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Mag Network

October 1, 2015

Improving wearable device performance by turning the body into a personal magnetic network.

Transcript

BOB HIRSHON (host):

A personal magnetic network. I’m Bob Hirshon and this is Science Update.

Our phones, watches, fitness monitors and other personal devices may one day communicate using a magnetic field pulsing through and around our bodies. This according to electrical engineer Patrick Mercier at UC, San Diego.

PATRICK MERCIER (University of California, San Diego):

And the nice thing about magnetic fields is that they pass through biological tissue much more easily than electromagnetic radiation.

HIRSHON:

In fact, Mercier says the new devices would need just one millionth of the power required by current Bluetooth devices. And because the magnetic fields are so weak, information on the network would be more secure than Bluetooth radio waves, which broadcast in all directions.  The downside is that to fully realize those power savings, the devices have to take the form of a ring, like a wristwatch, belt, or headband. I’m Bob Hirshon, for AAAS, the science society.