Microchip Technology Inc.'s BodyCom technology provides designers with a framework for using the human body as a secure communication channel. Compared to existing wireless methods, BodyCom technology provides lower energy consumption while further increasing security via bidirectional authentication. Because no RF antennas are required, BodyCom technology allows for simpler circuit-level designs and a lower bill of materials (BOM). All of this is enabled by the BodyCom Development V1.0 Framework, which is supplied through free software libraries that work on all of Microchip’s more than 900 8-, 16-, and 32-bit PIC microcontrollers.
BodyCom technology is activated by capacitively coupling to the human body. The system then begins communicating bidirectionally between a centralized controller and one or more wireless units. Bidirectional authentication supports advanced encryption, such as KeeLoq technology and AES. For example, BodyCom technology helps prevent the 'relay attack' problem that is typical in automotive passive-keyless-entry security systems.
BodyCom technology significantly increases battery life by eliminating the need for a wireless transceiver or high-power inductive fields. It also simplifies development and lowers BOM costs by not only making antenna design unnecessary, but also by using a low-frequency framework with a common microcontroller and standard AFE frequencies (125 kHz and 8 MHz)—no external crystals are needed. And, because it complies with FCC Part 15-B for radiated emissions, BodyCom technology eliminates the cost and complexity of certification.
Example applications include Access Control (security systems, home/industrial door locks, pet doors); personal safety and security (equipment access/disable, power tools, firearms, computer systems); medical (patient monitoring, hospital-room access, equipment tracking); and consumer (profile management for gaming consoles and exercise equipment).
To further enable development and speed time to market, Microchip is also announcing the BodyCom Development Kit (part # DM160213). This kit is available today for $149, and comes with a central controller unit and two wireless mobile units. The free BodyCom Development V1.0 Framework is also available today, and comes with a communication library, application code examples and a development GUI for use on personal computers.