Phi: a wireless re-routing card that puts you in control of the airwaves
For all the talk of convergence in mobile devices, there’s relatively little chatter about the coming together of wireless signals themselves. In other words, why should we have a separate device to interact with each type of wireless signal? And so, with that intriguing question, begins the pitch for a new device call Phi. It’s a $750 antennae-laden PCIe card that slots into a desktop and gathers up wireless signals that are flying around the home — so long as they have a frequency below 4GHz and don’t involve bank-busting neutrinos. The card then allows custom apps to re-direct those transmissions as you like: potentially acting as a “base station” so you can make free calls from your cell phone, or receiving over-the-air HD transmissions which you can play on your tablet, or doing whatever else hobbyists and devs can cook up. Phi is still version 0.1 and Linux-only while the startup behind it — Per Vices — looks for a Kinect-style blossoming of third-party interest, but with nothing less than a deity-like command over the domestic ether on offer, how could it ever fail?
Netgear’s R6300 router is first to use Broadcom 802.11ac chipset, will ship next month for $200
That 802.11n router not keeping up with the gigabit pipe to your homestead? Netgear’s latest may just give you a much-anticipated boost. The R6300 Dual-Band Gigabit WiFi Router is the first to utilize Broadcom’s 5G WiFi IEEE 802.11ac chips, making it roughly three times faster than aging 802.11n. This means the R6300 could be an excellent fit for folks lucky enough to take part in Google’s Kansas City fiber experiment, assuming of course that they that also adopt yet-to-be-announced 802.11ac-compatible gadgets. For its part, the Netgear base ships with the usual suite of features, including Netgear Genie for configuring the network from a computer or smartphone, MyMedia with DLNA support, AirPrint (there’s two USB ports built-in) and pre-configured wireless security, keeping your hotspot off the neighbors’ radar right out of the box. The Netgear R6300 will ship next month, letting you future-proof your home for a mere $199.99.
Researchers use inkjet acumen to create wireless explosive sensor from paper
Meet Krishna Naishadham and Xiaojuan (Judy) Song. They’re researchers at the Georgia Institute of Technology, and those little devices they’re holding may one day save you from an explosive device. This petite prototype is actually a paper-like wireless sensor that was printed using basic inkjet technology, developed by professor Manos Tentzeris. Its integrated lightweight antenna allows the sensor to link up with communication devices, while its functionalized carbon nanotubes enable it to pick up on even the slightest traces of ammonia — an ingredient common to most IEDs. According to Tentzeris, the trick to such inkjet printing lies in the development of “inks” that can be deposited at relatively low temperatures. These inks, laced with silver nanoparticles, can then be uniformly distributed across paper-based components using a process called sonication. The result is a low-cost component that can adhere to just about any surface. The wireless sensor, meanwhile, requires comparatively low amounts of power, and could allow users to detect bombs from a safe distance. Naishadham says his team’s device is geared toward military officials, humanitarian workers or any other bomb sniffers in hazardous situations, though there’s no word yet on when it could enter the market. To find out more, careen past the break for the full PR.