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Bionic Implants and Spectrum Clash

samzenpus posted more than 2 years ago | from the feel-the-waves dept.

Medicine 98

angry tapir writes "The battle over scarce radio spectrum that has embroiled the mobile broadband world even extends to a little-known type of wireless network that promises to reconnect the human nervous system with paralyzed limbs. At its monthly meeting next week, the U.S. Federal Communications Commission will consider whether four sets of frequencies between 413MHz and 457MHz can be used by networks of sensors implanted in patients who suffer from various forms of paralysis. One intended purpose of these MMNS (medical micropower network systems) is to transmit movement commands from a sensor on a patient's spinal cord, through a wearable MCU (master control unit), to implants that electrically stimulate nerves."

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Hmm... (4, Funny)

girlintraining (1395911) | more than 2 years ago | (#38154286)

Part 16 just got a lot more interesting. Devices must accept harmful interference, including interference which may cause undesired operation. Sound familiar? So if your prosthetic arm starts punching you repeatedly in the face until you're dead, ah well... these things happen!

Re:Hmm... (2)

Nethead (1563) | more than 2 years ago | (#38154344)

Part 15, maybe?

Part 90 (Land/Mobile) and Part 97 (Amateur) have a lot of medium to high power transmitters in that range.

Re:Hmm... (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38154592)

Part 69 governs radio controlled penile implants, vibrators and all electronic sex toys.

Re:Hmm... (1)

laing (303349) | more than 2 years ago | (#38155854)

Yep. The 70cm amateur radio spectrum sits right in the middle of that range. It's widely used and will not be surrendered without a fight. Why not instead use some of the frequency spectrum recently freed up by the analog television broadcast transmitters for this purpose?

Re:Hmm... (1)

Nethead (1563) | more than 2 years ago | (#38161904)

..will not be surrendered without a fight.

Seconday use by hams. Primary by US Government. And "Above Line-A" it's not even available for hams, or near various Air Force installations.

The ARRL might bitch a bit if 433MHz is taken away, but hams, generally being law and FCC regulation abiding folks, will follow the band plan.
 

Re:Hmm... (1)

AmiMoJo (196126) | more than 2 years ago | (#38156178)

433MHz is popular with industry. The product I am working on at the moment uses 433MHz to transmit data about leaks in water pipes. During the day it makes one transmission every five seconds, and there will be hundreds of these things deployed in a town or city.

Considering the interference problems we have in some areas I'd prefer by bionic arm to use a dedicated frequency at very low power.

Re:Hmm... (4, Interesting)

theshowmecanuck (703852) | more than 2 years ago | (#38154730)

I was thinking about the villains in old western movies who would shoot their 'six guns' at someone's feet and tell them to dance. Hackers could take this to a whole new level.

Re:Hmm... (2)

c6gunner (950153) | more than 2 years ago | (#38154814)

On the other hand, next time you get caught masturbating in public, you've got a pretty sweet excuse ...

Re:Hmm... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38155262)

On the other hand, next time you get caught masturbating in public, you've got a pretty sweet excuse ...

there won't be a 'next time'

I saw MCU and... (1)

ducomputergeek (595742) | more than 2 years ago | (#38154296)

suddenly visions of light cycles and disc wars came to mind....

Re:I saw MCU and... (1)

next_ghost (1868792) | more than 2 years ago | (#38154682)

There's no U in "Master Control Program".

AMF (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38154302)

Used to work there, some of the most brilliant people work in that building. Quirky, but brilliant.

Interferance would suck (1)

Marxist Hacker 42 (638312) | more than 2 years ago | (#38154312)

I hope they're using a packet based protocol with massive error correction.

Re:Interferance would suck (4, Informative)

jd (1658) | more than 2 years ago | (#38154506)

Reed-Solomon can correct bit errors, Turbo Codes can correct block errors, and if you also include a cryptographic hash of the packet you can determine if the corrections fixed the data or it is still corrupt. Depending on the bandwidth consumed by the actual data, you might be able to throw in a lot of error correction bits and even have the error correction checksummed and error-corrected.

Re:Interferance would suck (1)

fatboy (6851) | more than 2 years ago | (#38154536)

I see your "Reed-Solomon" and "Turbo Codes" and raise you with "Front-end Overload". :)

Re:Interferance would suck (1)

jd (1658) | more than 2 years ago | (#38154582)

Yeah. Random clicks (reed-solomon) or bursty noise (turbo codes) are solvable provided they don't swamp the error correction bits. Front-end overload can't be solved by this solution at all. (See my alternative of running fibre.) I gracefully concede this hand, and pay up the 1024 virtual beers.

Re:Interferance would suck (3, Funny)

Samantha Wright (1324923) | more than 2 years ago | (#38154678)

Why not go the whole way and encrypt the whole signal? Then you'd have to handshake with your hands every morning.

Re:Interferance would suck (1)

nzac (1822298) | more than 2 years ago | (#38155712)

Not that it would effect the GP solution (which is overkill at that range) but encryption would the problem more difficult and certainly does not solve it. You now need to communicate uniformly distributed data perfectly which is much more difficult.

To stop other people intentionally interfering with your device is where encryption/cryptography would be useful.

Re:Interferance would suck (1)

nzac (1822298) | more than 2 years ago | (#38155766)

You sound like you learned that in Masters or Summer research but have never used them, apologies if not.

Not that my education is any higher but at that range and considering other power requirements increasing transmission power would be the easiest way as transmission failure could be almost as bad as mis - communication. At that range you can ramp up the power for whatever band-with you need i guess though.

For some implants you would also want to favor the MSB as errors on the smaller ones may be ok.

Chances are most likely form of interference would be other people implants (at say a support group) so you would want maximize the number of channels as no amount of ECC can account for two people next to each other on the same channel.

Re:Interferance would suck (1)

jd (1658) | more than 2 years ago | (#38156926)

Paul Shannon showed increasing power does bugger all for you in the end. I learned it whilst developing military communications systems.

Re:Interferance would suck (1)

nzac (1822298) | more than 2 years ago | (#38160200)

learned it whilst developing military communications systems.

There are so many ways that could be less impressive than it sounds if you don't deny my first line. Yes i did judge you on the existence and contents of your Journal.

Paul Shannon showed increasing power does bugger all for you in the end.

He showed its horribly inefficient but there a 1.5 m range these don't suffer too much from inverse square. He also showed that if you don't have more power than the interference you are fucked.

Re:Interferance would suck (1)

Grieviant (1598761) | more than 2 years ago | (#38155932)

So Reed-Solomon is a random error correcting code and turbo codes are burst error correcting codes? That's a very misleading claim. In the past RS was often used to be used as the outer of two concatenated codes for its burst error correction capability.

Cranking up the redundancy or using a huge interleaver may be fine when a couple seconds of latency isn't a big problem (deep space communications, compact discs, etc.) but there's simply no good way to correct long bursts or errors in latency constrained applications such as this would be.

Re:Interferance would suck (1)

jd (1658) | more than 2 years ago | (#38156954)

A lot of error-correcting codes can be parallelized. Not brilliantly, but certainly adequately. You've also got to bear in mind that if you're going with a bionic implant (which isn't a cheap thing, and where space and weight constraints are often high) you're probably going to be going with ASICs with heavy-duty digital signal processing for almost everything. In fact, highly special-purpose parts should be everything. There shouldn't be any general-purpose computing devices, no software and even analogue components should be limited to just those that can't be put into mixed-mode silicon. When you've got a purely hardware-driven computing device, speed isn't going to be a limiting factor.

Re:Interferance would suck (1)

Grieviant (1598761) | more than 2 years ago | (#38162744)

That has nothing to do with your original claim regarding RS codes and turbo codes, not does it address the main problem with your implication that bursts of errors are easily correctable. They aren't when the burst length is on the same order as the tolerable amount of latency, and all the processing power in the world does nothing to change that.

Re:Interferance would suck (1)

jd (1658) | more than 2 years ago | (#38170730)

Already answered that elsewhere in this block of replies. If you're going to harangue, at least read what you're haranguing about.

Re:Interferance would suck (1)

Grieviant (1598761) | more than 2 years ago | (#38172504)

Harangue? Lol, get a grip. You didn't answer anything. I was being polite, but I could tell from the first post that you're a person who blurts out every loosely grasped buzzword they've heard in order to come across as knowledgeable.

Re:Interferance would suck (1)

jd (1658) | more than 2 years ago | (#38173284)

You're not capable of politeness. Hell, I'm not sure what you ARE capable of. I can tell you now I'd have failed you in any class I taught for selectively picking up one post rather than the context of my posts. You "could tell"? Indeed? I'm impressed that you could "tell" from a single snippet of a minute fraction of a conversation not only the entire content of that discussion but the capabilities of everyone within it. So very impressed. Perhaps you could tell me my IQ, height and favourite tea whilst you're at it.

Learn to read, it's not a skill that's beyond you. Until you do, I won't waste my time on the petty affairs of some third-rate wannabe.

Re:Interferance would suck (1)

thatbloke83 (1529851) | more than 2 years ago | (#38156938)

But then who will error correct and checksum the error correction and checksum of the error correction and checksum of the original data?

Re:Interferance would suck (1)

jd (1658) | more than 2 years ago | (#38170876)

The probability of an error being such that the error correction will adjust the data and the cryptographic hash in ways such that the hash matches the data is negligible. (A trivial checksum like CRC32 would likely work just fine most of the time, but with medical implants you want to reduce the odds of mangled data as far as humanly possible. One in a million is still far too frequent. Whirlpool or one of the SHA3 candidates would seem better.)

So long as data is oversampled and then filtered as needed at the other end, you can afford to lose some packets, so mangled error correction isn't so important provided (and this is a big problem) the packet loss is within tolerable bounds. Due to the excessive overuse of the band, you can't make such a guarantee.

However, I go back to what I've said elsewhere - you are MUCH better off eliminating the biggest source of noise and going with optic fibre or some analogue thereof. A single fibre can carry the signals from billions of (real or synthetic) nerves if you go with dense mode multiplexing, which means it becomes theoretically possible to replace the entire spinal column if you had to. You'd obviously need a bunch of switches that could connect up the biological nerves to this synthetic nervous system and convert between the two data formats, but existing bionic implants already interface with biological nerves so this is not an impossibility.

Re:Interferance would suck (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38154684)

Doesn't matter if you're near a PAVE PAWS radar station, which uses this frequency band. They transmit up to 580kW. And they require very quiet listening conditions. Just ask the ham radio operators near Cape Cod Air Station or Beale AFB in California that have had to either lower their output power or shut down entirely.

Frequency hopping (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38154338)

What prevents a multi-frequency technology like spread spectrum from reliably taking advantage of this, and a wider range of other frequencies?

Re:Frequency hopping (1)

colsandurz45 (1314477) | more than 2 years ago | (#38154460)

Receiver complexity and cost.

Re:Frequency hopping (1)

wagnerrp (1305589) | more than 2 years ago | (#38155914)

Complexity and cost on pieces of hardware that are already well into the tens of thousands of dollars range?

Re:Frequency hopping (1)

zwarte piet (1023413) | more than 2 years ago | (#38164550)

Open source anyone?

modX up (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38154424)

on a8 endeavour Creek, abysmal

I want a hard wire... (4, Interesting)

BenJCarter (902199) | more than 2 years ago | (#38154428)

The fact that wireless signals might move the body randomly (or worse), seems dangerous. What about conductive tattoos instead?

Re:I want a hard wire... (4, Interesting)

jd (1658) | more than 2 years ago | (#38154568)

Optic fibre seems the way to go. Carries the maximum amount of data and is the least prone to interference. It is also already used by some sea sponges instead of regular nerves, so it is a known biological solution. You can convert the optics into electrical impulses in the bionic implant and vice versa. If you went this route, then future iterations could involve unthreading dead nerves from the spinal cord and running the fibre down it. Increased protection from damage and increased compatibility with how the body works.

Re:I want a hard wire... (1)

BenJCarter (902199) | more than 2 years ago | (#38154642)

Fiber cable would also provide WAY more bandwidth. That being said, it would be far more invasive to install than a thin tattoo line. If it was me, I'd rather get the tat provided it functioned adequately.

Re:I want a hard wire... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38154930)

Fiber cable would also provide WAY more bandwidth.

HiRes VoD for my left leg (one would think it should have learnt kung-fu by now, dammit) and a tango for my right one (not yet strong enough to support me when bending my partner).

Re:I want a hard wire... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38155976)

Invasive? Have you SEEN the piercings people get?

Re:I want a hard wire... (1)

jd (1658) | more than 2 years ago | (#38171290)

Bandwidth is actually a big reason for this line of thinking for me. An actual limb has an enormous number of nerve endings to senses, muscles, etc. One of the problems with current handling of amputees is that most of the nerves body-side are allowed to drift, creating illusory ("phantom") sensations. Optics can certainly carry the density of information needed to supply every residual nerve with valid input. Artificial limbs can't generate that much data now, so you'd lock most of the values to ground, but because the information generated and handled has 100% coverage of what the body (and therefore brain) is expecting, you can upgrade the technology in the limb freely without ever having to muck around with the interface. The interface already covers any upgrade you could ever make. Not just for the foreseeable future, but ever.

The second factor, though, is that you can run fibre as far as you like. A severe injury that requires bionic implants in the first place has a decent chance of causing nerve damage at points other than at the place requiring the implant. Even complete death of every nerve running from that part of the body would not be impossible to work around, since it's possible to run fibre from the impant through the body, up the spinal cord and demultiplex only at the brain itself. Another poster mentioned the potential problem of stress and wear/tear on the fibre, which may limit just how much you could do on this. The spine is especially going to be a problem as you don't want to disconnect the implant every time you twist or bend your back. However, I see no obvious reason why this should be unsolvable versus being merely unsolved.

Re:I want a hard wire... (1)

BenJCarter (902199) | more than 2 years ago | (#38179598)

Nerves communicate via electrons. Light would have to be tranceived into electrons at each end...

Re:I want a hard wire... (1)

jd (1658) | more than 2 years ago | (#38180530)

Yes. The multiplexer would need to be a chip that took analogue inputs (which is fine, mixed signals is old tech), run them through ADCs and emit via a semiconductor laser. You'd need a similar device that did the reverse. But because the multiplexer/demultiplexer are unidirectional and some nerves are bidirectional (not a vast number), you would need to make sure that only one circuit was active at a time. Which is actually good - you can then put them onto the same die because there's no possibility of an inactive circuit interfering with an active one.

It's not a particularly big deal, especially as the suggested alternative is to multiplex over RF. You've still got the multiplexer/demultiplexer, the digitization, etc, but you've now got tuned circuits and an aerial as well. A semiconductor laser is compact and embedding it within the die itself is a non-issue these days. Something like that could easily be stuffed into a vertebra for spinal injuries or onto the fused end of a bone for simpler amputations.

Re:I want a hard wire... (1)

skids (119237) | more than 2 years ago | (#38155108)

Not sure bandwidth is a limitation in this application. We're talking a few analogue values with a relatively low time resolution (based on normal human reflex times.).

That said, I don't even want RF in my car (other than the door locks). Forget my body, so bring on the fiber. Or for that matter, just throw that light straight through the tissue without a waveguide. At least that way as long as I'm clothed there won't be much interference.

Re:I want a hard wire... (1)

jd (1658) | more than 2 years ago | (#38156912)

I have no idea how many nerves run down the spinal column, but I think it's safe to say that you could replace most/all of the parts of the nerve in the spine with a single optic fibre in dense multiplexing mode, with some variant of packet switches to identify if a given packet is supposed to be for a given nerve ending and then convert the payload into the correct voltage. The bandwidth would therefore allow you to have as complex a virtual nervous system as you like. That would be the only benefit of having such bandwidth available* - run one replacement for many many damaged nerves.

*Ok, I'll concede there is a second potential benefit. If you replaced all the neural interconnects (which are electrical and chemical) with optic fibre as well, you eliminate virtually all of the latency in the brain due to communications delays. I could easily see the brain becoming an order of magnitude faster -- BUT you'd have to also genetically modify the brain in the process because new interconnects grow all the time and a speed mismatch would be severely disruptive if not fatal.

Re:I want a hard wire... (1)

Neil Boekend (1854906) | more than 2 years ago | (#38156574)

Dunno about the durabilty of optical. The frequent twisting and flexing of optical might cause it to fail soon. I haven't handled high quality fiber so that may be no problem.
Biology builds things in a completely different way. The sea sponges build the fiber up atom by atom. This gives great flexibility in "design". The sea sponge may be able to repair it's optical fibers when damaged. We puny humans are currently not able to repair minor damages on an optical fiber without cutting the fiber out first.

Re:I want a hard wire... (1)

jd (1658) | more than 2 years ago | (#38171178)

Yes, that is a potential problem. I don't know the answer to that and it may well be that the resilience of current optic fibre technology to normal wear and tear is a fatal flaw in this approach. That's an excellent observation (sadly not a common property of Slashdot comments these days) and worth looking into. Not for any practical purpose, as I doubt I'm likely to get rich off what amounts to idle speculation, but purely out of fascination over what sorts of solutions are being overlooked.

Re:I want a hard wire... (1)

cortex (168860) | more than 2 years ago | (#38159386)

Any wired solution, electrical or optical, must cross the skin therefore presenting a big infection risk. The whole idea behind using wireless devices in neural prostheses is to remove this risk of infection.

Re:I want a hard wire... (1)

zwarte piet (1023413) | more than 2 years ago | (#38164552)

Why fibers? Skin is translucent enough.

Re:I want a hard wire... (1)

jd (1658) | more than 2 years ago | (#38171074)

Direct interfacing means that you can run two fibres that can carry every signal from every synthetic nerve ending in a bionic hand or leg, demultiplexing somewhere in the body. (So this will still work if someone loses a leg and has spinal damage that breaks the nerves before they reach the point where the limb is lost. Demultiplexing in the spine would require a clever design to keep within space constraints but there are no technical constraints at this point. Mixed-mode silicon is commonplace, ADCs and DACs go well over the speed needed and semiconductor lasers are almost child's play.) In other words, you've sufficient bandwidth to connect up every nerve that relates to a lost limb and do something useful with it.

Indirect interfacing (blasting signals at hundreds of gigabits per second through the skin) might be viable - I don't know the error rate you'd get if you tried. If the error rate is low enough, then you could do that to eliminate the infection risk entirely. Obviously, if you could do this (have fibre each side of the skin and then relay across the airgap/skingap using just light) then that would be the best solution of all.

Because you're talking just two fibres, though, rather than one wire per synthetic nerve/muscle, the amount of gap needed is extremely small. It's not quite at the sweat pore level, but it's infinitely closer to that than a typical clunky sci-fi depiction of an interconnect. Yes, even that has a risk of infection, but it may well be manageable if the indirect interface proved too difficult.

why wifi what happens when more then 1 person (1)

Joe_Dragon (2206452) | more than 2 years ago | (#38154432)

why wifi what happens when more then one person is in the same area with the implants.

Disabled passengers... (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38154442)

.. Please turn off your arms and legs during takeoff.

Re:Disabled passengers... (1)

crow5599 (994334) | more than 2 years ago | (#38155086)

Epic comment. I approve.

Re:Disabled passengers... (1)

skids (119237) | more than 2 years ago | (#38155328)

There are times when the Slashdot limit of 5 is not sufficient, yes.

Shouldn't use wireless for this (1)

Hentes (2461350) | more than 2 years ago | (#38154454)

This is one of the cases where you need reliability.

Re:Shouldn't use wireless for this (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38154736)

you also don't want to run wires through the protective membranes around the spinal cord.

hijack = remote control (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38154478)

If I hijack the connection could I remotely control them?

- Stepho

Implant Jacking (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38154484)

I've not been huge fan of Wifi, but wow does this open a new can worms if artifical limbs get into the mix

I hope they put some seriously good protection for patients who get wifi type artifical limbs and other associated implants using WIFI.

Some person with not much for morals could think it be fun hack someone's implants take them for ride or do pranks.

Illegal Jammers (5, Funny)

mj1856 (589031) | more than 2 years ago | (#38154498)

would bring them to their knees....

Legal Jammers (interference) (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38154648)

Ham radio operators can legally transmit 1500W on the frequeny range from 420MHz to 450 MHz in the US.

Also, you better not try this near a PAVE PAWS radar station. They output up to 580kW in the same frequency band.

Re:Legal Jammers (interference) (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38154870)

It wouldn't even need to be that much. Someone could be walking through the parking lot next to my car at the grocery store and I key up my mobile which outputs 50 watts. That in itself could overload the front end on the receiver. It would stop working.

Prosthetics designers need a lesson from the body (4, Interesting)

erroneus (253617) | more than 2 years ago | (#38154518)

From the sound of it, prosthetic designers and engineers are planning devices that operate on single frequencies.

The animal brains and nervous systems operate quite a bit differently. The signals do not often rely in a single path or a single signal to make things happen. To transmit a true, low-power signal, multiple paths and multiple signal details are transmitted where it is the collection of these signals which spell out the truth. If there are minor glitches, interferences or inhibitions along the way, the general signal still gets through most of the time.

If they are thinking of making a brain to prosthetic control signalling system based on wireless communications, it would be a huge mistake not to use multiple signals and frequencies to make things happen as this is the way the brain and the nervous system already does things.

I find this to be the mistake they are likely to make as they made the same mistake with artificial blood circulation system which are intended to keep the body alive during heart surgeries. Initially, they just hooked up a streaming pump and wondered why the body wasn't working or surviving under that condition. Well, turns out that the body NEEDS the pumping and gushing style of blood circulation because as the blood is pushed, it still needs those moments of pause to absorb and distribute oxygen and other stuff like that.

I expect the mistake to be made. Now let's sit back and wait for it to come true.

Re:Prosthetics designers need a lesson from the bo (2)

Samantha Wright (1324923) | more than 2 years ago | (#38154644)

Actually, no [slashdot.org] to that last one. But the rest about redundancy is spot-on.

Re:Prosthetics designers need a lesson from the bo (1)

Grishnakh (216268) | more than 2 years ago | (#38155166)

Initially, they just hooked up a streaming pump and wondered why the body wasn't working or surviving under that condition. Well, turns out that the body NEEDS the pumping and gushing style of blood circulation because as the blood is pushed, it still needs those moments of pause to absorb and distribute oxygen and other stuff like that.

No, it doesn't. By the time the blood gets to your capillaries, there's little pulse left. They're working on artificial hearts right now that'll leave patients with no pulse at all:

http://www.mnn.com/health/fitness-well-being/stories/new-artificial-heart-keeps-you-alive-without-a-pulse [mnn.com]

Re:Prosthetics designers need a lesson from the bo (1)

cliffjumper222 (229876) | more than 2 years ago | (#38155868)

One clarification - the heart may need those pulses, but the rest of the body does not seem to need them. From NPR June 13th 2011, "Heart With No Beat Offers Hope Of New Lease On Life": "The pulsatility of the flow is essential for the heart, because it can only get nourishment in between heartbeats," Cohn says. "If you remove that from the system, none of the other organs seem to care much."
http://www.npr.org/2011/06/13/137029208/heart-with-no-beat-offers-hope-of-new-lease-on-life

The universe of Ghost in the Shell (and Surrogate) (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38154528)

...probably isn't that far away from happening, even if you argue that brain signals are too complex to analyze, the human body too complicated to replicate. When that future comes, you can bet there will be a non-negligible population of (possibly remote) prosthetic body users, and the required bands of frequencies (even taking into account such development as cognitive radio) will definitely be more than just four. Seeing how the wireless space is crowded now, how do we overcome this?

Re:The universe of Ghost in the Shell (and Surroga (1)

Samantha Wright (1324923) | more than 2 years ago | (#38154664)

It's simple: we take every journalist who ever misunderstood quantum entanglement and assumed that it was a viable method of information-passing, and then make them interact at a subatomic level so that they adopt opposite spins (one liberal, the other conservative.) To pass information, we simply adjust the spin on one of the journalists, and due to misunderstanding quantum entanglement, his or her partner will automatically adopt the opposite spin.

Then we do this several billion times per second.

Re:The universe of Ghost in the Shell (and Surroga (1)

rwa2 (4391) | more than 2 years ago | (#38236610)

Don't forget that they can only be used once and then have to be discarded! Oh, if only that were true of politicians too!

Re:The universe of Ghost in the Shell (and Surroga (1)

Samantha Wright (1324923) | more than 2 years ago | (#38238548)

Unfortunately the only flaw with such a system is that, unlike most forms of communication based on misunderstood quantum entanglement, your information gets leaked to the public before it arrives.

This is a solved problem (1)

sco08y (615665) | more than 2 years ago | (#38154610)

Just so you know, some folks who are far more technologically advanced than us have worked out a solution to this problem. That's why the Visitors have settled on the standard anal implant interface.

Someone call Adam Jensen (1)

MrEricSir (398214) | more than 2 years ago | (#38154612)

The augs are already here!

ARRL (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38154636)

Falls right in the middle of the ham bands....

There has to be a better answer (4, Interesting)

Genda (560240) | more than 2 years ago | (#38154654)

This is not a problem. You take a body stocking made of lycra (this serves both as a scaffolding for signal transmission and reception and with small actuators it could also serve to enhance circulation, exercise muscle groups and protect the wearer from minor scrapes and scratches.) On the skin side of the suit, you place a mesh of conductive fibers and control nodes all over the entire body creating a large network of antennas for transmitting and receiving signals anywhere on the body. The outside of the body suit has a tight mesh attached to a device that converts ambient RF energy into useable electricity. It also serves as a highly effective barrier between signals inside and outside of the suit. By ensuring that the signals inside the suit are at least a couple orders of magnitude larger than the signals from outside the suit, the problem of unwanted control of the users limbs is rendered moot.

One other idea might be to make the suit opaque and use an optical network with light fibers and choose IR frequencies that pass readily through human flesh to the neural interfaces. This produces no external signals if the suit is in fact optically opaque, and the isolation from the external environment would be absolute (save the flash from something like a thermonuclear device and then the crosstalk with the bionics is probably the least of one's concerns :-)

Is there in truth no beauty? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38154920)

You take a body stocking made of lycra (this serves both as a scaffolding for signal transmission and reception and with small actuators it could also serve to enhance circulation, exercise muscle groups and protect the wearer from minor scrapes and scratches.) On the skin side of the suit, you place a mesh of conductive fibers and control nodes all over the entire body creating a large network of antennas for transmitting and receiving signals anywhere on the body.

But it won't help you deal with the alien navigator if you're blind, no matter now good a telepath you are. Just go ahead and hand the assignment over to Spock.

Re:There has to be a better answer (1)

skids (119237) | more than 2 years ago | (#38155336)

Pantyhose. Is there anything it isn't good for?

Re:There has to be a better answer (1)

zippthorne (748122) | more than 2 years ago | (#38155412)

..

Aren't you just repeating the backstory to the TV show, "M.A.N.T.I.S"?

Re:There has to be a better answer (1)

subreality (157447) | more than 2 years ago | (#38155624)

Unfortunately that means you have to wear a spandex bodysuit all the time. That's not going to be desirable to someone who just wants to wear shorts and go for a walk in the park without looking weird.

To just isolate spectrum you can just run an optical fiber down their leg. Maybe have a little velcro band to strap it down in one or two places so it won't flop.

But wireless is really the way to go if you can get a small band of reserved low power spectrum.

Re:There has to be a better answer (1)

mangu (126918) | more than 2 years ago | (#38157208)

Unfortunately that means you have to wear a spandex bodysuit all the time. That's not going to be desirable to someone who just wants to wear shorts and go for a walk in the park without looking weird.

If only there existed a way to make skin-colored spandex...

Re:There has to be a better answer (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38159832)

Makes a walk thru Walmart a whole new experience...

Why So Scarce? (1)

Doc Ruby (173196) | more than 2 years ago | (#38154756)

The age of mobile phones and satellites has made astounding improvements in transmitting and receiving RF energy. Why is the spectrum so limited? Why can't we squeeze thousands of times more sub bands inside any signaling band? Why shouldn't a 1MHz wide band hold as many channels now as an entire GHz used to hold when we weren't as good at this?

Re:Why So Scarce? (2)

doshell (757915) | more than 2 years ago | (#38155002)

The Shannon-Hartley Theorem [wikipedia.org] places a fundamental limit on the data rate you can squeeze into a given bandwidth (for a given noise level). That said, I believe current technology is nowhere near this limit.

Re:Why So Scarce? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38155266)

Oh yeah, it's approaching the limit. The ~100mbps in 20mhz that LTE gets amounts to 5 bits per second per hz, and the theoretical limit is about 6 bits per second per hz. The future increases in overall channel capacity for cellular use amount to ways to reuse channels more tightly -- beamforming for instance uses dual transmitters nearby to each other, it can transmit so the two signals constructively interfere in the preferred direction, while cancelling each other out in other directions. Current cell sites are either (rarely) omnidirectional, or have 60, 90, or 120 degree sectorization (i.e. 3, 4, or 6 sets of antennas pointing various directions.) This beamforming seems like a nice electronic trick to have the effect of very tight sectorization without needing dozens of sets of antennas.

        That said, a lot of equipment does not run anywhere near the Shannon limit, it uses very antiquated (spectrum-inefficient) communications technology and just expects to be given a fat slice of spectrum.

          It sounds like the choice of spectrum they want to use is spectacularly poor. One good source for some spectrum would be the military. They are sitting on 225-400mhz, and from what I've heard a pretty large fraction of that spectrum is just idle. To throw them a bone, certainly the military could use the same frequencies for their military gundam suits as for the civilian gear.

Re:Why So Scarce? (1)

Ol Olsoc (1175323) | more than 2 years ago | (#38155468)

In principle, there are methods, like phase angle modulation, that by adding more and more angles of modulation, can accomplish infinite bandwidth. Unfortunately, the needed power levels approach infinite very quickly.

But your question is not unusual, In this digital age, very few people outside RF engineers understand that there is only so much spectrum available. Compounding th eproblem, much of it is not useable for digital communications. The HF spectrum, for several years now looked upon by digital wonks as a great place to do Broadband over power line (BPL), turns out to be pretty awful for the purpose. The signals interfere with other services, and can be disrupted extremely easily. The digital folks don't understand RF propagation. There are times that a very low HF signal can propagate around the world. And it varies by frequency.

There are propagation effects that can happen even at VHF and low UHF frequencies. In general, when you reach VHF the higher the frequency, the less likely propagation effects will happen. the 400 mHz region is about the lowest frequencies that don't regularly have these effects, and are mostly line of site

This is why most digital comms are at UHF and above. You want the signal relatively contained so that many people can use the frequencies, but there are so many people trying to use them, that we are approaching saturation no matter what we try to do. Ever hear those snippets of other people's conversations while you're talking? You're reaching the limits

The answer is to start going back toward hard lines, optical lines aren't going to have the bandwidth problems, and digital wireless should not be allowed unless there is no other option.

Directional Phased Arrays? (1)

Doc Ruby (173196) | more than 2 years ago | (#38154762)

Whatever happened to using a phased array to either/both direct a beam to a point, or to detect the point from which an omnidirectional transmission was received? Shouldn't these little grids be cheap and common by now? Then we wouldn't have to register every frequency to a licensed operator, but instead any signal would be a unique station based on where it came from and/or where it was sent.

You insensitive clod! (1)

PPH (736903) | more than 2 years ago | (#38154782)

Your garage door opener is using the same channel as my penile implant. Quit hitting the 'down' button when I'm getting it on with the wife.

Re:You insensitive clod! (1)

beaviz (314065) | more than 2 years ago | (#38155350)

Your garage door opener is using the same channel as my penile implant. Quit hitting the 'down' button when I'm getting it on with your wife.

Fixed!

Re:You insensitive cloud! (1)

rwa2 (4391) | more than 2 years ago | (#38236592)

Your wife wants it hooked up to an oscillating control signal... maybe your bittorrent up/down monitor?

huh huh... teledildonics.

Beats ventriloquism hands down (1)

KaiLoi (711695) | more than 2 years ago | (#38154812)

This sounds like a perfect recipe for meat puppets and remote crime!

Serious question... (1)

Dogbertius (1333565) | more than 2 years ago | (#38154878)

Slightly off-topic, but as this technology becomes more practical in terms of day-to-day use (ie: it actually helps a physically disabled person significantly, and is well beyond the proof-of-concept and various stages of cost analysis and FCC regulations), would it be possible that people could find these solutions being awarded in court cases?

I've noted a number of car accidents in North America over the years as they pop up in small-time newspapers, and a few months later the defendant is lucky to get $200,000 in compensation for a drunk driver killing the victim's kid and putting the victim in a wheelchair or worse for life. But wait, $200k, isn't that a lot? Not when your friend who just died was a chemical engineer pulling in almost the same per year for his family, who now has no income.

What if this technology can repair the physical damage to one's own body, but it costs, say $1,500,000. Is it possible for the judge to say "repair the damage you did". For loss of life, this is a very messy issue that pulls in ethics, epistemological debates, legal debates, limitations of liability, etc. But let's just consider the case of a drunk driver who can't claim the "alcoholism made me do it" defense. Would it be right, ethical, legal, or even possible to garnish their wages until they die of old age or kill themselves (and have first dibs at life insurance) so they can repair the damage done from one person being too cheap to call a cab when plastered? I think it would be very fitting.

"The defendant claims that the stress and guilt of this incident will affect him for the rest of his/her life". Well, here's a way to be sure of it while letting them retain their personal freedom to go about their day without being behind bars. Even better if the drunk is a sociopath or just selfish and reckless.

This is my leg... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38154902)

... I call it "linksys"

I'm a terrible person. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38154916)

I hope I'm not the only person who imagined this technology being used in a Dutch Rudder scenario.

One can pray (1)

PopeRatzo (965947) | more than 2 years ago | (#38154954)

Let's hope that this slice of the spectrum stays out of the hands of private industry, or at least is very heavily regulated.

I can just see a telecom sending a disabled vet a notice saying that he has exceeded his data cap for his wireless network and will now be charged $20 per each additional MB.
Plus, his bandwidth will be cut in half.

And he can only purchase peripherals (like fingers) from his wireless provider, so they can "guarantee a uniformly excellent end-user experience".

It is for future applications like this that we really need to establish very seriously enforced Net Neutrality right away.

Re:One can pray (1)

mangu (126918) | more than 2 years ago | (#38157226)

I can just see a telecom sending a disabled vet a notice saying that he has exceeded his data cap for his wireless network and will now be charged $20 per each additional MB.

If it gets heavily regulated he could be arrested for masturbating himself, because if he pays for sex it's prostitution.

OK, *who* hacked my arm? (1)

gestalt_n_pepper (991155) | more than 2 years ago | (#38155048)

I need a hand here. No, wait....

Bionic implants (1)

rossdee (243626) | more than 2 years ago | (#38155288)

Is Lee Majors still alive?

gives Pwned a whole new meaning (0)

Khashishi (775369) | more than 2 years ago | (#38155606)

I, for one, welcome our new botnet overlords.

I haven't done! Someone hacked into me! (1)

kubusja (581677) | more than 2 years ago | (#38156008)

Wireless? Sounds really 'secure' .... 'I did not kill him! At some moment my limbs started to moving by themselves... someone must've hacked into me!'

Canned Air (1)

neurosine (549673) | more than 2 years ago | (#38156822)

This is another example of some organization selling off what belongs to everybody. It would be a different proposition if we were to decide who would get this bandwidth, at no charge. I posit that this would resolve a great many issues.
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