Wireless Data May Get Human Touch

Broadband transmission speeds capable using the electrical signals carried by human bodies.

by / October 7, 2002
TOKYO (AP) -- Wireless communication may become as easy as a handshake using new technology being developed by Japan's biggest telecommunications company.

The goal is to harness the human body's ability to conduct electric signals, though the technology from Nippon Telegraph and Telephone is still being researched and there are no plans yet to start using it in products and no estimate of when it might become available, company spokesman Yo Takahashi said Monday.

But Takahashi confirmed data transmission through the body is possible at broadband speeds. The company did not immediately disclose the strength, possible costs or other details of the electric signals.

Mobile devices equipped with the technology would be able to communicate with each other and relay data using weak electric signals that are carried through the human body instead of through a wire. The technology would even work if the mobile device remained stored in a pocket or bag.

Various uses are likely possible, such as exchanging telephone numbers, e-mail addresses and other information by just shaking hands or tapping someone on the shoulder.

The technology could also allow people to communicate with machines in ways that require identification, such as tapping a door to get it to unlock or touching a desk to start a personal computer. Commuters could simply touch a station gate for immediate passage.

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