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NTT to Commercialize Novel Human Body Communication System

Tokyo, Feb 12, 2008 (Jiji Press) - Nippon Telegraph & Telephone Corp. <9432> will commercialize this spring a novel data communications system that will send alternating-current signals through electric fields on the surface of human skin, group officials said Tuesday.

NTT expects to sell the human body communication system through a subsidiary as early as April, the officials told Jiji Press, noting no other companies have ever commercialized such a system.

NTT believes the system has the potential to be widely used, particularly in the field of personal authentication.

Holders of integrated circuit-embedded ID cards, for example, can clear authentication processes at electronic security gates simply by touching sensors with hands.

The subsidiary, NTT Electronics Corp., will begin selling signal transmitters and receivers, core components of the system, mainly for the purpose of office entrance and exit management.

NTT Electronics hopes to cooperate with office equipment makers and construction companies. The company aims to expand the business over a three-year period to one capable of generating annual sales of 20 billion to 30 billion yen.

Existing entrance and exit management systems require IC cards to be held close to card readers.

But the new system will make this process unnecessary. Once holders of such IC cards and transmitters touches a signal receiver installed in a doorknob, data stored in their cards will travel across the surface of their skin and reach the receiver while the cards remain in pockets, wallets or bags.

The NTT group has developed technologies to send alternating-current electric signals through electric fields on the human skin, ensuring stable and highly sensitive signal reception without reducing efficiency.

There have been similar communications technologies using the human body as a conduit. But the technologies have failed to catch on because they require card holders to maintain physical contact with cards for them to be read.

The NTT group also plans to release data communications cards allowing the connections of personal computers to local area networks as early as spring next year that are based on the same communications technologies.

The LAN cards will allow data communications through electric fields on material surfaces, meaning a PC can be hooked up with a LAN system as soon as it is placed on a desk.

Signals sent across a surface cannot be captured from the air, unlike signals from wireless LAN cards. In addition, the planned cards will make communications cables unnecessary.

The NTT group has also developed cabinets and other office furniture that can be locked and unlocked by holders of signal transmitters and IC cards or other electronic devices for identification.

If signal receivers are embedded in various points on office floors, they can be used to identify the location of specific holders of those devices, the officials said.

By Jiji Press, (c) Jiji Press

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