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The end of Bluetooth? Scientists develop a new way to transfer data

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Researchers at the University of Sussex in the UK have developed an innovative, more energy-efficient alternative for data transfer, with the potential to replace Bluetooth technology in mobile phones and other technological devices. This new technology, called electric field modulation, uses electrical waves instead of electromagnetic waves, providing a low-power solution for short-range data transmission while maintaining the high throughput required for multimedia applications.

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Thanks to its ability to improve battery life in headphones, trackers and other equipment, this technology provides possibilities for interaction with smart home devices. It is possible, for example, to exchange phone numbers by simply shaking hands or to open doors by touching a handle.

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Electric field modulation is particularly suitable for communications in body area networks (BAN), which are frequently used in wearable technologies. Unlike the electromagnetic modulation used in technologies such as Bluetooth, Wi-Fi and 5G, the new approach from the University of Sussex promises a significant reduction in the power consumption of devices, without sacrificing data transmission quality.

The team, led by Professor Robert Prance and Daniel Rogen, demonstrated the effectiveness of this technology by integrating an electric field modulation system into a pair of commercial headphones. While the quality can’t yet be compared to Bluetooth, which delivers 8-bit 16kHz mono audio at a transfer rate of 128kbit/s, the technology represents a promising step towards improving battery life and performance for future wearable devices.

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The University of Sussex team is now seeking industrial partnerships to help shrink the size of electronic circuits to make them applicable to personal devices, with an eye toward commercialization in the future. The low cost of this technology, which can be miniaturized to a single chip and costs only a few cents per device, suggests that it can be quickly and affordably implemented in society.

With information from, Sussex that it debriefing

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