Feeds

Secret sub tech hints at spooks' TEMPEST-busting bugs

'Other UK gov parties' wanted details suppressed

HP ProLiant Gen8: Integrated lifecycle automation

Farnborough British boffins have devloped a cunning new method of transmitting high bandwidth data - plus power - through tough solid barriers such as submarine hulls or tank armour. The tech is being touted as a way of adding modifications to subs or armoured vehicles cheaply, but it seems that there are also other, highly secret, government applications.

BAE Systems' wireless through-hull comms demo at Farnborough 2010.

Through glass, submarine hulls... maybe through Faraday cages

The kit is being shown off here at the Farnborough airshow this week - Farnborough being a defence/weapons show as much as it is about aviation. The Reg got the chance to talk to Dr Lionel Kent, co-inventor of the new gear, about his brainchild. He had a demo rig set up, showing a video image being passed through a thick sheet of glass without wires.

"The glass is just to show we aren't cheating," said Kent's colleague Dr David Birkin. "No wires, you see - and it works just as well through a block of solid metal."

Not only does the kit pass data at reasonable-video bandwidth levels, the external end of the connection - the one which would be outside the sub's pressure hull or the tank's armour, or potentially inside a nuclear reactor core - is also powered wirelessly from the human-safe side.

"What's the point in avoiding the need to drill a hole for a data cable if you then have to drill one anyway for power?" asks Kent.

The ability to transmit power wirelessly has also been shown recently by researchers in the States, using magnetic fields oscillating at megahertz frequencies. We mentioned these to Dr Kent, but it seems that his kit is different.

"That approach is limited on bandwidth," he said. His and his colleagues' brainchild was developed at BAE Systems' Advanced Technology Centre beginning in 2006.

So how does it work, then?

"We can't tell you," says Kent. "Other parties have asked us not to make the details public."

Asked who these other parties might be, the two boffins refused to be drawn, though they did confirm that the request for secrecy came from within the UK government.

The Power of One Infographic

More from The Register

next story
Google Nest, ARM, Samsung pull out Thread to strangle ZigBee
But there's a flaw in Google's IP-based IoT system
Orange spent weekend spamming customers with TXTs
Zero, not infinity, is the Magic Number customers want
Want to beat Verizon's slow Netflix? Get a VPN
Exec finds stream speed climbs when smuggled out
US freemium mobile network eyes up Europe
FreedomPop touts 'free' calls, texts and data
'Two-speed internet' storm turns FCC.gov into zero-speed website
Deadline for comments on net neutrality shake-up extended to Friday
GoTenna: How does this 'magic' work?
An ideal product if you believe the Earth is flat
NBN Co execs: No FTTN product until 2015
Faster? Not yet. Cheaper? No data
prev story

Whitepapers

Top three mobile application threats
Prevent sensitive data leakage over insecure channels or stolen mobile devices.
The Essential Guide to IT Transformation
ServiceNow discusses three IT transformations that can help CIO's automate IT services to transform IT and the enterprise.
Mobile application security vulnerability report
The alarming realities regarding the sheer number of applications vulnerable to attack, and the most common and easily addressable vulnerability errors.
How modern custom applications can spur business growth
Learn how to create, deploy and manage custom applications without consuming or expanding the need for scarce, expensive IT resources.
Consolidation: the foundation for IT and business transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.