Unexpected: A Sonar-Based Wireless Network that Lives in Your Body

Posted: June 5, 2013 in Test Equipment

Tech

You’ve probably read about the future where we reengineer our bodies or seen it hyperbolized in film: people awash in bionic contrivances and bleeding-edge actuators, a melange of subcutaneous processors relaying wireless signals to each other and beyond, turning us into something like cyborg bio-routers swimming in a sea of continuous, real-time information.

Only there’s a problem with that: radio waves don’t propagate so well through skin and muscle, requiring significant energy to get the job done and generating a fair bit of heat in the process.

Researchers at the University of Buffalo are talking about an intriguing potential workaround that’s premised on an elementary school biology principle: the human body, with all its parts, amounts to roughly 60% water. What travels well through water? Sonic vibrations, of course, which is where sonar — sound propagation through water — comes in.

By designing sonar-based technology small enough to work within the confines…

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