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As electronic devices become smaller, lower in power requirements, and less expensive, we have begun to adorn our bodies with personal information and communication appliances. Such devices include cellular phones, personal digital assistants (PDAs), pocket video games, and pagers. Currently there is no method for these devices to share data. Networking these devices can reduce functional I/O redundancies and allow new conveniences and services. The concept of Personal Area Networks (PANs) is presented to demonstrate how electronic devices on and near the human body can exchange digital information by capacitively coupling picoamp currents through the body. A low-frequency carrier (less than 1 megahertz) is used so no energy is propagated, minimizing remote eavesdropping and interference by neighboring PANs. A prototype pan system allows users to exchange electronic business cards by shaking hands.
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