Posts Tagged ‘ Signals ’

Harnessing Wireless Signals

It’s not a new thing that radio frequency signals can be used as both a power source and a communication medium, and moreover, the problem of wireless power has been in research since the time of Tesla. There have been perpetual researches on this topic since many years. As radio frequency signals are both the power source and the communication medium, therefore, we can re-purpose radio frequency signals that are already around us into both a source of power and a communication medium.

This technology can be useful in some of the way but it has some pitfalls too. Like it depends on radio frequency signal, so apparently it is useless at the places where there is no radio frequency signal, its effect on the other wireless system or on those from which it draws power or on anything other, will be useless in the Faraday cage like places. That is the one side, now how can it help the humans: well! It can be useful in number of ways; can be used in smart devices like phones, watches, sensors and any other wearable electronic device. This technology can be embedded into smartphones (or into other battery dependent devices) and when the battery dies, the phone could still be used for communication by using radio frequency signals. In a nutshell, this technology has ample of things to offer.

I recently read an article which says a team of researchers from the University of Washington is working on this kind of technology. They have created a wireless technology which they describe as Ambient Backscatter, which takes advantage of the TV and cellular transmissions that already surround us around the clock. It transforms existing wireless signals into both a source of power and a communication medium. The researchers built small, battery-free devices with antennas that can detect, harness and reflect a TV signal, which then is picked up by other similar devices. Using ambient backscatter, these devices can interact with users and communicate with each other without using batteries. They exchange information by reflecting or absorbing pre-existing radio signals.

There is always someone working on something somewhere around the earth, and as there are endless possibilities, so there can be endless creation which can be created by connecting the right pieces in the right place!


Brain Computer Interface

The brain-computer interface is one of those technology which can change our world. A brain–computer interface is a direct communication pathway between the brain and an external device. The brain-computer interface is often directed at assisting, augmenting, or repairing human cognitive or sensory-motor functions, and in future, it can help in restoring damaged hearing, sight and movement in humans.

The concept of brain computer interface technology is to place small electrodes on or inside the human brain which can allow humans to interact with computers or control robotic limbs simply by thinking about how to execute those actions. This technology could improve communication and daily life for a person who is paralyzed or has lost the ability to speak from a stroke or neurodegenerative disease. Researchers have demonstrated that when humans use this brain computer interface, the brain behaves much like it does when completing simple motor skills such as kicking a ball, typing or waving a hand. That means this technology can make controlling a robotic arm or a prosthetic limb as easy as if it is your actual arm.

Several types of brain-computer interfaces are being developed and tested. The least invasive is a device placed on a person’s head that can detect weak electrical signatures of brain activity. Some basic commercial gaming products are on the market, letting people play easy games or move a mouse around a screen but this technology isn’t very reliable yet because signals from eye blinking and other muscle movements interfere too much.

It is possible that in the coming decades, we might interact with our smart devices and computers simply by using our minds; we could be operating a some smart device just by thinking about it, or could be turning lights on and off just by thinking about it, or sending an e-mail from our smart phone without even typing anything by hands. The scope of this technology is very wide and it could revolutionize everything from robotic implants and neural prosthetics, to remote controls but for now it still in its first phase.


 Reference: New Tasks Become as Simple as Waving a Hand With Brain-Computer Interfaces


Bionic Eyes

In a pioneering research, scientists claim to be developing bionic eyes for the blind, which they say will be ready for human trials by 2013.

Here’s a brief explanation of bionic vision system or bionic eye:

What is bionic eye?

Bionic Contacts Lens

image credit: wikipedia
This lens is based upon Bionic Technology, but it’s not a Bionic Eye.

Bionic eye is an experimental visual device intended to restore the sense of vision to people living with blindness, low vision, or age-related macular degeneration.

Bionic eyes or bionic vision system consists of a camera mounted on pair of glasses, the purpose of this camera is to transmits visual information or high-frequency radio signals to a microchip( or electrode array) which is connected to neurons in the retina. Electrodes on the implanted chip convert these signals into electrical impulses and then these electrical impulses are transmitted through the optic nerve to the vision centers of the brain where they are interpreted as an image. The detail of a generated image by this technology depends on phosphene. A phosphene is a perceived spot of light in the visual field which can be induced with the help of electrodes. It means the more electrodes are implanted, the more phosphenes are capable of being generated and the more detail a patient may be able to see.

A person using this device or technology won’t experience vision in the same way that a person with a healthy eye does but with training and patience people will adapt to the implant. This technology is in its initial stage and with time and more research, it is possible that in future this technology can help patients living with blindness and low vision to recognize faces, read large print and much more. It is also possible with the more research and advancement in the field of bionic vision systems, there will be high-resolution and visual quality bionic eyes and will be commercially available which can even provide better vision than normal eyes. It might be possible that even healthy people will upgrade their sight with these kind of devices.