'Skin-Tenna' Signal Broadcast By Largest Human Organ

A 'skin-tenna' that channels wireless signals along your largest organ could be a power-efficient way to communicate with medical implants or other devices. William Scanlon, who made the design with colleague Gareth Conway, is working on patenting the concept. And you didn't know that you had an organ that could broadcast.


(Skin-tenna diagram)

The designers claim that it would be more power-efficient than Bluetooth, which can be important when dealing with long-term medical implants.

Here's how it works:

Compact "patch" antennas that lie flat on the skin have been made before. But they make poor connectors because most of their signals travel away from the body, not along it.

Mast-style 'monopole' antennas like those on cars are better at transmitting laterally. But still transmit upwards too.

Now, Scanlon and Conway have designed a version that that channels much more of its signal sideways by taking advantage of the "creeping wave" effect that allows waves to travel along a surface. The same effect is responsible for both a person's ears hearing a sound only directed at one side of their head.

NEC has a wearable wideband antenna that can be integrated into clothing, in case a skin network is too "creepy" for you. Also, don't discount the possibility that your limbs might want to communicate with each other; see Bluetooth-Enabled Robot Legs Talk To Each Other.

Via New Scientist.

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