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body area network (BAN)

Contributor(s): Matthew Haughn

A body area network (BAN) is the interconnection of multiple computing devices worn on, affixed to or implanted  in a person’s body. A BAN typically includes a smartphone in a pocket or bag that serves as a mobile data hub, acquiring user data and transmitting it to a remote database or other system.

Other devices in a BAN might include:

Wearable computing devices such as Google Glass, gaming headsets, smartwatches, wristbands, smart rings and heads-up displays.

Mobile medical devices, often in the form of sensors and actuators, that monitor health data like blood pressure, heart rate, glucose level and medication compliance.

Health and fitness devices such as the popular Fitbit wristband that tracks data for things like exercise activities, sleep quality and  vital signs.

BANs are categorized in various ways, for example as a wearable BAN or an implanted BAN. A medical body area network (MBAN) is a special-purpose BAN that  provides telehealth services through remote patient monitoring (RPM) and can initiate alerts and even care, such as the delivery of medication.

A related concept and something that a BAN might connect to is a personal area network (PAN), a network that provides connectivity among devices in the user’s immediate environment.

This was last updated in July 2016

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