16 October 2016
Technology keeps taking our breath away every now and then. Every time we’d thought this is the height, the next inventions have made the previous look like nothing.
Engineers at the University of Washington have developed a new application that can enable one to achieve any task whatsoever through a smartphone.
The application is an innovative way of communicating that would allow medical aids such as contact lenses and brain implants to send signals to smartphones to store data or to achieve a task.
The new tech, called “interscatter communication,” works by converting Bluetooth signals into Wi-Fi signals, the engineers wrote in a paper presented at the Association for Computing Machinery’s Special Interest Group on Data Communication conference in Brazil.
“Instead of generating Wi-Fi signals on your own, our technology creates Wi-Fi by using Bluetooth transmissions from nearby mobile devices such as smartwatches,” study co-author Vamsi Talla, a Research Associate at the Department of Computer Science and Engineering at the University of Washington, said in a statement.
Interscatter Communication is based on an existing method of communication called backscatter, which lets devices exchange information by reflecting back existing signals.
Interscatter works essentially the same way, but the difference is that it allows for inter-technology communication – in other words, it allows Bluetooth signals and Wi-Fi signals to talk to each other.
To demonstrate interscatter communication, the engineers designed a contact lens equipped with a tiny antenna.
The Bluetooth signal, in this case, came from a smartwatch. The antenna on the contact lens was able to manipulate the Bluetooth signal, encode data from the contact lens and convert it into a Wi-Fi signal that could be read by another device.
For example, it is possible to monitor blood sugar levels from a person’s tears. Therefore, a connected contact lens could track blood sugar levels and send notifications to a person’s phone when blood sugar levels go down, study co-author Vikram Iyer, a doctoral student in electrical engineering, also at the University of Washington, said in a statement. (Monitoring blood sugar levels is important for people with diabetes.)
The researchers also said interscatter communication could be used to transmit data from brain implants that could one day help people with paralysis to regain movement.
Not all of the potential applications are related to medical devices, however. Interscatter communication could also exchange information between credit cards, the researchers wrote.
This would allow people to transfer money between cards by simply holding them near a smartphone, for example, they said.
Author: Dotun Obatuyi
My name is Dotun Obatuyi (Dotunoba), I hail from Osun state, a public health scientist (monitoring and evaluation specialist), my keen interests are researching, critiquing and writing feature articles on health, science and technology as well as issues around the globe.