20 December 2007

Yes, But Will It Transmit My Thoughts at Cell Phone Frequency?

Clever scientists at UC Berkeley have assembled the smallest radio ever--
— a single carbon nanotube one ten-thousandth the diameter of a human hair that requires only a battery and earphones to tune in to your favorite station....The nanoradio, which is currently configured as a receiver but could also work as a transmitter, is 100 billion times smaller than the first commercial radios, and could be used in any number of applications — from cell phones to microscopic devices that sense the environment and relay information via radio signals, Zettl says.

...In the nanoradio, a single carbon nanotube works as an all-in-one antenna, tuner, amplifier, and demodulator for both AM and FM. These are separate components in a standard radio. A demodulator removes the AM or FM carrier frequency, which is in the kiloHertz and megaHertz range respectively, to retrieve the lower frequency broadcast information.

The nanoradio detects radio signals in a radically new way — it vibrates thousands to millions of times per second in tune with the radio wave. This makes it a true nanoelectromechanical device, dubbed NEMS, that integrates the mechanical and electrical properties of nanoscale materials....Although it might seem that the vibrating nanotube yields a "one station" radio, the tension on the nanotube also influences its natural vibration frequency, just as the tension on a guitar string fine tunes its pitch. As a result, the physicists can tune in a desired frequency or station by "pulling" on the free tip of the nanotube with a positively charged electrode. This electrode also turns the nanotube into an amplifier. The voltage is high enough to pull electrons off the tip of the nanotube and, because the nanotube is simultaneously vibrating, the electron current from the tip is an amplified version of the incoming radio signal.
Impact Lab

Now, combining a receiver/transmitter nano-tube radio with a new Japanese device that allows you to speak from your ear--not your mouth!--it is obvious that an "invisible" two way radio could be implanted inside a person's ear.
A Japanese company Tuesday unveiled a new device that will allow people "speak" through their ear so they can use their mobile telephones in noisy places.

The device -- named "e-Mimi-kun" (good ear boy) -- doubles as an earphone and a microphone by detecting air vibrations inside the ear, developer NS-ELEX Co. said.

The earpiece and an accompanying device can be connected to a mobile phone, or wirelessly to a Bluetooth handset

A team of operatives with such devices could operate in perfect synchrony, but without revealing any obvious means of communication. Just be careful what your ear is telling the rest of the world.

Of course, the "input" to the transmitter could be placed anywhere--including inside nerves controlling speech...or other nerve pathways. Nano-probes inside nerves that are made of non-bioreactive materials, could be designed to contain their own nano-electronic devices. These devices could translate the code of efferent nerves into code that can be transmitted to remote receiving devices. These remote receiving devices could theoretically re-code the "message" into afferent nerve code. Given the rapid progress in transistor design using silicon nanowires (and nanowires/nanotubes of other materials), the probe itself could be a transceiver and codec device.

This technology could easily go beyond mere "quasi-telepathy" to a type of remote sensing or remote acting by one human to/from another. But far more likely is the use of such technology for remote sensing/controlling of a remote robot or grobyC. Stay tuned.

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“During times of universal deceit, telling the truth becomes a revolutionary act” _George Orwell

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