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MIT’s RFocus technology could turn your walls into antennas


MIT’s RFocus technology could turn your walls into antennas – TechCrunch

RFocus asks a simple question: What if instead of just antennas and transmitters on access points and mobile devices, we put the things just about everywhere? You know, just totally slather the walls with the stuff? The new “smart surface” from MIT’s CSAIL uses in excess of 3,000 antennas to boost signal strength by nearly 10x.

The department issued a paper today showcasing the technology, which is relatively cheap, with each antenna running a few cents. Better still, it’s low power, either reflecting a signal or allowing it through, depending on the software controller. CSAIL envisions a future where RFocus is used in homes and warehouses to boost signals for the Internet of Things and various network-connected devices.

“The core goal here was to explore whether we can use elements in the environment and arrange them to direct the signal in a way that we can actually control,” MIT professor Hari Balakrishnan said in a post detailing the technology. “If you want to have wireless devices that transmit at the lowest possible power, but give you a good signal, this seems to be one extremely promising way to do it.”

No word on a time frame to market here — that’s not really how CSAIL operates. The team also notes that similar research has been conducted by Princeton, though MIT’s focus is on low-cost and a wider range of applications. The notion of full-wall antennas certainly seems a bit far-fetched — and in most cases unnecessary. And given the sort of caution with which many have approached 5G, I suspect more research will have to be done on the long-term effects of such transitions.

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is becoming Africau2019s unofficial tech capital”,”content”:{“rendered”:”

Africa has one of the world’s fastest growing tech markets and Nigeria is becoming its unofficial capital.n

The West African nation is commonly associated with negative cliches around corruption and terrorism (which persist as serious problems), and it’s those issues that likely influenced the Trump administration’s recent restrictions on Nigerian immigration to the U.S.n

Even so, there’s more to the country than Boko Haram or fictitious princes with inheritances.n

Nigeria has become a magnet for venture capital, a hotbed for startup formation and a strategic entry point for Silicon Valley. As a frontier market, there is certainly a volatility to the country’s political and economic trajectory. The nation teeters between its stereotypical basket-case status and getting its act together to become Africau2019s unrivaled superpower.n

The upside of that pendulum is why u2014 despite its problems u2014 so much American, Chinese and African tech capital is gravitating to Nigeria.n

Demographicsn

“Whatever you think of Africa, you can’t ignore the numbers,” Africa’s richest man Aliko Dangote told me in 2015, noting that demographics are creating an imperative for global businesses to enter the continent.



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