The line between science fiction and reality is beginning to fade. Hybrid cars, clone reproduction and private space travel are now news events rather than stories found in Analog or Amazing Stories. And at the cutting edge of this advancement is a convenient little specification called Bluetooth.Ã?Â¯Ã?Â¿Ã?Â½
Bluetooth has been around since 1998. It was developed by members of a Special Interest Group (SIG) that consisted of Ericsson, Intel, Toshiba, Nokia and IBM. Now more than 1300 companies have signed on with the SIG. In return for signing, these companies are allowed royalty-free license to produce products that use the Bluetooth technology.Ã?Â¯Ã?Â¿Ã?Â½
Bluetooth enabled devices work by way of a very small radio module that has been built into certain products, such as computers and cell phones. When two or more Bluetooth-enabled devices approach within range of one another, they communicate electronically. A decision is made to determine what must be done next, whether data is to be shared or one needs to control the others. Once the discussion has finished, the devices form a Personal-Area network (PAN or piconet.) The range of this interaction is normally within 30 feet, but with newer models can extend up to one hundred feet.Ã?Â¯Ã?Â¿Ã?Â½
Bluetooth wireless technology uses a worldwide frequency band (2.4GHz) to communicate, which international agreement has set aside for use by scientific, industrial and medical devices. Baby monitors and garage-door openers also operate through this frequency, but so far there has been little problem with interference. This is owing to the fact that Bluetooth devices don’t stay in one range of the frequency long enough to interfere with other devices.Ã?Â¯Ã?Â¿Ã?Â½
Through spread-spectrum frequency hopping, Bluetooth devices randomly hop frequencies in unison so they can stay in touch with one another and avoid other piconets that may be operating in the same room. Imagine you and a friend jumping between 79 different chat rooms randomly 1600 times a second and you’ll get an idea of what it’s like to be part of a Bluetooth piconet.Ã?Â¯Ã?Â¿Ã?Â½
There are many advantages to Bluetooth that makes it appealing to an ever-demanding and technology-oriented public:
–It’s wireless, which makes it easily transportable and allows for a neater (and safer) workspace.
–It’s cheap, making it affordable for those who have spent all their money on big screen TVs and PlayStations.
–You don’t have to do anything to make it work (think how hard it used to be to program your VCR) so it is relatively dummy-proof.
Though its primary focus used to reside in the telecommunications industry, Bluetooth now has many practical applications. Below are just some of the people who will benefit from new products being developed through Bluetooth technology.
Ã?Â¯Ã?Â¿Ã?Â½ The lost or stranded motorist: Through interfacing of a Bluetooth enabled device installed in the vehicle and a cell phone,Ã?Â¯Ã?Â¿Ã?Â½Ã?Â¯Ã?Â¿Ã?Â½Ã?Â¯Ã?Â¿Ã?Â½Ã?Â¯Ã?Â¿Ã?Â½Ã?Â¯Ã?Â¿Ã?Â½ your car can call for help or figure out how to get to your destination. Men, beware!
Ã?Â¯Ã?Â¿Ã?Â½ The Stroke victim: A Bluetooth enabled brain scanner paired with a computer located in ambulances can give a potential stroke victim a chance at total recovery. Paramedics scan the patient. The images are uploaded to the computer and treatment can be given immediately, as appropriate, instead of waiting to have an MRI at the hospital.
Ã?Â¯Ã?Â¿Ã?Â½ The cell phone driver: Cell phone companies are now working to develop phones that can be used safely while driving. Using Bluetooth technology, the phone will receive information from an enabled black box that is plugged into the diagnostic port of the vehicle. Calls are then routed to the driver or to voice mail depending on what the driver is doing at a particular time.
Ã?Â¯Ã?Â¿Ã?Â½ The information hog: For those who always have to be up on what’s new, advertisers are working on a way to keep you informed. Transmitters installed in billboards can link with Bluetooth enabled phones and send you a message offering a promotional clip. If you’re interested you can watch a mini-commercial on your way to catch a plane or while running across a parking lot to get to work on time.
The possibilities for Bluetooth technology are endless. It is already being installed in new vehicles, printers and computers. It’s not hard to imagine that soon schools and government agencies will begin using it. Eventually there won’t be an area of human interest left untouched.
We’re on our way to entering a time when the sharing of information is second nature. As humans around the world become more equipped through technology to communicate with one another, machines created by humans are also being enabled with a way to interact and share knowledge and information. Bluetooth is one specification that is helping us transition from a world run by humanity alone to one shared by humans and the technology we have created.