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Compression in Wearable Sensor Nodes: Impacts of Node Topology

IEEE Transactions on Biomedical Engineering
Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers
Publication Date
  • Computer Science
  • Design
  • Mathematics


Wearable sensor nodes monitoring the human body must operate autonomously for very long periods of time. Online and low-power data compression embedded within the sensor node is therefore essential to minimize data storage/transmission overheads. This paper presents a low-power MSP430 compressive sensing implementation for providing such compression, focusing particularly on the impact of the sensor node architecture on the compression performance. Compression power performance is compared for four different sensor nodes incorporating different strategies for wireless transmission/on-sensor-node local storage of data. The results demonstrate that the compressive sensing used must be designed differently depending on the underlying node topology, and that the compression strategy should not be guided only by signal processing considerations. We also provide a practical overview of state-of-the-art sensor node topologies. Wireless transmission of data is often preferred as it offers increased flexibility during use, but in general at the cost of increased power consumption. We demonstrate that wireless sensor nodes can highly benefit from the use of compressive sensing and now can achieve power consumptions comparable to, or better than, the use of local memory.

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