MEAT-COMMS – Wireless Communication Through Meat!

by Sankalan Baidya

MEAT-COMMS! Will it sound outrageous if we say that now you can think of high speed data transfer through meat (we mean – the meat we eat – beef, pork etc.)? Well, that is precisely what MEAT-COMMS is all about. We almost fell off our chairs when we read it for the first time. We kind of thought that it was a nice joke and a big internet hoax but it turns out that we were wrong!

Some researchers at Illinois University at Urbana-Champaign have developed MEAT-COMMS. It is actually a technique using which data can be transmitted through animal tissue at high speed. The name MEAT-COMMS is actually an abbreviated form which stands for “Mbps Experimental Acoustics Through-Tissue Communications”. That’s an ugly big name and we prefer the unusual abbreviation.

MEAT-COMMS – Practical Usage

These researchers, under laboratory settings, used beef liver and pork loin for the purpose of research and found that data can be transmitted through these animal tissues at speeds higher than 30 Mbps. So, what does that mean? It means that with such kind of speed, a diagnostician or a surgeon can simply ask patients to swallow tiny cameras. Once inside the stomach, the cameras can then, without the aid of any wires, transmit high definition videos of the gastrointestinal system in real time!

This definitely is a significant breakthrough. Why so? That’s because until now, sending data through meat or animal tissue was possible only using radio frequencies. These radio waves aren’t good for animal tissues because they can, not only damage tissues but also potentially cause cancer! This is the reason why, data transfer using radio frequencies through animal tissues has been subject to very stringent restrictions put forward by FCC or Federal Communications Commission.

Now the question is, ‘what does the MEAT-COMMS use for data transfer?’ What this technology does is that it replaces radio frequencies by ultrasonic sound waves that are benign. They are nearly harmless on animal tissue and facilitate high speed data transfer.

What Else is On Platter?

That’s an interesting question. Well, we know that ultrasonic sound waves are really benign and hence, many researchers are now focusing on finding out methods of using ultrasonic energy forms for battery recharging for devices that are implanted inside the body. As of today, several cutting-edge research in field of engineering. There are many applications for ultrasound energy. For example, ultrasonic faucets are capable for delivering 1000x better cleaning compared to water. Also ultrasonic welding is a new and highly effective technology. On the other hand, ultrasonic waves when used on neurons can actually change memories.

Sources: 1, 2, 3

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