Jiaqi (Jackey) Gong
Home     ECE4550-002: Body Sensor Networks      

Course Description

Body sensor networks (BSNs) are emerging as a technology with tremendous potential for a variety of applications (healthcare, clinical medicine, biomedical research, emergency medicine, first responder safety, homeland security, athletics, gaming, etc.). While significant efforts have been made to develop and deploy BSNs and to standardize them across applications and platforms, there are numerous technical challenges that remain (related to the nodes themselves, the communication from/to nodes, the processing of the collected data, the demonstration of improved application outcomes from BSN utilization, etc.) in order for BSNs to be practical and truly useful for the applications for which they are envisioned.
This course will explore BSNs at multiple levels in the design hierarchy and across a range of applications. These levels range from low-level sensors and circuits to high-level applications and system integration with everything in between – embedded computing, processor architectures, OS, networking, wireless communication, signal processing, etc. Much of the exploration of these issues will include application-dependent tradeoffs, such as power, data-rate, data latency, application fidelity, etc. The course will combine lectures and discussions with laboratory exercises.

Catalog Data

1.5 credits; prerequisites: ECE 3430


Dr. Jiaqi (Jackey) Gong
Email: jgong AT virginia.edu
Office: Rice Hall, R326
Office Hours: TBD


50% Labs: students (working in groups) must complete all laboratory exercises, including any associated demonstrations and reports.
25% Project presentation and report: students (working in groups) will plan and execute a small project and will give a short presentation and submit a report detailing their project, results, and experiences.
25% In-class discussion: students are required to participate in all class discussions and will be graded on the quality and quantity of their participation. In each lecture, randomly selected students will be the active discussion leaders.


There will be scheduled 75 minute laboratory sessions most weeks, and students are required to attend during the scheduled times. Working in the lab off-hours is also encouraged, but the scheduled laboratory
sessions are necessary for group work, faculty instruction and assistance, and demonstration of lab results. If you have to miss a laboratory session, contact Prof. Lach at least one day in advance to arrange to make it up. Every lab (and associated demonstrations and reports) must be completed to pass the course.


Near the end of the course, students (working in their laboratory groups) will develop and execute a small project that utilizes the knowledge and skills gained in the course. On the last day of class, each student group will give a short presentation on its project and deliver a project report.

Class Participation

As members of an academic community, all students are expected to actively participate in and contribute to class discussions. In each lecture meeting, a group of randomly selected students will be the active discussion leaders for that day.

Class Webpage

The class webpage (via UVaCollab) will contain the course syllabus, reading assignments, laboratory exercises, and other materials.

Special Accommodations

If any member of the class feels that he/she needs special accommodations of any nature whatsoever, please contact Prof. Lach at the earliest possible time – during the first week of class if possible. He will work with you and the University to provide reasonable accommodations to ensure that you have a fair opportunity to perform in this class.

Plagiarism and Academic Misconduct

Plagiarism, copying, and any other form of academic misconduct or dishonesty will not be tolerated. References must be properly cited. If there is any confusion about proper citation, please talk to Prof. Lach. If you have questions about UVa’s Honor System or would like to report suspicions of an Honor offense, please contact your Honor representative.

Cell Phones in Lecture/Lab

Out of respect for your fellow students, please turn off or silence your cell phones, etc. before coming into lecture and lab.

Course Goals

1. To provide students an understanding of the organization and architecture of BSNs as embedded systems.
2. To introduce the primary components of a BSN (and their interrelationships), from low-level sensors and circuits to high-level applications and system integration with everything in between.
3. To explore the challenges and opportunities posed by the design, operation, and application of BSNs in a variety of domains.
4. To provide practical experience with BSNs through hands-on laboratory exercises.

Last updated in Nov. 12th, 2016
copyright @ Jiaqi Gong 2014