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MIT Requests FCC Rules Waiver for Medical Monitoring Device:

from The ARRL Letter on April 11, 2019
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MIT Requests FCC Rules Waiver for Medical Monitoring Device:

The Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) is seeking a waiver of some Part 15 rules in order to obtain FCC certification of its WiTrack System, a swept-frequency ultra-wide band (UWB) indoor medical monitoring device. According to MIT, the WiTrack System uses an indoor swept signal of up to 2.5 GHz in the 6 - 8.5 GHz band to passively monitor mobility, breathing, and other physiological signals in patients and senior adults. Because the system would transmit an RF signal and receive its reflection from the environment, it would not require the use of body-worn sensors. MIT has indicated that different versions of the devices would sweep slightly different frequencies within the 6 - 8.5 GHz range.

According to MIT publicity material , WiTrack tracks the 3D motion of a user from the radio signals reflected off a person's body. It works even if the person is occluded from the WiTrack device or in a different room. WiTrack does not require the user to carry any wireless device.

"WiTrack localizes the center of a human body to within 10 to 13 centimeters in the x and y dimensions (about the size of an adult hand), and 21 centimeters in the z dimension. It also provides coarse tracking of body parts, identifying the direction of a pointing hand with a median of 11.2 degrees. It can also detect falls with 96.9% accuracy. WiTrack can be incorporated into consumer electronics and has a wide set of applications," MIT says.

Section 15.503(d) of the FCC's rules defines a UWB transmitter as an intentional radiator that, at any point in time, has a fractional bandwidth equal to or greater than 0.20 or has a UWB bandwidth equal to or greater than 500 MHz, regardless of the fractional bandwidth. The WiTrack System would not satisfy this definition, because each frequency step is less than 500 MHz in bandwidth "at any point in time," MIT says, even though the total bandwidth needed for optimal performance exceeds 500 MHz. MIT states that the waiver it seeks is similar to those previously granted by the Commission, and that grant of a waiver for the WiTrack System would be in the public interest.

The waiver request has been folded into ET Docket 19-89, and interested parties have until April 18 to comment and until May 3 to file reply comments.


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