Body-field communication


A new technology that turns people into walking wireless hubs? Not science fiction but RedTacton, a Japanese innovation that uses the electrical field emitted by the human body to transmit data.

 Can you imagine locking or unlocking a door simply by touching the doorknob? Or being able print a document by placing one hand on the copy machine and the other on your laptop?

It may sound like science fiction but is actually a very real possibility thanks to a new close-range communication technology called RedTacton. First developed by Japanese NTT (Nippon Telephone & Telegraph) in 2005, the new technology takes wireless communication a step further by replacing the radio waves used for transmission over Bluetooth, IR and similar technologies with the minute electrical field emitted by the human body.

To the security industry, the technology paves the way for a new breed of access control systems that are not based on remote controls or access cards that rely on radio waves that could be interfered with. The technology uses a transmission path established between the body of a person carrying a RedTacton card key and a RedTacton transceiver installed in, for example, a doorknob or floor. The person is automatically identified when they touch the doorknob or walk on the floor, and the transmission path is disconnected when the body and transceiver physically separate.

French ASSA ABLOY company Vachette is currently working on a wireless security and control system for private homes where the use of RedTacton would add a further touch of convenience and ease-of-use to the home owner.

The company’s technical director Christian Pont explains: “Our preliminary tests show that RedTacton could be useful in motorized door locks. When you leave your home it is simply enough to touch the handle in order to lock the door. You don’t even need to push a button or use a remote control.”

Read the entire article at ASSA ABLOY Future Lab.