CEATEC: ALPS sends data through the human electric field

ALPS, the folks that mainstreamed the touchpad way back in the day, are continuing to innovate. Now they’re playing with electric field transmissions, which allows the human body to act as a communication medium.

Electric field transmissions that enable the human body to act as a medium of communication work by modulating the electric field to create signals that are sent and received through the human body. Communications are enacted just by touching or bringing the hand over a sensor, which makes it suitable for applications such as ID cards or keyless automobile access.

In the brief video below, a handheld device displays an image. Placing one’s hand on the appropriate sensor transmits that image from the handheld through the human’s electric field and onto a receiver, which then displays the image onto the selected monitor.

I didn’t realize that I was holding the camera sideways. Sorry about that. :(

The range on this technology is quite short, but it doesn’t actually require physical contact.
Although it’s hard to see in this photo, my hand isn’t actually touching the globe: it’s just above it. My powerful electric field transmits the connection from the handheld sensor to the globe, which activates the light inside. It also works if there’s a small barrier — say a piece of cloth, or paper — which expands the potential uses for this technology.