Body channel communication (BCC) uses the human body to carry signals, and therefore provides communication and localization that are directly tied to human presence and actions. Previous BCC systems were expensive, could operate only in a laboratory, or only focused on special use cases. We present here an end-to-end BCC system that is designed for ambient intelligence. We introduce the BCC infrastructure that consists of portable devices (e.g., a simple sphere), mobile devices (e.g., a smartwatch-like wristband), and stationary devices (e.g., floor/wall tiles). We also describe the core technology that is used in each of these units. The TouchCom hardware-software platform is a simple transceiver with software-centered processing. The focus on software (even the implementation of the physical layer is based on software) allows the adaptivity that is necessary to operate a BCC-based system in practice. The paper describes the design and a prototype implementation of the TouchCom-based interactive infrastructure and provides evidence that this BCC infrastructure works for different persons and different setups. The system provides moderate bandwidth (about 3.5 kb/s) that is suitable for several usage scenarios like games, localization, and identification. The implemented demonstrations illustrate the benefits these applications gain when touching an object is tied to communication.
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