p2pnet.net News:- Does the idea of using your body as a data transmission path appeal to you? Then a new Nippon Telegraph and Telephone Corporation project will grab your attention.
It’s called RedTacton, described by NTT as HAN (Human Area Networking) technology that, “safely turns the surface of the human body into a data transmission path at speeds up to 10 Mbps between any two points on the body.”
The Japanese company has already made a small PCMCIA card-sized prototype transceiver it says allows the first practical HAN between “body-centered” electronic devices and PCs, or other network devices, “embedded in the environment via a new generation of user interface based on totally natural human actions such as touching, holding, sitting, walking, or stepping on a particular spot”.
RedTacton can be used to run computer-based systems, for temporary one-to-one private networks based on touch, device personalization, security and other applications based on new behavior patterns, says NTT, continuing, “Human society is entering an era of ubiquitous computing, when networks are seamlessly interconnected and information is always accessible at our fingertips”.
It believes practical implementation calls for:
- Wide Area Networks (WAN), typically via the Internet, to remotely connect all types of severs and terminals;
- Local Area Networks (LAN), typically via Ethernet or WiFi connectivity among all the information and communication appliances in offices and homes
- Human Area Networks (HAN) for connectivity to personal information, media and communication appliances within the much smaller sphere of ordinary daily activities – the last one meter.
“NTT’s RedTacton is a break-through technology that, for the first time, enables reliable high-speed HAN,” it states. “In the past, Bluetooth, infrared communications (IrDA), radio frequency ID systems (RFID), and other technologies have been proposed to solve the ‘last meter’ connectivity problem.
“However, they each have various fundamental technical limitations that constrain their usage, such as the precipitous fall-off in transmission speed in multi-user environments producing network congestion.”
RedTacton’s approach is different, says NTT. Instead of relying on electromagnetic or light waves to carry data, RedTacton uses weak electric fields on body surfaces as a transmission medium. This means a coms path can be created by simply touching something, “automatically initiating the flow of data between a body-centric electronic device and a PC embedded in the environment,” it continues.
“Using a RedTacton electro-optic sensor, two-way communication is supported between any two points on the body at a throughput of up to 10 Mbps.”
It can also travel through users’ clothing to a RedTacton device in a pocket, or through shoes to communicate with a RedTacton device embedded in the floor.
“Unlike wireless technologies, the transmission speed does not deteriorate even in the presence of large crowds of people all communicating at the same time in meeting rooms, auditoriums or stores,” promises NTT. “Because the body surface is the transmission path, increasing the number of connected users directly increases the available number of individual communication channels.”
RedTacton can tap a wide range of materials for transmission including water and other liquids, various metals, certain plastics, glass, etc, says NTT.
Using yourself as a PC peripheral / interface has obvious advantages, but could there perhaps be, well, disadvantages as well?
“RedTacton transceiver electrodes are covered with an insulating film, so there is no way that current from RedTacton can flow into the user’s body,” says NTT, adding:
“Note however that, just like the weak electromagnetic waves produced by most common electrical appliances, a faint modulating displacement current does pass through the body when using RedTacton . “The level of displacement current involved is considered harmless and is in full compliance with the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications (MIC) safety guidelines (RCR STD-38).”
Something you think we should know? tips[at]p2pnet.net
<-----My software never has bugs - just undocumented features---->
RedTacton – An innovative Human Area Networking technology that uses the surface of the human body as a transmission path, February 18, 2005