MANILA, Philippines — Transferring files between devices tend to be cumbersome: USB cords get tangled up inside one’s bag, while Bluetooth devices often have a hard time pairing up. Ericsson, however, believes those woes can be solved simply with the power of the human touch.
Using a technology called “capacitive coupling,” where data signals are transported using the human body, Ericsson is developing a system called Connected Me to give users an easier way of sharing files without the cumbersome middle-men equipment.
The transfer is achieved by increasing the voltage of electrical signals — called capacitance — that are already present throughout the body, allowing it to circulate around the body and be captured by another device. Since the body is mostly made up of water, it acts as a perfect vehicle for transferring such data signals.
Ericsson, however, clarified that the amount of electricity transmitted using Connected Me is lesser than the electricity the body currently holds, according to an earlier report by CNET.
The possibilities are innumerable for such a technology, Ericsson said, from sharing photos or business cards with just a handshake to opening electronic lockers by holding the lock on one hand and a smartphone with the digital code on another.
With Connected Me, Ericsson said file transfers could be achieved at speeds ranging from 6 to 10 Mbps, with the possibility of increasing it in the future. According to reports, it can go into production by next year.
“By being able to transmit and receive digital signals using the body’s natural properties, everyday activities become simpler,” said Jan Hederén, strategy manager for development unit radio access at Ericsson. “And because of mobile broadband, the fundamental enabler of this touch-based interaction, we can use this technology everywhere, in any situation.”
If such a technology goes mainstream, Hederén said it could eventually replace USB or Bluetooth as conduits for file transfer.
The Connected Me technology is just one of a number of technologies Ericsson, known to be a provider of equipment for telecommunications firms, as it prepares the world for a phenomenon called the “Internet of things.”
Ericsson predicts that by 2020, around 50 billion devices will be actively used by people around the world, making simpler interactions with everyday devices an important facet of communication in the future.