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Turning Your Home Wiring Into a Giant Antenna

timothy posted more than 4 years ago | from the that'll-really-shake-up-the-powerline-cancer-folks dept.

Networking 135

An anonymous reader writes with this IBT snippet: "Imagine if you could run a wireless sensor device for years without ever having to replace the battery. Turns out, the idea of a battery-less wireless device might not be too far off. Researchers at the University of Washington and the Georgia Institute of Technology developed a small node sized device that uses the residential wiring from a building or home and transmits information to and from almost anywhere else from within. The device is called Sensor Nodes Utilizing Powerline Infrastructure, or SNUPI. It uses basic copper wiring as a giant antenna to receive wireless signals at a set frequency. When the device is within 10 to 15 feet of electrical wiring, it uses the antenna to send data to a single base station." (For "node-sized," think "size of a breakfast cereal prize.")

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Easier ways (1)

Stargoat (658863) | more than 4 years ago | (#33601948)

Just run a wire out back to the railroad line and attack to a rail.

Re:Easier ways (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33602048)

"Attack", "rail". Expect a visit from a not-so-friendly representative of Homeland Security.

Your Best Friend and Big Brother,
The US Government

Re:Easier ways (1)

Chruisan (1040302) | more than 4 years ago | (#33603948)

Did you mean "Your Best Friend and Big Sister?"

Re:Easier ways (2, Funny)

suso (153703) | more than 4 years ago | (#33602058)

Yeah, negotiating right of way with the railroad company. Brilliant! Why didn't I think of that?

Re:Easier ways (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33602060)

You should probably re-evaluate how you approach your rails, attacking them shouldn't be necessary!

Re:Easier ways (1)

onkelonkel (560274) | more than 4 years ago | (#33602280)

They will not be very happy when you mess up the track circuits.

Re:Easier ways (1)

icebike (68054) | more than 4 years ago | (#33603236)

I thought the rails were grounded anyway? Except for the third one.

Re:Easier ways (2, Funny)

fewnorms (630720) | more than 4 years ago | (#33602402)

Be happy they didn't call this 'Sensor Nodes Utilizing Conductive Infrastructure' ... the short version of that would not be pretty. Come to think of it, the short version IS not that pretty :)

Re:Easier ways (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33603194)

Be happy they didn't call this 'Sensor Nodes Utilizing Conductive Infrastructure' ... the short version of that would not be pretty. Come to think of it, the short version IS not that pretty :)

I don't understand your joke at all. What is SNUCI supposed to be? I even checked Urban Dictionary and a general Google search to see if I'm missing some not-my-culture thing. My best guess is that you're trying to say something about Snooki from Jersey Shore.

Re:Easier ways (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33603614)

snooki. I'm not proud of the fact that I know that, however.

Re:Easier ways (2, Insightful)

claytonicforce (1894276) | more than 4 years ago | (#33604046)

i too sir know this shameful fact. :(

Re:Easier ways (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33602830)

... and attack...

Clearly, the war metaphors have gone too far...

Re:Easier ways (1)

mcgrew (92797) | more than 4 years ago | (#33603104)

It sounds good in theory, but in practice it won't work at all. I lived very close to the railroad track when my kids were little, and you could always tell when a train would show up fifteen minutes before you could hear it, because the train messed up the TV or radio signal.

Besides that, antennas laying on the ground don't work very well.

And on top of that, you tune an antenna to the frequency you want to send or recieve by its length. A microwave needs a short antenna, not one that's hundreds of miles long.

Re:Easier ways (1)

morgauxo (974071) | more than 4 years ago | (#33604356)

Attack a rail? Kind of sounds like a modernization of Don Quixote.

Interesting (1, Interesting)

iONiUM (530420) | more than 4 years ago | (#33601984)

This is actually a pretty cool idea. It means in any populous area you wouldn't need wireless hubs or cell towers anymore, just the whole city would be humming.

Of course, if there is indeed any higher risk of cancer from radio waves, well... I pity everyone who lives there :)

Re:Interesting (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33602108)

"Of course, if there is indeed any higher risk of cancer from radio waves, well... I pity everyone who lives there :)"

Radio waves are already being generated by the wiring, albeit at much lower frequencies (e.g., 60Hz).

Re:Interesting (4, Interesting)

by (1706743) (1706744) | more than 4 years ago | (#33602248)

Radio waves are already being generated by the wiring, albeit at much lower frequencies (e.g., 60Hz).

You insensitive clod! [wikipedia.org]

Re:Interesting (1)

master0ne (655374) | more than 4 years ago | (#33602506)

wow, that was actually a very imformitave link... mod parrent up! I have never really sat down and read about the reasons for standardizing the power frequency until you posted that!

Re:Interesting (1)

mcgrew (92797) | more than 4 years ago | (#33602842)

These are ultra-low power transmitters that use induction to power themselves and send a signal back to a central node that's powered the traditional way, by plugging it in. The signal only goes ten or fifteen feet, so your idea wouldn't fly.

Re:Interesting (1)

commodore64_love (1445365) | more than 4 years ago | (#33603064)

>>>This is actually a pretty cool idea

No not really. I got a device like this for my TV. Plug it into the wall socket and it "turns your whole house into an antenna". It worked worse than an ordinary settop rabbit ears/loop antenna. I have my doubts this Sensor Node would work any better.
.

Re:Interesting (1)

nomel (244635) | more than 4 years ago | (#33604512)

That's because the wavelength of TV transmissions is around 2 feet...an antenna with elements longer than this can't efficiently capture the radio energy! The goal of antenna is to induce a resonance in the elements. This is why most antennas you see are some nice fraction of the wavelength; the peak of the radio signal helps reinforce the wave already moving in the antenna. This has the effect of having a nice change in impedance between the air and the antenna for the incoming wave. The closer the impedance, the less reflections off of the antenna (or antenna driver circuit to antenna if you're transmitting). Now, it would be interesting to use houses across the nation for low frequency antennas for radio astronomy. All the noisy circuits that people attach to their power lines would probably overpower any extraterrestrial signals though :-\

Re:Interesting (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33604350)

someone should tell Marconi or Tesla

Oldhat (2, Insightful)

symes (835608) | more than 4 years ago | (#33602010)

here [wikipedia.org] is one someone knocked up a 120 years ago.

Re:Oldhat (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33602292)

So if that had been made in 1790, would you have said two 110 years ago?

Re:Oldhat (1)

Mashiki (184564) | more than 4 years ago | (#33603244)

Not only that, but IBM used this idea for several years with their 'home automation services' to control things from your PC.

Re:Oldhat (Crystal set radio) (1)

Paracelcus (151056) | more than 4 years ago | (#33603250)

When I was 11 I got a Heathkit Crystal set kit for my birthday, it came with a variable capacitor a diode a small Bakelite knob a phenolic tube a spool of enameled magnet wire a square of plywood, solder, screws, a little piece of sandpaper a pair of fanstock clips with a monophone headset. I had to buy a soldering iron. Let me tell you I was thrilled, and I even entered it into the science fair.

Re:Oldhat (Crystal set radio) (1)

symes (835608) | more than 4 years ago | (#33604278)

Neat - I wasn't lucky enough to get a crystal set but did get various other kits. I knocked up a two-way radio with a mate once. I feel sorry for youngsters these days, they just get iPods. Perhaps Jobs should think of an iCrystal kit.

Re:Oldhat (Crystal set radio) (1)

element-o.p. (939033) | more than 4 years ago | (#33604736)

I had a crystal radio kit as a kid, too. I don't remember if it was a Heathkit or not (although I remember my dad building several Heathkit projects), but it was still a very cool project. I do remember being disappointed it wasn't louder, though, lol.

Now that you've stirred up the memories, I want to build another crystal radio :)

Bet the HAM guys are gonna love this (3, Interesting)

Nursie (632944) | more than 4 years ago | (#33602024)

They already get upset enough about HomePlug style ethernet-over-power devices.

Re:Bet the HAM guys are gonna love this (4, Informative)

mike449 (238450) | more than 4 years ago | (#33602390)

This new "node-sized" device consumes 1mW when transmitting and the home wiring is used as a receiving antenna. If HomePlug radiated this much, ham guys would be really happy.

Re:Bet the HAM guys are gonna love this (1)

suomynonAyletamitlU (1618513) | more than 4 years ago | (#33603860)

This new "node-sized" device consumes 1mW when transmitting and the home wiring is used as a receiving antenna.

So it's not, as the summary implies, two-way communication?

If not, that's a letdown. Milliwatt wireless commo would be amazing for device battery life.

Re:Bet the HAM guys are gonna love this (2, Interesting)

Oloryn (3236) | more than 4 years ago | (#33604408)

With the power levels being used, interference to ham operation isn't likely to be a problem. What's likely to be more of a problem is - how RFI-susceptible are the receivers going to be? They appear to be targeting the upper short-wave and lower VHF region (10-40Mhz). These receivers need to be pretty sensitive to pick up the low-level signals being sent by the sensors. If a neighbor (or the occupant) fires up a legal-limit ham transmitter (or a CB with an illegal amplifier), will they be selective enough to remain operational in the presence of that strong signal? The devices they built run in the 27Mhz area. I wonder if they've tested how they work if a nearby CB transmitter is operating, or if a a ham transmitter is operating on 10 meters?

Funny name (1)

Drakkenmensch (1255800) | more than 4 years ago | (#33602090)

Smart money says that SNUPI is a backronym because they wanted the name to be catchy.

Re:Funny name (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33602256)

No, a backronym would probably have been PUNIS

Re:Funny name (1)

morgan_greywolf (835522) | more than 4 years ago | (#33602332)

I can see the commercials/infomericals now:

Don't use the wireless antenna that came with your router! Hang it on SNUPI!

(Cue the McCoy's song [google.com] , except with lyrics to changed to "Hang on SNUPI!")

Re:Funny name (1)

Mikkeles (698461) | more than 4 years ago | (#33603110)

And don't forget "SNUPI versus the Red Baron".

Re:Funny name (1)

sammy baby (14909) | more than 4 years ago | (#33602884)

Just think: if they had been Jersey Shore viewers, it would have been called Sensor NOdes for lo-Ohm Carrier Infrastructure.

In other news, I may have just set a record for worst backronym.

Re:Funny name (4, Informative)

Drakkenmensch (1255800) | more than 4 years ago | (#33602970)

Actually that record is still being held by Arnold Rimmer in Red Dwarf, when he suggested to form the Comitee for Liberation and Integration of Terrorizing Organisms and their Reintegration Into Society.

Manfred Von Richthofen (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33603062)

SNUPI will never last. It'll only be a matter of time until RDBARRN technology comes along to shoot it down.

Re:Manfred Von Richthofen (1)

Drakkenmensch (1255800) | more than 4 years ago | (#33603124)

Eventually some lucky upstart will shoot it down as well, but programmers everywhere will forever remember it as one of the greatest builds ever released.

Tesla (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33602106)

obligatory reference to the patents of tesla describing exactly this around a century ago, especially the whole "set frequency" thing.

After wide-spread adoption, hence the scam. (2, Insightful)

interval1066 (668936) | more than 4 years ago | (#33602128)

IF this is widely adopted, place your bets on how long it takes for snoopers and sniffer to start stealing your sensitive data. I'm guessing a scant week after a city touts a complete success at a city-wide installation a report will come out on how a scammer scams that town out of kajillions.

Re:After wide-spread adoption, hence the scam. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33602422)

one word, encryption. look it up.

Re:After wide-spread adoption, hence the scam. (1)

interval1066 (668936) | more than 4 years ago | (#33602658)

Don't tell me, tell the hundreds of banks who punish their customers after they get hacked.

Re:After wide-spread adoption, hence the scam. (1)

NevarMore (248971) | more than 4 years ago | (#33602826)

IF this is widely adopted, place your bets on how long it takes for snoopers and sniffer to start stealing your sensitive data. I'm guessing a scant week after a city touts a complete success at a city-wide installation a report will come out on how the government contractor who sold the system scammed that town out of kajillions.

Monorail!

Re:After wide-spread adoption, hence the scam. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33603108)

IF this is widely adopted, place your bets on how long it takes for snoopers and sniffer to start stealing your sensitive data. I'm guessing a scant week after a city touts a complete success at a city-wide installation a report will come out on how a scammer scams that town out of kajillions.

Why do you think they called it SNUPI?

Seriously though, these are the antennas; I presume the devices and central AP will have some strong authentication involved, similar to cellular networks' honeycomb systems. It'd need to be fairly advanced just to cut out the noise. Imagine an open cell-style network using these antennas....

Re:After wide-spread adoption, hence the scam. (1)

DriedClexler (814907) | more than 4 years ago | (#33603436)

Two words: encryption.

Re:After wide-spread adoption, hence the scam. (2, Funny)

Athanasius (306480) | more than 4 years ago | (#33604476)

So, which two words does 'encryption' decrypt to ?

Re:After wide-spread adoption, hence the scam. (1)

CharlyFoxtrot (1607527) | more than 4 years ago | (#33604216)

So you're saying I'm gonna need a house-sized tinfoil hat ?

Re:After wide-spread adoption, hence the scam. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33604648)

Oh no, they will steal my SSL HELLOs!

New sealing method (3, Funny)

scheme (19778) | more than 4 years ago | (#33602138)

Patel said. "Most systems are designed thinking the battery will last less than a year. Now the device sold can have the battery integrated and frenetically sealed. "

I'd like to see one of those frenetically sealed batteries. Or maybe just see a video of the battery being sealed.

Re:New sealing method (1)

19thNervousBreakdown (768619) | more than 4 years ago | (#33602440)

I'm picturing Red Bull, hot resin, and a million dollar reward for the most sealed batteries (pre-qa).

Isn't fixing quotes like this up allowed in quotes when the intended word (hermetically) is obvious?

Re:New sealing method (0, Offtopic)

19thNervousBreakdown (768619) | more than 4 years ago | (#33602456)

ugh looks like I was a little to frenetic in my posting and forgot what I'd written before I was halfway through the sentence...

meh (1)

bonkeydcow (1186443) | more than 4 years ago | (#33602172)

I have tried internet over power lines and it never worked for me.

Re:meh (1)

hedwards (940851) | more than 4 years ago | (#33602660)

Probably because of the transformers and the line noise. Transformers tend to strip it away, and line noise tens to make it not work reliably or efficiently.

Breakfast what? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33602174)

Im sorry, what is a breakfast cereal prize?

Re:Breakfast what? (3, Funny)

ScrewMaster (602015) | more than 4 years ago | (#33602264)

Im sorry, what is a breakfast cereal prize?

It's something that you plug into your UCB port.

Re:Breakfast what? (1)

Luyseyal (3154) | more than 4 years ago | (#33603466)

Fortunately, it fits in the slim type-A connector rather than the bulkier type-B slot which is more typical for data dumps. -l

Re:Breakfast what? (2, Informative)

morgan_greywolf (835522) | more than 4 years ago | (#33602386)

Im sorry, what is a breakfast cereal prize?

For those of you who have never eaten or purchased pre-sweetened "kids" cereals, popular breakfast cereals marketed to children in the U.S. and elsewhere in the West often have a little toy stuffed in them. A famous (infamous?) example that may be an urban legend is a plastic whistle that once came in Cap'n'Crunch cereal boxes that (allegedly) blew a tone of 2600 Hz [wikipedia.org] , the exact frequency needed to place free phone long-distance phone calls on AT&T's POTS network.

Re:Breakfast what? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33603044)

It's a sad state of affairs when you get a prize for successfully opening a cardboard box.

Re:Breakfast what? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33603538)

It's usually inside the plastic bag, after which you do deserve a reward.

Re:Breakfast what? (1)

mcgrew (92797) | more than 4 years ago | (#33603738)

It's not an urban legend [wikipedia.org] . It's how John Draper [wikipedia.org] became known as Captain Crunch. One story about him that wikipedia says may be an urban legend:

One oft-repeated story featuring Captain Crunch goes as follows: Draper picked up a public phone, then proceeded to "phreak" his call around the world. At no charge, he routed a call through different phone switches in countries such as Japan, Russia and England. Once he had set the call to go through dozens of countries, he dialed the number of the public phone next to him. A few minutes later, the phone next to him rang. Draper spoke into the first phone, and, after quite a few seconds, he heard his own voice very faintly on the other phone. Draper also claimed that he and a friend once managed to place a direct call to the White House and spoke directly with someone who sounded like Richard Nixon; Draper's friend told the man about a toilet paper shortage in Los Angeles.[6] Draper was also a member of the Homebrew Computer Club.[2]

The Captain Crunch whistle's frequency is where hacker and security site 2600.org got its name.

Re:Breakfast what? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33603900)

And here I thought they were old Atari fans.

Re:Breakfast what? (1)

morgan_greywolf (835522) | more than 4 years ago | (#33604184)

No, the other way around. Atari were old Captain Crunch fans.

Re:Breakfast what? (1)

morgan_greywolf (835522) | more than 4 years ago | (#33604232)

I've heard the story repeated -- a lot. However, I've never seen the claim backed up by real evidence that the whistles ever existed. Since the whistles in questioned allegedly existed in the 1960s, before I was even born, I added the disclaimer that it may be an urban legend.

Now, produce one of these whistles, and I'll redact my disclaimer.

Re:Breakfast what? (2, Informative)

mcgrew (92797) | more than 4 years ago | (#33604434)

I don't have one, but I do remember them. The Wikipedia article on the cereal [wikipedia.org] has citable references. And a little googling [google.com] turns up photos of the whistle.

Re:Breakfast what? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33605048)

If you do find one (I've seen them on ebay), it will be very expensive since, for some reason, they're collectors items now.

"Bay Station" (1)

ColoradoAuthor (682295) | more than 4 years ago | (#33602178)

FTA: These devices are for "communicating back to the bay station." Think the author knows anything about wireless?

The whole article is a mess (1)

sean.peters (568334) | more than 4 years ago | (#33603036)

Another bit of brilliance:

With SNUPI, Patel and his team found a way to distribute the wireless sensors in a more practical way. Whereas the traditional method uses 99 percent radio waves, the SNUPI method uses less than one percent

WTF? What the holy hell does that even mean? And other unanswered questions: what on earth is this useful for? What kind of sensors do they intend to attach to this, and what is intended to be done with the data gathered? And: "a node-sized" device? Ok, so how big is a node?

Hint for the International Business Times: for your next story, try assigning a reporter who has some kind of a fucking clue what's being talked about. And for Slashdot: try reading submitted articles before you push them to the front page, in order to avoid embarrassing yourself.

I know, must be new here.

What's your problem? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33603040)

Are you homophonic or something?

Oh the Hams are going to love this....NOT! (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33602222)

These powerline 'type' technologies are like just bad bad news for Hams and shortwave enthusiasts as it wipes out the bands, unless notch filters are employed, which I doubt it.

Re:Oh the Hams are going to love this....NOT! (1)

MBCook (132727) | more than 4 years ago | (#33602526)

Well one of the problems with powerlines is that you need high power to get the signal the distances you want, the lines are lossy because they weren't designed for the frequencies, and the fact they are just long pieces of wire makes them ideal antennas.

If you're only broadcasting to your house, the power could be a lot lower. The fact that the "antennas" are smaller, turn more, and inside walls would help some too.

Re:Oh the Hams are going to love this....NOT! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33603302)

Think about it: these are PASSIVE devices that actually depend on the already emitting EM from your house wiring to power the device; they're not going to be adding more high volume noise to the system. People seem to be thinking that these will be using house wiring to broadcast to other house "nodes" a la internet networking.

Instead, imagine these boards inside universal remotes that communicate with your central server from anywhere in the house... think of these as being in cordless phones what now need very little power to operate for long periods. Think of these being in baby monitors.

They don't appear to say what the data throughput is on these things, but I don't think they'll be blasting large amounts of data across the city, overpowering HAM signals.

Not batteryless. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33602286)

Where did TFA get that nonsense from? It certainly does have a battery in it, it doesn't draw power from the mains. It may not need changing for ten years, but "not needing to change the battery often" is hardly the same thing as "batteryless".

seems an old idea... (2, Interesting)

dslmodem (733085) | more than 4 years ago | (#33602360)

I have been working in a DSL company a few years back. For DSL systems, the AM signals could be an issue since they can couple into the long twist pair lines and then, be fed into receiver. So far, I got the idea to utilize the long wires (phone lines, power line, etc) to perform short range radio communications or sensors with other devices. Problems? Many. Overall, it is very hard to control, i.e. taking a lot of noise/interference and emitting a lot of energy (could affect other devices).

mod 3owNn (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33602392)

common knowledge is EFNet, and you? A proDuctivity 200 running NT JUGGERNAUT EITHER bunch of gay negros OpenBSD wanker Theo may be hurting maggot, vomit, shit

size of a breakfast cereal prize? (1)

mike449 (238450) | more than 4 years ago | (#33602420)

(For "node-sized," think "size of a breakfast cereal prize.")

Don't know about yours, my node is way bigger than this.

Re:size of a breakfast cereal prize? (1)

iamhassi (659463) | more than 4 years ago | (#33602910)

First we were measuring things in Library-of-Congresses, now we measure them by Breakfast-Cereal-Prizes?

Geek1: How big is that new hard drive of yours?
Geek2: huge, at least 1,000 Library-of-Congresses. How big is your new laptop?
Geek1: it's small, about the size of 5 Breakfast-Cereal-Prizes. Got the new iPhone-a-Droid too, it's a little bigger than a Breakfast-Cereal-Prize.

Re:size of a breakfast cereal prize? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33604452)

(For "node-sized," think "size of a breakfast cereal prize.")

Don't know about yours, my node is way bigger than this.

No fair stroking it before you measure!

Sure, if you want to summon Gozer. (1)

OpenGLFan (56206) | more than 4 years ago | (#33602524)

What a great idea. The whole building as a huge super-conductive antenna designed and built expressly for the purpose of pulling in and concentrating spiritual turbulence. Your girlfriend, Pete, lives in the corner penthouse of Spook Central.

Mark my words! Do this, and many Shuvs and Zuuls will know what it is to be roasted in the depths of the Slor that day, I can tell you!

Re:Sure, if you want to summon Gozer. (1)

Combatso (1793216) | more than 4 years ago | (#33603102)

Well.. I'm gonna head over to Dana's apartment and check her out.... check IT out.

Re:Sure, if you want to summon Gozer. (1)

flaming error (1041742) | more than 4 years ago | (#33604440)

On the other hand, you do get enormous refrigerator space at no extra cost. Handy, if you have a surplus of marshmallow sauce.

EMC... (2, Insightful)

Guillaume le Btard (1773300) | more than 4 years ago | (#33602542)

How can this ever be approved? I imagine this can cause all sorts of problems. The power grid in a normal house is not designed for this, same thing goes for the ethernet over power crap. There are all sorts or regulations about keeping net pollution down, and using it as a transmission medium goes directly against this.

Units (4, Insightful)

Locke2005 (849178) | more than 4 years ago | (#33602570)

For "node-sized," think "size of a breakfast cereal prize."?

For those of us that haven't eaten cereal that comes with prizes for at least 40 years now, can you express that in more traditional units, e.g. volkswagens, libraries of congress, or common US coins? Alternatively, you you just give the fucking dimensions.

Re:Units (5, Informative)

dtmos (447842) | more than 4 years ago | (#33602834)

It's 3.8 cm by 3.8 cm by 1.4 cm [washington.edu] (second page, first column, second paragraph).

Re:Units (1)

Locke2005 (849178) | more than 4 years ago | (#33603060)

Thanks. The report you linked to beats the heck out of the puff pieces linked by the slashdot article with it's silly summary.

Re:Units (1)

noidentity (188756) | more than 4 years ago | (#33603214)

If "node-sized" was the only part of the summary you found unclear, I commend you.

Re:Units (1)

Inda (580031) | more than 4 years ago | (#33603796)

It's called a prize? Amazing.

"Well done, you've worked out how to open the box, now have a prize!"

Re:Units (1)

ediron2 (246908) | more than 4 years ago | (#33605148)

> For those of us that haven't eaten cereal that comes with
> prizes for at least 40 years now, can you express that in
> more traditional units, e.g. volkswagens, libraries of
> congress, or common US coins? Alternatively, you you just
> give the fucking dimensions.

1 - I still buy *THAT KIND* of cereal, you insensitive clod! Also, Crackerjack. You should, too. Live a little.
2 - The whole analogy is busted -- I never see prizes anymore. FWIW, Crackerjack prizes suck the wax tadpole, too. That's the cardinal flaw with this description: there are probably young /.'ers that have never seen a toy in/from a cereal box, and not because their mom was one of those twisted no-corn-sugar holistic diet types.
3 - The good news is that Happy Meals are the new Crackerjack. Nerd-toys and a waist-friendly lunch for Three Bucks = W00T!!11!
4 - Alas, the sensor is smaller than the usual Happy Meal toy.
5 - Where do you shop that has bulk-package foods big enough that cereal prizes (e.g., secret decoder rings) could possibly compare in size to volkswagens or libraries? My wife wants that membership!

5 - Here's your answer in lame (slashdot-friendly) ascii art:

SENSOR-S-SENSOR
SENSOR-E-SENSOR
SENSOR-N-SENSOR
SENSOR-S-SENSOR
SENSOR-O-SENSOR
SENSOR-R-SENSOR

(Before anyone accuses me of trolling or forgetting UI resize functionality, Locke did mention it's been 40 yrs since (s)he bought cereal with a prize, so I'm guessing (s)he's rockin' the bigfonts regardless of which browser they're using... oops, now I am trollin'. Sorry!)

Node-sized? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33602752)

I'm confused. Can you please tell me how many sheets of glass that is?

Turning Your Home Wiring Into a Giant Antenna (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33603054)

Remember those scam ads for using your house wiring for a giant Television antenna? I remember seeing those ads in Popular Mechanics and possibly Popular Electronics magazines.

27Mhz (1)

Locke2005 (849178) | more than 4 years ago | (#33603082)

Sounds like they are using the frequencies reserved in the US for R/C control, which require no license. Also, since they are using the power lines as a receiver, not a transmitter, HAM enthusiasts shouldn't have a problem with it. For the very limited niche it is designed for (home data collection), it's a cool system.

Re:27Mhz (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33603942)

27 Mhz is for CB Radio's http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cb_radio commonly known as Citizens' Band

I had several back in the middle 80's.

Nathan

size of a breakfast cereal prize (1)

slapout (93640) | more than 4 years ago | (#33603188)

For "node-sized," think "size of a breakfast cereal prize."

Is that a European or African cereal prize?

They didn't describe the powerline! (2, Informative)

Beorytis (1014777) | more than 4 years ago | (#33603678)

In the UW paper, there was no detailed description of the powerline inside the test home. What was the wiring? I'm guessing it was NM cable (a.k.a. "Romex"), or wire in nonmetallic conduit. If a home is wired with wire in metal conduit or armored cable (f.k.a."BX"), the grounded metal enclosure probably has an adverse effect on performance of the SNUPI system.

Re:They didn't describe the powerline! (0)

multipartmixed (163409) | more than 4 years ago | (#33603916)

Who the hell runs BX or MT inside a house? NM 14-2 is all over the damn place.

burning down the house (1)

evilmousse (798341) | more than 4 years ago | (#33604980)

I recall stories of products that served to make an antenna out of the electrical wiring of your house or even the chicken-coop wiring in the backing of old stucco-surfaced walls. they functioned as advertised, but seeing as neither was designed for the purpose, they're both woefully unprepared for the accidental circumstance of a larger EMF pulse. recieving a signal incurs resistance, resistance heat. too much signal can suddenly cause your house to explode into flame.

PS AAAAAAAAAAAAAARRRRRGHHHHHH entering this comment was a exercise in frustration, what the FUCK kind of script is preventing me from typing, hilighting, or rightclicking in the edit pane randomly and for 30 seconds at a time?!?!?!?

Building wiring as TV antenna (2, Insightful)

RomulusNR (29439) | more than 4 years ago | (#33605260)

When I was in college, kids in the university's then-tallest building would not bother getting cable service, which the dorm was pre-wired for. But despite not having cable service, they plugged their TV's into the cable jacks anyway -- and it increased their OTA reception fourfold. The cable wires running through the building served as a huge 100-foot antenna.

Questionable usefulness. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33605326)

Paper here: http://sockeye.cs.washington.edu/research/pubs/Cohn_SNUPI_ubicomp10.pdf [washington.edu]

At the end, the authors are grasping at straws to describe potential applications.

I don't think anyone cares about "ubiquitous computing" hidden in a crawl space or behind a wall, come on. That's not really an application.

There is no point in embedding this into anything which is plugged into an outlet, because then you can use direct power-line networking; there is no need for a wireless hop to the power line! And you have AC power, so the battery life saving is moot.

The authors neglect to address the obvious objection: that non-mobile devices, such as those installed in a wall or crawl space, do not have to be wireless!!! You can just run a section of cable to them. There is already wiring in walls; just tap into it! If you're going to go through the trouble of cutting through a wall to install something, surely you can do wiring.

The medical uses are the most promising, like glucose monitoring and whatnot. But unless these devices are surgically implanted in the body, who really cares about their battery life? There are rechargeable batteries. The one good thing would be that the tinfoil hat crowd would approve of the use of less transmitter power and lower frequencies, especially near the human body. This would be the way to sell this technology: it is "safer".

There is no point in using this in any battery-powered device which itself has a significant current drain, such that the additional drain from wireless transmission is negligible. (Suppose 10% of the overall power consumption is spent on transmitting; a ten fold improvement in that will cut only 9% of the overall power consumption). So for instance, using this in a laptop computer is useless.

Also, there is another limitation: currently, the SNUPI devices can only transmit and not receive.

Bandwidth could be a problem; these things use a low-frequency. Forget about 802.11{g,n}.

This is just someone's school project that is unlikely to result in a product, but you never know. The perception of a reduced health hazard due to lower emissions could be a big selling point.

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