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Forming New Mobile Networks With People-Borne Sensors

timothy posted more than 3 years ago | from the game-of-telephone dept.

Communications 49

An anonymous reader writes with this snippet from Medical Daily: "Members of the public could form the backbone of powerful new mobile internet networks by carrying wearable sensors. According to researchers from Queen's University Belfast, the novel sensors could create new ultra high bandwidth mobile internet infrastructures and reduce the density of mobile phone base stations. The engineers from Queen's renowned Institute of Electronics, Communications and Information Technology (ECIT), are working on a new project based on the rapidly developing science of body centric communications."

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And thus it begins... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34056566)

We are the Borg. Resistance is futile and capacitance is overrated.

Re:And thus it begins... (1)

by (1706743) (1706744) | more than 3 years ago | (#34056596)

Inductance...now that's the stuff!

And access what? (2, Insightful)

snowraver1 (1052510) | more than 3 years ago | (#34056766)

My Blackberry already has crappy battery life. The last thing I want is my battery life to be dependant on my neigbours' usage

Re:And access what? (1)

Monkeedude1212 (1560403) | more than 3 years ago | (#34057082)

Re-read the summary, if you even did that.

These are seperate devices, not in your mobile phones, that you wear. They simply have their own battery power and provide the backbone for your network.

Would never fly with the general public (2, Funny)

BadAnalogyGuy (945258) | more than 3 years ago | (#34056872)

There are too many privacy concerns, especially identity theft, that would make such a technology unacceptable to the general public, much less the governing bodies that would need to approve the devices. It's one thing to connect two devices explicitly via special applications. It's a completely different thing to have devices talk to each other, even if only for relay purposes, without the owners' knowledge.

Re:Would never fly with the general public (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34057118)

Where's the bad analogy, guy?

If we're accountable for stuff that happens on our (un)locked routers, imagine what this technology would do.

"Your honor, I was just walking down the street, I had no idea my device was transmitting laundered money for the mafia!"
"Your device, your liability! GUILTY!"

Re:Would never fly with the general public (1)

mywhitewolf (1923488) | more than 3 years ago | (#34058822)

i think devices should be liable for aiding and abetting. we could set up a special jail for infringing equipment, call it Silicone bay, they don't have the right to contact a lawyer and they don't have the right to make a phone call.

Re:Would never fly with the general public (1)

sempir (1916194) | more than 3 years ago | (#34059492)

It already does. And very successfully too. It's called "klatchware "! People my age will recognize this one.

Re:Would never fly with the general public (1)

sirlark (1676276) | more than 3 years ago | (#34060968)

Actually, the general public are the MOST likely to let it fly. Where technology is concerned, they are usually unaware of their privacy being eroded, and even when they are aware, they'll trade privacy for the convenience of a shiny new gadget. Facebook, sharing location information from cell phones, etc

Re:Would never fly with the general public (1)

mcgrew (92797) | more than 3 years ago | (#34061882)

There are too many privacy concerns, especially identity theft, that would make such a technology unacceptable to the general public

First, couldn't the traffic be encrypted? Second, how is this different than an unsecured wifi hotspot? I encourage people to unsecure their hotspots*, as I'm utterly opposed to selfishness.

* as long as they're not paying per byte and don't have a data cap.

IEEE 802.15.6 Body Area Network Standard (3, Informative)

dtmos (447842) | more than 3 years ago | (#34056884)

The IEEE 802.15.6 task group on body area networks [ieee802.org] has been standardizing a communication protocol for similar sensor applications, but emphasizing long battery life rather than high data rates.

Might work (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34056944)

I have seen a project to map traffic congestions by letting peoples use a application on their cell phone
that monitors through GPS its speed and location.
This works quite well [tinyurl.com] .

Re:Might work (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34057018)

mod down - link goes to goat.cx

Re:Might work (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34057246)

At least one user fell for it. Trolls rejoice!

Re:Might work (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34057282)

May have fell for it but luckily firewall prevented viewing

umm no it does not (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34057788)

I just checked the link and it is exactly as described, it is the legit ieee802.org

Re:Might work (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34058926)

No, it doesn't.
It's part of the real IEEE website, the domain IEEE802.org is for the "IEEE 802 LAN/MAN Standards Committee".

http://www.who.is/whois/ieee802.org/

Whois shows a small snapshot of the index page, too.

Re:Might work (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34059776)

Mod down, the link is genuine.

Click the fucking link before you go throwing away mod points.

Why should we shoulder the burden? (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34057010)

Why should "Members of the public.." have to shoulder the burden? What about those lazy, unproductive chickens, rabbits, rats, seagulls. At least it will give them something else to do rather than stealing my lunch.

Re:Why should we shoulder the burden? (1)

Yvan256 (722131) | more than 3 years ago | (#34057154)

You mean something else to do rather than this [youtube.com] ?

Redirect... (2, Funny)

al3k (1638719) | more than 3 years ago | (#34057022)

All I can imagine are situations similar to setting an open access point to redirect everything to meatspin as a prank...or possibly something slightly more malicious

If it kills off the Internet, then good! (2, Interesting)

gilgongo (57446) | more than 3 years ago | (#34057068)

From TFA: "Success in this field will not only bring major social benefits it could also bring significant commercial rewards for those involved."

If they're talking about a type of mesh network, then I say bring it on! Right now, things really don't look good for the "traditional" Internet as we know it. It's controllable servers, lap-dog ISPs, government p0wned routers, etc. One day, the net will just be Rupert Murdoch's pay-ground just as sure as cable TV went main stream in the 1980's.

Take out the centrality, enter the mesh. They stole our revolution - let's steal it back!!

(Sits back and waits for the sound of cynical laughter and replies beginning "In the real world...")

Re:If it kills off the Internet, then good! (3, Funny)

blair1q (305137) | more than 3 years ago | (#34057232)

It's going to have some technological hurdles to cross, like transatlantic links...unless you like rowing...

Re:If it kills off the Internet, then good! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34059486)

Nah, we'll just have give a lot of Inuit an incentive to kayak around the Bering strait with mesh relays in their pockets.

Re:If it kills off the Internet, then good! (1)

SuricouRaven (1897204) | more than 3 years ago | (#34061054)

Could be useful for pira- er, content distribution. Just think of your phone/node broadcasting every minute, 'Anyone got the file(/segment) of SHA265 hash xxxxxxxxxxx?' If any phones nearby are running the app, they can reply and send it over. In a time where ISPs are imposing harsh usage quotas, and mobile devices can have sixty gig of storage in flash, this sounds almost practical.

Re:If it kills off the Internet, then good! (1)

gilgongo (57446) | more than 3 years ago | (#34107312)

Absolutely. In fact, scoot forward maybe 20-30 years or so and imagine passively-powered storage devices. Imagine them tiny, dirt cheap, made in China and anywhere you care to look.

Boof - we got ourselves a totally new world: On my way to work, my phone alerts me to the fact that I've just walked past the entire works of Hollywood, in 1080p, on a chip the size of a pinhead and the cost of a stick of gum. Would I like to copy some to my device? OK. 10 seconds later, I've got everything made between 1940 and 1950.

Not messaging networks as we know them, but a web of data mixed in to the fabric of everyday life. What's that on your shoulder? Dandruff? No, it's some 10 petabyte storage devices that somebody's scattered over the heads of the crowd. Hey! They've got the Pentagon's email correspondence from 2012 on them. Time for some mining!

I'm gonna go Orwellian on yo ass (3, Informative)

lanceran (1575541) | more than 3 years ago | (#34057132)

I can see this becoming a tool for survelliance with the ability to track down anyone with a wifi station, which can easily become as popular as cellphones.

Re:I'm gonna go Orwellian on yo ass (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34057280)

I can see this as something most people are not going to want to carry around. Phone, keys, wallet and sunglasses are too much as it is.

Maybe they can integrate them into purses/man-satchels/bras/brossieres etc. along with wireless recharging and built-in antennas in the straps.

Re:I'm gonna go Orwellian on yo ass (4, Insightful)

lanceran (1575541) | more than 3 years ago | (#34057384)

I can see this as something most people are not going to want to carry around. Phone, keys, wallet and sunglasses are too much as it is.

Maybe they can integrate them into purses/man-satchels/bras/brossieres etc. along with wireless recharging and built-in antennas in the straps.

Give it a few years, cellphones in early 90 had brick-sized batteries and yet people still carried them around, now it is hard to find a phone that is not a miniature wi-fi enabled game console with a video camera that can also make phone calls.

Re:I'm gonna go Orwellian on yo ass (1)

Arancaytar (966377) | more than 3 years ago | (#34060586)

... and with battery lifetimes more commonly associated with netbooks than cellphones. It's almost depressing how people now think it is *normal* for a mobile phone to need charging more than once a week.

Re:I'm gonna go Orwellian on yo ass (1)

ma3382 (1095011) | more than 3 years ago | (#34061426)

Its normal for a mobile phone to last a week?? Were you using the thing to call anyone? I had about 6 different models of cell phones (all Samsung) before my current smart phone...I had to charge them at least 3-4 times a week and I barely used those phones for anything more than an alarm clock. I actually miss those days, seeing as my Nexus One only lasts 9 hours.

Re:I'm gonna go Orwellian on yo ass (1)

mywhitewolf (1923488) | more than 3 years ago | (#34058872)

This could be brilliant, except attach the devices to a vehicle, there are less privacy concerns and I'd happily give up the location of my vehicle to the authorities for the extra security of being able to track it down if it gets stolen. attaching it to people seems silly, but attach it to a vehicle that turns on only when the vehicle is running could work? an opt in method when purchasing the car as well to negate security concerns (with the bonus of having the internet with you where ever your car is near)

Sure. I'll do that. (3, Interesting)

blair1q (305137) | more than 3 years ago | (#34057222)

Because I've always wanted to be part of a hive.

Especially one geared towards tracking me and everyone near me.

yuo fail It (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34057454)

Rough Cuts (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34057486)

For those who might be interested, haee a look at this upcoming O'Reilly title.

http://oreilly.com/catalog/9780596807740 [oreilly.com]

In addition to RFID chipping my cat, I'm building him a GPS-enabled collar that I can ping him should he escape using my cell phone.

Re:Rough Cuts (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34060370)

I'm building him a GPS-enabled collar that I can ping him should he escape using my cell phone.

My cat's not intelligent enough to escape using my cell phone.

Re:Rough Cuts (1)

mcgrew (92797) | more than 3 years ago | (#34065478)

In addition to RFID chipping my cat, I'm building him a GPS-enabled collar that I can ping him should he escape using my cell phone.

Your cat uses a cell phone to escape? Wow, smart cat! My cat's dumb, she moves her lips when she reads.

Wow (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34057506)

Ever seen ghost in the shell? Scarily similar, and look at their problems!

On empty streets? (2, Insightful)

c0lo (1497653) | more than 3 years ago | (#34058026)

Deep in the night (what are you doing there?), about to be attacked by muggers, can't dial 000 because is nobody on the street and the cell tower density has been reduced.

Re:On empty streets? (1)

mail2345 (1201389) | more than 3 years ago | (#34058484)

However people can still leave their routers on while they sleep/are at home.
But of course the signal would be weaker.

Re:On empty streets? (1)

c0lo (1497653) | more than 3 years ago | (#34058620)

However people can still leave their routers on while they sleep/are at home. But of course the signal would be weaker.

Would you bet your life on the people letting their routers opened and with free access?

I mean, there's a difference between a contract with a mobile provider (at least, assuming that they can prove it, your estate can sue the telecom if a signal should have been available - as advertised - in the area and it was not) and "maybe the routers would be functional, maybe not".

Re:On empty streets? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34059206)

How is that worse than just not having a signal cos there is no cell tower in that area, or buildings blocking you, etc?

This is the eventual future of communications networks. why output 0.5W to get a signal to a tower, when you can output 0.1W and just mesh to the destination.

I see massive problems with latency however, which may limit these types of networks to non time critical data for a long time (ie, no voice/video calling).

Re:On empty streets? (1)

c0lo (1497653) | more than 3 years ago | (#34059520)

How is that worse than just not having a signal cos there is no cell tower in that area, or buildings blocking you, etc?

The contract I have with the telecom provider and the advertised map of coverage. The later informs me where I don't have coverage before I enter the area.

Re:On empty streets? (1)

SkyDragon (1642677) | more than 3 years ago | (#34059398)

You would do what we did twenty years ago, before mobile phones: run like hell, scream and shout, rather than calmly ringing 000/911 and making sure that the police can get a fix on the position that the bad guy will leave your body.

Re:On empty streets? (1)

c0lo (1497653) | more than 3 years ago | (#34059650)

You would do what we did twenty years ago, before mobile phones: run like hell, scream and shout, rather than calmly ringing 000/911 and making sure that the police can get a fix on the position that the bad guy will leave your body.

Yes, I would certainly do the above. However, being able to supplementary call the emergency services is a plus, don't you think?
Think at another: what about having a heart attack? With a coverage map from the telecom company, I can learn in advance were I have coverage and where I don;t. With this nice technology, I only know that maybe I have but maybe a won't, all depends on how many subscribers the telecom has and how many of them are on the street at the moment.

Don't take me wrong, I'm not diminishing the value of the idea or technology: just (mentally) exploring the limits.

For once... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34059888)

...the huge numbers of Indians (dot, not feater) will actually have something to contribute to IT!

it's all about battery life (1)

t2t10 (1909766) | more than 3 years ago | (#34060184)

What this proposal means is basically that everybody carry around extra batteries so that people far from the tower don't have to.

But, really, now, there are more fun way of getting help with your dying battery than that. Like "Hey, lady, can I plug my high-powered USB plug into your USB socket to recharge my battery?" So much more personal!

Too bad this won't take off... (1)

wertigon (1204486) | more than 3 years ago | (#34060888)

Like seriously, what self-respecting carrier will sit by and let this idly happen? Their carrier status will dissappear overnight, they will be a commodity everyone is, and they'll lose control of the power, money and status they now receive. ... Yeah. It's not that it's a bad idea - It's that there is a massive Hydra to battle with many heads that can poison the minds of even the most idealistic phone makers...

Give ME the funding... (1)

twebb72 (903169) | more than 3 years ago | (#34070870)

Wireless protocols are nothing new. We all carry cell phones. What these guys need is to download the android sdk.
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