultrasound signal 372. At least one other bio-medical unit 10 may provide the ultrasound signal.
  • The bio-medical unit 10 includes the communication module 48 (e.g., for external communications with the communication device and for communications with other bio-medical units), the MEMS propulsion 348, the processing module 50, the memory 52, the power harvesting module 46, a MMW frequency adjust 358, a mixer 362, a low noise amplifier 360 (LNA), and a power amplifier 356 (PA). The bio-medical unit 10 may communicate with other bio-medical units 10 and/or with a communication device 24 to communicate status information and/or commands. For example, the bio-medical unit 10 may coordinate with at least one other bio-medical unit 10 to provide the ultrasound signal 372.
  • The bio-medical unit 10 may send a transmitted MMW signal 364 to the body object and receive a reflected MMW signal 366 from the body object. Some of the transmitted MMW signal energy is absorbed by the body object, reflected in other directions, and/or transmitted to other directions. Note that the reflections may vary as a function of the ultrasound signal where the reflected signals vary according to the density of the body object.
  • The bio-medical unit 10 forms a Doppler radar sequence by varying the frequency of the transmitted MMW signal 364 over a series of transmission steps. The bio-medical unit 10 may determine the distance and density based on the reflected MMW signal 366 in response to the Doppler radar.
  • The bio-medical unit 10 may receive a command from the communication device 24 to reposition, adjust the MMW frequency, and transmit MMW signals 364 to perform the Doppler radar function. In another embodiment, the communication device 24 may send a command to a plurality of bio-medical units 10 to coordinate the formation of a beam to better pinpoint the body object 268 and determine the density. In yet another embodiment, the communication device 24 may send a command to a plurality of bio-medical units 10 to coordinate the Doppler radar function from two, three or more bio-medical units 10 to triangulate the body object 268 location based on the distance information.
  • The processing module 50 may control the MEMS propulsion 348 to reposition the bio-medical unit 10. The processing module 50 may determine how to control the MMW frequency adjust 358 to affect the distance and density information detection based on a command, a predetermination, and/or an adaptive algorithm (e.g., that detects course distance ranges at first and fine tunes the accuracy over time). The processing module 50 controls the MMW frequency adjust 358 in accordance with the determination such that the PA 356 generates the desired transmitted MMW signal 364. The LNA 360 amplifies the reflected MMW signal 366 and the mixer 362 down converts the signal such that the processing module 50 receives and processes the signal.
  • As may be used herein, the terms “substantially” and “approximately” provides an industry-accepted tolerance for its corresponding term and/or relativity between items. Such an industry-accepted tolerance ranges from less than one percent to fifty percent and corresponds to, but is not limited to, component values, integrated circuit process variations, temperature variations, rise and fall times, and/or thermal noise. Such relativity between items ranges from a difference of a few percent to magnitude differences. As may also be used herein, the term(s) “operably coupled to”, “coupled to”, and/or “coupling” includes direct coupling between items and/or indirect coupling between items via an intervening item (e.g., an item includes, but is not limited to, a component, an element, a circuit, and/or a module) where, for indirect coupling, the intervening item does not modify the information of a signal but may adjust its current level, voltage level, and/or power level. As may further be used herein, inferred coupling (i.e., where one element is coupled to another element by inference) includes direct and indirect coupling between two items in the same manner as “coupled to”. As may even further be used herein, the term “operable to” or “operably coupled to” indicates that an item includes one or more of power connections, input(s), output(s), etc., to perform, when activated, one or more its corresponding functions and may further include inferred coupling to one or more other items. As may still further be used herein, the term “associated with”, includes direct and/or indirect coupling of separate items and/or one item being embedded within another item. As may be used herein, the term “compares favorably”, indicates that a comparison between two or more items, signals, etc., provides a desired relationship. For example, when the desired relationship is that signal 1 has a greater magnitude than signal 2, a favorable comparison may be achieved when the magnitude of signal 1 is greater than that of signal 2 or when the magnitude of signal 2 is less than that of signal 1.
  • While the transistors in the above described figure(s) is/are shown as field effect transistors (FETs), as one of ordinary skill in the art will appreciate, the transistors may be implemented using any type of transistor structure including, but not limited to, bipolar, metal oxide semiconductor field effect transistors (MOSFET), N-well transistors, P-well transistors, enhancement mode, depletion mode, and zero voltage threshold (VT) transistors.
  • The present invention has also been described above with the aid of method steps illustrating the performance of specified functions and relationships thereof. The boundaries and sequence of these functional building blocks and method steps have been arbitrarily defined herein for convenience of description. Alternate boundaries and sequences can be defined so long as the specified functions and relationships are appropriately performed. Any such alternate boundaries or sequences are thus within the scope and spirit of the claimed invention.
  • The present invention has been described, at least in part, in terms of one or more embodiments. An embodiment of the present invention is used herein to illustrate the present invention, an aspect thereof, a feature thereof, a concept thereof, and/or an example thereof. A physical embodiment of an apparatus, an article of manufacture, a machine, and/or of a process that embodies the present invention may include one or more of the aspects, features, concepts, examples, etc. described with reference to one or more of the embodiments discussed herein.
  • The present invention has been described above with the aid of functional building blocks illustrating the performance of certain significant functions. The boundaries of these functional building blocks have been arbitrarily defined for convenience of description. Alternate boundaries could be defined as long as the certain significant functions are appropriately performed. Similarly, flow diagram blocks may also have been arbitrarily defined herein to illustrate certain significant functionality. To the extent used, the flow diagram block boundaries and sequence could have been defined otherwise and still perform the certain significant functionality. Such alternate definitions of both functional building blocks and flow diagram blocks and sequences are thus within the scope and spirit of the claimed invention. One of average skill in the art will also recognize that the functional building blocks, and other illustrative blocks, modules and components herein, can be implemented as illustrated or by discrete components, application specific integrated circuits, processors executing appropriate software and the like or any combination thereof.

Claims (17)

1. An in vivo ultrasound system comprises:
a first bio-medical unit including;
a first power harvesting module operable to convert an electromagnetic signal into
a first supply voltage;
a first ultrasound transmitter powered by the first supply voltage, wherein the first ultrasound transmitter is operable to transmit a first ultrasound signal in accordance with an ultrasound transmit-receive protocol;
a first ultrasound receiver powered by the first supply voltage, where in the first ultrasound receiver is operable to:
receive a first representation of the first ultrasound signal; and
receive a first representation of a second ultrasound signal;
a second bio-medical unit including:
a second power harvesting module operable to convert the electromagnetic signal into a second supply voltage;
a second ultrasound transmitter powered by the second supply voltage, wherein the second ultrasound transmitter is operable to transmit the second ultrasound signal in accordance with the ultrasound transmit-receive protocol;
a second ultrasound receiver powered by the second supply voltage, wherein the second ultrasound receiver is operable to:
receive a second representation of the first ultrasound signal; and
receive a second representation of the second ultrasound signal.
2. The in vivo ultrasound system of claim 1 further comprises:
the first bio-medical unit further including a first processing module; and
the second bio-medical unit further including a second processing module, wherein the first and second processing modules communicate via the first and second ultrasound transmitters and first and second ultrasound receivers to convey the ultrasound transmit-receive protocol.
3. The in vivo ultrasound system of claim 1 further comprises:
the first bio-medical unit further including a first processing module and a first communication module; and
the second bio-medical unit further including a second processing module and a second communication module.
4. The in vivo ultrasound system of claim 3 further comprises:
the first and second processing modules communicate via the first and second communication modules to convey the ultrasound transmit-receive protocol.
5. The in vivo ultrasound system of claim 3 further comprises:
at least one of the first and second processing modules operable to receive, via at least one of the first and second communication modules, the ultrasound transmit-receive protocol from at least one of an external communication device and another bio-medical unit.
6. The in vivo ultrasound system of claim 3 further comprises:
at least one of the first and second processing modules operable to:
collect the first and second representations of the first and second ultrasound signals to produce a collection of ultrasound data; and
transmit, via at least one of the first and second communication modules, the collection of ultrasound data to at least one of an external communication device and another bio-medical unit.
7. The in vivo ultrasound system of claim 6 further comprises:
the first and second processing modules operable to determine location information between the first and second bio-medical units; and
the at least one of the first and second processing modules transmitting, via the at least one of the first and second communication modules, the location information to the at least one of an external communication device and another bio-medical unit.
8. The in vivo ultrasound system of claim 3 further comprises:
at least one of the first and second processing modules operable to:
determine location information between the first and second bio-medical units;
collect the first and second representations of the first and second ultrasound signals to produce a collection of ultrasound data;
generate image data of a body object based on the location information and the collection of ultrasound data; and
transmit, via at least one of the first and second communication modules, the image data to at least one of an external communication device and another bio-medical unit.
9. The in vivo ultrasound system of claim 1 further comprises:
a third bio-medical unit including:
a third power harvesting module operable to convert the electromagnetic signal into a third supply voltage;
a third ultrasound transmitter powered by the third supply voltage, wherein the third ultrasound transmitter is operable to transmit a third ultrasound signal in accordance with the ultrasound transmit-receive protocol;
a third ultrasound receiver powered by the third supply voltage, wherein the third ultrasound receiver is operable to:
receive a third representation of the first ultrasound signal;
receive a third representation of the second ultrasound signal; and
receive a third representation of the third ultrasound signal, wherein each of the first and second ultrasound receivers receive the third representation of the third ultrasound signal.
10. An in vivo ultrasound system comprises:
a first bio-medical unit including;
a first power harvesting module operable to convert an electromagnetic signal into
a first supply voltage;
a first ultrasound transmitter powered by the first supply voltage, wherein the first ultrasound transmitter is operable to transmit a first ultrasound signal at a first frequency;
a first ultrasound receiver powered by the first supply voltage, where in the first ultrasound receiver is operable to:
receive a first representation of the first ultrasound signal; and
receive a first representation of a second ultrasound signal;
a second bio-medical unit including:
a second power harvesting module operable to convert the electromagnetic signal into a second supply voltage;
a second ultrasound transmitter powered by the second supply voltage, wherein the second ultrasound transmitter is operable to transmits the second ultrasound signal at a second frequency;
a second ultrasound receiver powered by the second supply voltage, wherein the second ultrasound receiver is operable to:
receive a second representation of the first ultrasound signal; and
receive a second representation of the second ultrasound signal.
11. The in vivo ultrasound system of claim 10 further comprises:
the first bio-medical unit further including a first processing module and a first communication module; and
the second bio-medical unit further including a second processing module and a second communication module.
12. The in vivo ultrasound system of claim 11 further comprises:
at least one of the first and second processing modules operable to receive, via at least one of the first and second communication modules, a command regarding the first and second frequencies from at least one of an external communication device and another bio-medical unit.
13. The in vivo ultrasound system of claim 11 further comprises:
at least one of the first and second processing modules operable to:
collect the first and second representations of the first and second ultrasound signals to produce a collection of ultrasound data; and
transmit, via at least one of the first and second communication modules, the collection of ultrasound data to at least one of an external communication device and another bio-medical unit.
14. The in vivo ultrasound system of claim 13 further comprises:
the first and second processing modules operable to determine location information between the first and second bio-medical units; and
the at least one of the first and second processing modules transmitting, via the at least one of the first and second communication modules, the location information to the at least one of an external communication device and another bio-medical unit.
15. The in vivo ultrasound system of claim 11 further comprises:
at least one of the first and second processing modules operable to:
determine location information between the first and second bio-medical units;
collect the first and second representations of the first and second ultrasound signals to produce a collection of ultrasound data;
generate image data of a body object based on the location information and the collection of ultrasound data; and
transmit, via at least one of the first and second communication modules, the image data to at least one of an external communication device and another bio-medical unit.
16. The in vivo ultrasound system of claim 11 further comprises:
at least one of the first and second processing modules operable to, at least one of:
vary the first frequency to adjust penetration depth of the first ultrasound signal; and
vary the second frequency to adjust penetration depth of the second ultrasound signal.
17. The in vivo ultrasound system of claim 10 further comprises:
a third bio-medical unit including:
a third power harvesting module operable to convert the electromagnetic signal into a third supply voltage;
a third ultrasound transmitter powered by the third supply voltage, wherein the third ultrasound transmitter is operable to transmits a third ultrasound signal at a third frequency;
a third ultrasound receiver powered by the third supply voltage, wherein the third ultrasound receiver is operable to:
receive a second representation of the first ultrasound signal;
receive a second representation of the second ultrasound signal; and
receive a third representation of the third ultrasound signal, wherein each of the first and second ultrasound receivers receive the third representation of the third ultrasound signal.
US12/829,284 2009-09-30 2010-07-01 In Vivo Ultrasound System Abandoned US20110077513A1 (en)

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US12/626,490 Abandoned US20110077719A1 (en) 2009-09-30 2009-11-25 Electromagnetic power bio-medical unit
US12/626,446 Abandoned US20110077718A1 (en) 2009-09-30 2009-11-25 Electromagnetic power booster for bio-medical units
US12/649,049 Active 2032-09-06 US9081878B2 (en) 2009-09-30 2009-12-29 Bio-medical unit and applications for cancer treatment
US12/649,030 Abandoned US20110077700A1 (en) 2009-09-30 2009-12-29 Artificial body part including bio-medical units
US12/648,992 Abandoned US20110077736A1 (en) 2009-09-30 2009-12-29 Breast implant system including bio-medical units
US12/697,263 Abandoned US20110077713A1 (en) 2009-09-30 2010-01-31 Bio-medical unit network communication and applications thereof
US12/783,649 Active 2031-10-21 US8489199B2 (en) 2009-09-30 2010-05-20 Bio-medical unit with power harvesting module and RF communication
US12/783,641 Abandoned US20110077623A1 (en) 2009-09-30 2010-05-20 Implantable bio-medical unit with electro-mechanical function
US12/787,786 Active 2032-01-11 US8923967B2 (en) 2009-09-30 2010-05-26 Communication device for communicating with a bio-medical unit
US12/829,284 Abandoned US20110077513A1 (en) 2009-09-30 2010-07-01 In Vivo Ultrasound System
US12/829,299 Abandoned US20110077476A1 (en) 2009-09-30 2010-07-01 Bio-Medical Unit with Wireless Signaling Micro-Electromechanical Module
US12/829,279 Abandoned US20110077459A1 (en) 2009-09-30 2010-07-01 Bio-Medical Unit with Image Sensor for In Vivo Imaging
US12/829,291 Abandoned US20110077716A1 (en) 2009-09-30 2010-07-01 Bio-Medical Unit with Adjustable Antenna Radiation Pattern
US12/848,901 Abandoned US20110077697A1 (en) 2009-09-30 2010-08-02 Neuron system with bio-medical units
US12/848,823 Active 2030-11-20 US8254853B2 (en) 2009-09-30 2010-08-02 Bio-medical unit having storage location information
US12/848,802 Active 2033-04-08 US9111021B2 (en) 2009-09-30 2010-08-02 Bio-medical unit and system with electromagnetic power harvesting and communication
US12/848,830 Abandoned US20110077675A1 (en) 2009-09-30 2010-08-02 Pain management bio-medical unit
US12/848,812 Abandoned US20110077501A1 (en) 2009-09-30 2010-08-02 Micro mri unit
US13/567,664 Active US8526894B2 (en) 2009-09-30 2012-08-06 Bio-medical unit having storage location information
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US12/649,049 Active 2032-09-06 US9081878B2 (en) 2009-09-30 2009-12-29 Bio-medical unit and applications for cancer treatment
US12/649,030 Abandoned US20110077700A1 (en) 2009-09-30 2009-12-29 Artificial body part including bio-medical units
US12/648,992 Abandoned US20110077736A1 (en) 2009-09-30 2009-12-29 Breast implant system including bio-medical units
US12/697,263 Abandoned US20110077713A1 (en) 2009-09-30 2010-01-31 Bio-medical unit network communication and applications thereof
US12/783,649 Active 2031-10-21 US8489199B2 (en) 2009-09-30 2010-05-20 Bio-medical unit with power harvesting module and RF communication
US12/783,641 Abandoned US20110077623A1 (en) 2009-09-30 2010-05-20 Implantable bio-medical unit with electro-mechanical function
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US12/829,279 Abandoned US20110077459A1 (en) 2009-09-30 2010-07-01 Bio-Medical Unit with Image Sensor for In Vivo Imaging
US12/829,291 Abandoned US20110077716A1 (en) 2009-09-30 2010-07-01 Bio-Medical Unit with Adjustable Antenna Radiation Pattern
US12/848,901 Abandoned US20110077697A1 (en) 2009-09-30 2010-08-02 Neuron system with bio-medical units
US12/848,823 Active 2030-11-20 US8254853B2 (en) 2009-09-30 2010-08-02 Bio-medical unit having storage location information
US12/848,802 Active 2033-04-08 US9111021B2 (en) 2009-09-30 2010-08-02 Bio-medical unit and system with electromagnetic power harvesting and communication
US12/848,830 Abandoned US20110077675A1 (en) 2009-09-30 2010-08-02 Pain management bio-medical unit
US12/848,812 Abandoned US20110077501A1 (en) 2009-09-30 2010-08-02 Micro mri unit
US13/567,664 Active US8526894B2 (en) 2009-09-30 2012-08-06 Bio-medical unit having storage location information
US14/798,336 Abandoned US20150314116A1 (en) 2009-09-30 2015-07-13 Bio-Medical Unit and Applications for Cancer Treatment

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US9111021B2 (en) 2015-08-18

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