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Purdue researcher: ‘Body internet’ invention could revolutionize tech devices

I-Team 8: Purdue researchers create “body internet”

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. (WISH) — Researchers at Purdue University have invented what they call “body internet.”

It’s something that could revolutionize how all of us interact with technology.

The magic of this technology happens in small computer chips. The prototype is attached to the back of a phone. It uses the human body as a conductor and allows the transport of information simply by touch.

This technology essentially creates a bubble around the body that carries information to any device that’s touched.

For an example the inventor, Shreyas Sen, streamed music from his phone to a speaker simply by touching a wire.

“My dream was to invent a new technology and impact a billion lives,” said Sen, who believes he’s done just that with this technology.

He started down the path to creating it when he realized traditional Bluetooth technology takes a lot of power and battery life to operate. His technology, WI-R, takes a fraction of the energy to get the same results. “Anywhere from 100 times, or more, energy-efficient compared to Wi-Fi and Bluetooth,” Sen said.

That will have a major impact on battery life. “The wearables can become almost charging free for the low-speed devices and charged once and a while, much more infrequently, for high-speed devices.”

Outside of connecting all devices — a smart watch, headphones, etc. — this technology has the potential to allow people to unlock doors coded for a personal signal, paying for things with a simple touch, or exchanging data files with someone else just by shaking their hand.

With the technology invented, Sen’s focus is now on creating devices that use it. “We should expect to see something coming out in 2025 and 2026. Today, there are 5 billion Bluetooth devices that get sold every year. This technology should augment, or replace, almost all of those. So, any device that touches your body,” Sen said.

Right now, this technology is being used in devices outside of the body, but, in the future, it has the possibility of being in a chip inside the brain.