Bluetooth technology widely applied

From talking robodogs to Star Trek-type communication devices, Bluetooth is showing its bite with a raft of new products and uses.

From talking robodogs to Star Trek-type communication devices, Bluetooth is showing its bite with a raft of new products and uses.

Its technology was showcased at the Bluetooth Congress in Monaco recently, showing it has wider use than linking mobile phones and computers.

Some 2000 firms are working on Bluetooth short range wireless technology, including Ericsson, who recently released a range of Bluetooth mobile phones.

At the congress, Sony personal networks vice-president Hiroshi Yoshioka revealed Sony is planning to put Bluetooth in almost every device it produces. This will make it easy to get data into any device, be it messages, music or video.

Eventually Sony Walkmans, laptops, digital cameras will have Bluetooth, and even their Aibo robotic dog, allowing it to answer the phone and pick up email messages, he says.

Star Trek-style lapels could be next with US-based information accessory company Xircom telling the conference mobile phones will shrink and also store personal information.

Gadgets will be worn or carried and talk to each other over a personal network, says spokesperson Kurt Sauter.

Similar voice-activated wireless handsets for mobile phones already exist.

In Sweden, trials are already turning mobile phones into train tickets. Passengers booking a ticket over the Internet store their details on their mobile phone. When they take their seat in a train carriage a Bluetooth server interrogates the phone to find out if the consumer has the right ticket and is in the right seat.

Swedish engineering students are also developing sensors worn on arms of patient or pensioners that constantly monitor blood pressure and pulse. Data is sent to a PC through a Bluetooth base station. The PC collates it and passes it onto care workers or doctors. Medical staff are also immediately alerted if blood pressure gets too high or low, or the pulse rate changes unexpectedly.

Bluetooth is a low-power radio technology that uses the 2.4 GHz frequency that in most countries is reserved for industrial, scientific and medical uses. Once linked, devices can swap data at up to 700 kilobits per second.

It removes the need for masses of cables required to swap data between devices such as MP3s, handheld computers, mobile phones and games consules.

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