The Star Trek communicator can take calls via Bluetooth and charges wirelessly

Bluetooth 5 announced: quadruple range and double speed

Bluetooth 5 has been unveiled, boasting quadruple the range of the previous iteration, double the speed and an 800 per cent increase in data broadcasting capacity.

The new Bluetooth standard, expected to be released later this year, is designed to boost Internet of Things (IoT) devices by delivering ‘robust, reliable connections that make full-home and building and outdoor use cases a reality’.

The standards’ higher data speeds are intended to provide greater responsiveness from remote devices.

“Bluetooth 5 will transform the way people experience the IoT by making it something that happens simply and seamlessly around them,” said Mark Powell, executive director of the Bluetooth SIG who was interviewed by E&T Magazine earlier this year. 

“Increasing operation range will enable connections to IoT devices that extend far beyond the walls of a typical home, while increasing speed supports faster data transfers and software updates for devices.

“And now with the ability to broadcast a much richer set of information, Bluetooth 5 will make beacons, location awareness and other connectionless services an even more relevant part of an effortless and seamless IoT experience.”

Bluetooth 5 has been designed to be specifically useful in scenarios where contextual awareness like navigation and pin-point location are crucial, such as navigating through airports, tracking warehouse inventory and smart city infrastructure.

Powell said he believed Bluetooth will be in more than one-third of installed IoT devices by 2020.

E&T Magazine visited the launch event of the new standard, where exhibitors demonstrated some unique and interesting implementations for Bluetooth technology.

Star Trek: The Original Series Bluetooth Communicator

Just in time for Star Trek’s fiftieth anniversary, The Wand Company demonstrated a Bluetooth speaker and microphone device that emulates both the look and feel of the communicator from the original series.

The device flips open, emitting the beeping noise familiar to fans of the series, after which users can speak commands that will be relayed to a paired smartphone.

Demonstrating the communicator’s capabilities, the exhibitors made a telephone call that produced clear sound from the included speaker with a microphone that picked up voices well even in the noisy event space.

The Wand Company said it had secured access to the last remaining prop, originally used by William Shatner and Leonard Nimoy on the show, in order to reproduce the look and feel as close as possible.

E&T features the technological legacy of the gadgets of Star Trek in our latest issue.

See.Sense ICON: Connected bike lights

Next up was a set of connected bike lights designed to crowd source real-time data from cyclists as they ride, such as analysing the road surface and local air pollution.

The light is packed with sensor and communication technology that is typically found in mobile phones which allows it to adjust its flash pattern and speed according to the cyclist’s changing environment.

The lights communicate and can be controlled by phone via an app and provide features such as crash and theft detection alerts. For example, if the bike starts moving without being near the user’s phone, it could alert the bike owner.

My Lock: Cloud based security system

Lastly, Swiss Prime Tech demonstrated My Lock, a cloud based security system that allows users to unlock their front door and car door with their phone.

The system can be activated with both Bluetooth and NFC and includes a backup physical key. My Lock runs on a cloud server that allows users to remotely grant access to anyone they choose with a number of options such as a one-time unlock, or to have full unlocking rights for a set period of time.

When the door is unlocked, the system records which user entered and at what time so that homeowners have a record of its usage. The company says it can be easily integrated into existing mechanical locking systems.

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