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Wireless Networking Hardware

ElectAura-Net, a 10-Mbit/second Body Network 126

Roland Piquepaille writes "In 'Human Body Network Gets Fast,' Technology Research News tells us that NTT Docomo researchers in Japan have created a 10-Mbit/second indoor network by using human bodies as Ethernet cables. 'The network, dubbed ElectAura-Net, is wireless, but instead of using radio waves, infrared light, or microwaves to transmit information it uses a combination of the electric field that emanates from humans and a similar field emanating from special floor tiles.' ElectAura-Net is faster than the Bluetooth radio wave system and provides a solution for indoor networks. The researchers think that this is a solution for "ubiquitous" communication, using GPS outdoor and our bodies indoor. This summary contains more details."
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ElectAura-Net, a 10-Mbit/second Body Network

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  • by Anonymous Coward
    No matter how many times I look at the calendar, it's not April 1st.
  • ..but how much does this cost? If you have to put special flooring down and cover the entire area of a room, the cost of the system and the floor material is going to be high. The first use will probably appear in convention centers/meeting rooms so everyone can link their laptops and palm pilots at 10Mb/s.
    • ... but typically, meeting rooms and convention centers are carpeted. Would you want to get special (probably somewhat expensive) tile (and forego the comfort/looks of carpet) just so people can use this funky new network when there are alternatives already available?

      -- Dr. Eldarion --
      • or you could just not use electromagnetically shielded carpet.
      • I have not read the article, and am kicking myself, but I will as soon as I post this. I doubt carpet would play into this, as there are not too many metalic soled shoes, and thust it would have to work off of some sort of induction, instead of a direct connection. Thus carpet would perform just as well as tile. Assuming you do not have a carpet made of copper threads with gaps smaller then 27cm (2.4ghz wavelenth? are they using 2.4ghz?) I could be way wrong, but I would bet it could be done with many floor
    • Well, if you are building a new facility... preferable in the shape of a cube...
  • ... "CancerNet". :)
  • Man, this just sounds so much like people wanting a matrix scenario !

    It's wild.

    I like it.
      • So now we know the construction material of The Matrix networks?
      • Coppertop Access Point
      • I want for you to kiss me, the way you do when trading MP3s with her.
      • The Keymaker said you have to pet this cat before touching the doorknob.
      • There's something different. I can PING them.
      • Pull my finger.
      • It's a network which permeates us, BINDs us, keeps us in contact.. oh, wrong movie.
  • 10 Mbit/s via more or less electrostatic fields? Excuse me. Maybe one can use humans as antennae, but imho (as a physicist) the resulting radiation has nothing to do with natural body electric fields.
    • I can see the "Psychic Network" of the future:

      "Ok, now all I need is your aura's ip address. . . "

      KFG
    • by Anonymous Coward
      eetimes.com has a slightly better description [eetimes.com]:
      ElectAura-Net. NTT Docomo researchers in Japan have created a 10-Mbit/second body network based on electrodes embedded in floor tiles that make a capacitive-coupling connection through the human body and into a receiver plugged into a PocketPC handheld. When a user steps on a given tile, video is streamed to the PDA
  • That could be an extremely useful technology. In a crowded space you could solve many of the range problems that less powerful wireless technologies like bluetooth have, obstacles(as long as they were humans) would actually improve the range. I wonder if there are any effects to the human ethernet cables though.
  • Request timed out.
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  • Down In Front!

    You're cuasing me to drop packets!

  • heh (Score:4, Funny)

    by EdMack ( 626543 ) on Saturday October 18, 2003 @12:44PM (#7248653) Homepage
    My strict dad walks into the networked room where I am standing, embracing to get a decent connection
    "LET GO of her immediatly!

    But dad, I was just fingering her, and she was having a look at my root.. please, I was going to show her how to fsck!
  • Kirlian photos work by applying an electric field to a piece of film, said piece of film having contact with a living thing (leaf, hand, other tissues)

    see this [google.com] for examples.

    I'm dying to know how a kirlian image appears differently if the 'human network' is carring porn, or a virus.. or spam.

  • the network fell down...
  • brings a whole new meaning to handshake..
  • Connect a linear amplifier to the device and you get a very nice Personal Space Heater too.
  • Look ma, I'm glowing!
  • Great. So if my site gets Slashdotted does my pacemaker time out in sympathy?
  • Can you just imagine the questions that IT people would get with this kind of thing, or the havoc that I'm sure they're going to wreak.

    Norm: "Can I get a virus off the network?"
    IT Guy: "Ummm... Sure, you have to wear these tinfoil shoes to keep the viruses from entering your body."
    Norm: "Can the boss read my thoughts with it?"
    IT Guy: "Just wear this tinfoil hat, it'll keep out their mind control rays too."

    As you can see the possibilities are endless.
  • "Whenever I come closer to my server to troubleshoot it going offline, everything works just fine but if I leave it unattended for 15 minutes it loses connection. And if I come back it gets it back..."
  • Although it's probably not that likely, it's still possible that manipulating the bodys electric field could cause health problems. Anyone know if it could say, cause nerves to misfire or behave strangely? (Oscillating the electric field would theoretically create an electric charge in any nearby conductors (nerves), right?)
    • by Malor ( 3658 )
      I was thinking the same thing. I can't imagine that it would be good for you. Electricity and magnetism are interrelated; if you push one, the other bobbles.

      Normally your body produces a magnetic field due to the small amount of electricity your nerves generate. If you start modulating that field externally, you ABSOLUTELY are going to have some kind of an effect on the current flows in the body.

      It's possible the signal may be modulated at too high a rate for the nervous system to detect, but I persona
  • I'm envisioning a PDA-like device that grabs the info of anyone you touch... With contact you don't actually need the floor tiles, is this correct?

    "She gave me an STD, AND a computer virus!"
  • Well just have to wondered what someone giving you a static shock would do

    Rus
  • Obviously, NTT has failed to take one major problem into consideration, which will doom this concept to complete failure...

    Geeks do not touch one another. Encouraging them to do so for the sake of increased bandwidth will simply confuse them, and probably cause more than a few nervous breakdowns (of course, that assumes that having your bioelectric field modulated at 10MHz won't do that anyway).

    Sigh. Yet another good idea sent to the scrap heap for not understanding its target audience. ;-)
  • How can they pass this off as new tech?
    I remember setting up similar networks almost 20 years ago!

    "Stand in a circle, children. Now hold the hand of the person next to you... and when you feel someone squeeze your right hand, you squeeze your left hand as quick as you can to pass on the message."

    We could get the pulse zipping around the circle surprisingly fast. You know, probably, uh, almost 10 mega-sqeezes a second.
  • Oh the pain of packetstorms and packet collisions across my forehead!
  • "Oh my god! The network is down!"

    "Oh, it's OK, Bob just had to take a leak. We he lies back down on the floor, it'll be OK!"
  • This brings a whole new meaning to the term Packet Sniffer. Hmm... I smell data in the air.
  • I don't mean to sound pollyanna-ish, but that sounds like the future! ... Or maybe I've read too much Sci-fi.

    Which is why I see it causing cancer in 50 years.

    Carpe Diem!
  • I know geeks don't dance but I forsee this being used in nightclubs on dancefloors. I remember someone a while back trying to give people wristbands that would track vitals and transfer them to a computer to control the music at a niteclub. Something like this floor could be used as a voting system to automatically determine whether the crowd at a club or party likes the music or not based on the number of "connections" on the dancefloor. It could also rate the music or any other live entertainment for t
    • A water break? what sort of club is this??
      • One where you *DANCE*. If you didn't know, dancing (especially at a rave-style club) can be very physically exhausting. Hence sweat->dehydration->need a water break.
    • Last year in my second year of civil engineering, we got to do a project. Me and 3 people worked on exactly such a 'dance-o-meter'.

      We had a couple of weird ideas about a local-positioning-system (mini gps), wristbands with transmitters, or transmitting data by contact with the floor, etc.
      Basically an LPS would be way out of our scope, a wristband would give problems as well: it needs power and electronics, but has to be light and portable.

      We settled for turning the dancefloor into a giant, fast responding
      • I think it was the DNA lounge that was playing with the wrist strap idea up in San Jose. Anyways, your idea is a good one but it only allows data to be tracked in one dimension. Other examples where this might be useful would be"
        1) Determing body temperature for better gauging ventilation and utlity consumption
        2) What songs or sounds lead to more beverage consumption
        3) The general well being of the customers, for example if it too guys blood pressure is rising but they are not moving in step -- c
      • By comparing this [floor pressure] data with the music being played (some FFT magic going on here with beat detection) we finally got out a magic number saying how much people were dancing in tune.

        Could you use it to display PERFECT!!, GREAT!, GOOD, Boo, or Miss... on the walls?

    • Geeks can run the club, but real people (e.g. non geeks actually go to clubs). Its a novel idea actually. Trance, House, Electronica or some other version of music is played. People then dance to the beat on the dancefloor. Sometimes so many people show up and so many dance that the temperature on the dancefloor actually outpaces the air conditioning. As a result of this and some chemical reactions in the bodies of the people dancing, heat is given off and sweat is produced. So some people task themse
  • "humans produce 12,000 btu's of body heat, we have managed to put that in good and efficient use, they also make great radio transmitters too!"
  • This must have some sexual use, i just cant put my finger on it ;)
  • In other news, the product 'Soylent CAT-3' was introduced today.
  • Enter Serial Experiments Lain!

    Japanese watch too much Anime!

    Of course, so do I!
    • (slight but not that-important spoilers ahead)

      Basically, in this anime series probably set in the near future the Net we know is called the 'Wired', and it is undergoing transition to IPv7 (no typo involved).

      IPv7 seemingly uses traditional communication systems, as well as the Earth's background magnetic field to transmit data. And humans are able to parse the data transmitted through the mag field. That means, the Wired is plugged right into the sensorium of the entire human race. Confusion ensues, as re
  • "I just got a job back at my old company. I'll be doing computer networking. I'm going to be part of a team implementing an Ethernet connection to the Indian firm that the company gave my old job to. I understand that there will be a lot of handholding necessary. I just don't understand why they are giving me a rubber raft..."
  • When will we learn (Score:3, Insightful)

    by RhettLivingston ( 544140 ) on Saturday October 18, 2003 @02:08PM (#7248989)

    We need to learn how to judge these systems. It takes years to develop and deploy a technology like this, and after you do, it would be very nice if it could be stretched for years to come. 10 MBaud might sound nice now, especially if its a real 10 MB unlike WiFi, but will it meet the need 5 years from now? At least some of the energies of the industry need to be focusing on how to get residential baud rates back onto a long term Moore's law-like development curve without killing us with new home or community infrastructure rollouts every few years.

    A good wireless fit into the home network should aim itself to eliminating the mass of cables behind my entertainment center and making it possible to have many high fidelity video bandwidth devices that can be easily moved around without concern about the cost of fishing new cables. To match it to existing hardware, it probably should aim at IEEE 1394 per device speeds. If a small module were available to convert IEEE 1394 ports or USB 2 ports to the new backbone, many devices would be hostable on the home's network today. In order to host a large number of devices, preferably multiple security cameras, multiple LCDs or projectors, multiple speaker systems, etc, I suspect that this means that it should be a cellular network with a fiber backbone and cells that are room sized. It might actually be beneficial if the signal could not easily penetrate walls. The fiber backbone should use a type and quantity of fiber that we know can satisfy needs for about 20 years (approximately 11 Moore's generations) so that we can just upgrade the cells without fishing the walls again. The cell stations should be easily swappable, overpowered (for growth) modules. They should be placed so that if a future generation decided to use a spread spectrum light solution along with the RF for backwards compatibility, their placement would support it. The modules should be designed with the expectation of a 3 year lifetime before the owner would want to upgrade at least some of the rooms. Hopefully, with the range limited to rooms, the size and amount of power of the mobile side could be kept down.

    Why would we need this kind of switched bandwidth? The only answer a geek should need is, if you build the infrastructure, the need will come. My personal desire would be to gradually turn my home into a lab that is ubiquitously connected so that I can start experimenting with using electronics as a means to bridge gaps, not just between man and computer, but between people and also to start using electronics to ease more of the mundane tasks of life and increase quality of life rather than for pure entertainment.

    One aspect in particular that could have prevented the last several deaths/major disabilities in my family would be continuous medical monitoring and analysis. Detecting heart attacks and strokes at an early stage through continuous monitoring so that the benefits of existing treatments that must be administered in a timely fashion can be fully realized could save or preserve the quality of over a million lives a year in the US alone.

    Yes, systems like that exist, but deployment is too selective and too expensive. If we build out the infrastructure and sensor networks as a multiuse system, the only part that has to come from the medical industry would be the software. And I suspect they couldn't keep the open source community out of that as long as it is served from countries that don't regulate equipment and software intended for medical use.

    • Just did a little calculation and figure, if you plan on 10 (a few TVs and cameras + many lower bandwidth channels for audio in every room) simultaneous 480MBaud channels (good match for either Firewire or USB 2.0) as a starting point, the home's fiber bundle backbone should be constructed with materials and numbers of fibers that allow for a theoretical limit of around 10 TBaud in order to be capable of following Moore's law for 20 years.
  • Heh maybe some kind of a mood ring or something that changes hue according to network traffic.
  • "Jesus, Bob! Are you just going to sit around all day drinking coffee?"

    "Back off, man! I'm busting my ass transferring a 2.5GB file over here!"

    Another thought: would hiring fat people give you more bandwidth?
  • The future of hacking: by shaking hands with someone you're stealing their credit card, social security number, and a gigabyte of porn they keep stored in their pocket for when the office is slow.

    Wait, isn't that how CNN portrays hackers already?
  • Well, human bodies do work as antennas, as anyone (old) who has ever grabbed TV rabbit ears knows. So, I suppose this is not beyond the bounds of possibility. It would likely be pretty short range though, especially with the bandwidth claimed. More bandwidth = more energy, and we can't have people getting electric shocks walking around the floor! The above also makes me wonder about the effect of shoe thickness - being that this was in japan, were the users wearing shoes?
  • This summary contains more details."
    The summary contains more details?
  • "Yes, honey, I in fact DO need to stand right near the hot woman in my ofice and follow her around all day long, otherwise I can't download porn at work all day long. ...uh..."

  • The human body generates more bioelectricity than a 120 volt battery and over 25,000 BTUs of body heat. Combined with a form of fusion, eventually we'll be able to grown humans to supply the networks and energy we need.
  • [Read to the thought of a Bugs Bunny cartoon after Daffy swallows the Acme Mega-Battery]

    Hey, great Zzzzzt! network. How Zzzzzt! does Zzzzzzt! it work? Zzzzzt!

  • Does it work with my Tinfoil Hat?!
  • Network Error: 0x0BADF00D - Intermediate peer has overflowed buffer and disconnected from network.
  • "Mommy, mommy, can I go play outside?"
    "No Jimmy, now go stand there till I finish browsing the Internet"

    "Mommy, mommy, who's that man on the bed?"
    "He's the SBC-Yahoo-ElectAura repairman, dear."

    Sign at an Internet Cafe:
    "Browsing : $2/hr
    Holding hands : forbidden"
  • At what point will marketing take over. At what point will the marketing droids figure out what will make every consumer buy exactly what they want them to. The best way I can see it is, marketing will eventually be able to figure out exactly how to make someone buy a product, and so will the rest of the companies. We will be forced by the marketing to buy a product and be happy with it, even though it serves no purpose and we don't really need it. At what point will this stop. People will be thown
  • ... full story, which is available at Newsstand [newsstand.com]. (It will also be posted on the TRN website [trnmag.com] on Wednesday.)

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