An innovative approach to integrate unequal protection-based steganography and progressive transmission of physiological data

Neerja Sahu, Dongming Peng, Hamid Sharif

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


Evolving digital technologies in remote health monitoring require an energy-efficient method for secure and reliable transmission of patient’s/user’s confidential information from the sensor nodes to the cloud/medical server. Thus, a united scheme of the physiological signal steganography and its communication by benefitting from the unequal significance between different parts of the physiological data are emphasized. We believe higher steganography coding strength and more robust source-channel coding would protect extremely vital parts of the physiological data. Therefore, data integrity and transmission efficiency of packet information achieved in a resilient way. We formulate our idea of joint steganography-source-channel coding (JS2C2) as an optimization problem to simultaneously securing and minimizing the transmission energy consumption. A low-complexity deep learning-based ECG classification algorithm along with its secure and energy-efficient neural JS2C2 transmission for real-time monitoring has been realized. The optimal parameters for our united framework have been calculated by JS2C2 optimization method. Our steganography algorithm unequal steganography embedding (USE) achieves very low wavelet-based weighted percent root-mean-squared difference lower than 0.5 %. Furthermore, the high correlation between cover and stego and low end-to-end mean-square error (MSE) indicates resilient imperceptibility and maintains the diagnosability of the physiological signal. Moreover, low MSE between embedded and extracted data validates that embedded confidential data has been extracted with negligible distortion. In addition, for the given distortion, the USE-based framework’s energy consumption is much smaller (by 55% in typical application scenario) as compared with the equal steganography embedding-based approach’s energy consumption.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number237
JournalSN Applied Sciences
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 2020


  • Correlation
  • Deep learning (DL)
  • Electrocardiography (ECG)
  • End-to-end distortion
  • Energy efficiency
  • Joint source-channel coding (JSC)
  • Joint steganography source coding (JS)
  • Joint steganography-source-channel coding (JSC)
  • Security
  • Unequal error protection (UEP)
  • Unequal steganography embedding (USE)

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Engineering
  • General Environmental Science
  • General Materials Science
  • General Physics and Astronomy
  • General Chemical Engineering
  • General Earth and Planetary Sciences


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