Feeds

'Bionic ear' can detect Wi-Fi, FM,GPS signals simultaneously

Electronic cochlea a step toward universal radio?

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk

Boffins have developed a potential “universal radio receiver” that’s capable of detecting a whole range of wireless signals simultaneously.

RFC_MIT

A close-up of the RFC and antenna

The Radio Frequency Cochlea (RFC) is an ultrabroad-band radiob embedded onto a 1.5 x 3mm silicon chip. It can receive mobile phone, GPS, FM radio, Wi-Fi and Bluetooth signals.

Designed by scientists at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, the RFC’s design is based on the human hear. Your ear contains a spiral structure - the cochlea - in which thousands of tiny hairs enable you to detect different frequencies, from 100Hz to around 10,000Hz.

The RFC detects electromagnetic rather than pressure waves, and its tiny spiral design contains transistors, each of which detect a different radio wave, rather than hairs.

The smallest transistors sit nearest the outer edge of the RFC and detect short frequency waves. Larger transistors sit towards the spiral’s centre and listen for longer frequency waves.

Rahul Sarpeshkar, one of the chip’s designers and an Associate Professor of electrical engineering and computer science at MIT, said the RFC’s extreme sensitivity would make it ideal for use in commercial wireless applications.

He also claimed that the design is 50 times more power efficient than the receiver in a typical mobile phone.

Plans to develop the RFC for commercial use haven’t been announced, but the designers have submitted a patent application to incorporate the RFC into in a gadget for processing a broad spectrum of signals. ®

New hybrid storage solutions

More from The Register

next story
Brit telcos warn Scots that voting Yes could lead to HEFTY bills
BT and Co: Independence vote likely to mean 'increased costs'
Phones 4u slips into administration after EE cuts ties with Brit mobe retailer
More than 5,500 jobs could be axed if rescue mission fails
New 'Cosmos' browser surfs the net by TXT alone
No data plan? No WiFi? No worries ... except sluggish download speed
Radio hams can encrypt, in emergencies, says Ofcom
Consultation promises new spectrum and hints at relaxed licence conditions
Turnbull: NBN won't turn your town into Silicon Valley
'People have been brainwashed to believe that their world will be changed forever if they get FTTP'
Blockbuster book lays out the first 20 years of the Smartphone Wars
Symbian's David Wood bares all. Not for the faint hearted
Bonking with Apple has POUNDED mobe operators' wallets
... into submission. Weve squeals, ditches payment plans
prev story

Whitepapers

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops
Balancing user privacy and privileged access, in accordance with compliance frameworks and legislation. Evaluating any potential remote control choice.
WIN a very cool portable ZX Spectrum
Win a one-off portable Spectrum built by legendary hardware hacker Ben Heck
Intelligent flash storage arrays
Tegile Intelligent Storage Arrays with IntelliFlash helps IT boost storage utilization and effciency while delivering unmatched storage savings and performance.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Beginner's guide to SSL certificates
De-mystify the technology involved and give you the information you need to make the best decision when considering your online security options.