University researchers conducting tests on new wireless transfer technology

Lawrence,Kansas (04-03-2003)

From The University Daily Kansan
By Amy Potter

Computer users will no longer suffer from the wire connecting blues.

Researchers at the University of Kansas and The Information and Telecommunication Technology Center finished their first round of tests last month for Bluetooth Special Interest Group, based out of Overland Park.

The University teamed up with Bluetooth SIG this year to test technology that allows for wireless transfer of information between electronic equipment such as computers, cell phones and printers, said Leon Searl, software research engineer at ITTC.

"Bluetooth is supposed to make it easier to transfer data. Hooking things up to wires is always a pain in the rear to do," Searl said.

The inspiration for the name Bluetooth came from Danish King Harald Bluetooth, who united a number of countries in the Scandinavian area around A.D. 900, said Joe Evans, professor of electrical engineering and computer science.

"The idea behind Bluetooth is to try to unite a lot of the effort of the wireless data communications," he said.

One test the researchers performed ranked the device on a scale of one to five, ranking how easy the product is for an everyday user to operate.

If a product receives a one it means its extremely difficult to use. Five indicates the user didnt have to look at the user manual and the technology is fairly simple to use.

"Were testing at the very highest level from the perspective of the average everyday user," Searl said. "Technically, the devices may be able to operate for the test, but is it easy for the user?"

The Bluetooth Special Interest Group represents 3Com, Agere, Ericsson, IBM, Intel, Microsoft, Motorola, Nokia and Toshiba and hundreds of Associate and Adopter member companies. Researchers did almost 400 measurements on products containing Bluetooth hardware from these companies, said Searl.

Bluetooth technology can work at distances up to 300 feet but the general use is at most 30 feet, Searl said.

The interest group has contributed $33,000 in funding for the program. This money pays the salary of two KU employees working solely on testing for Bluetooth SIG, said Joseph Evans, professor of electrical engineering and computer science.

The Universitys partnership with Bluetooth is an important one, said Dan Deavours, research assistant professor at ITTC.

"It will help us better understand the technology," he said. "It will help us in formulating future relevant research ideas and getting students involved in technology."

--Edited by Ryan Wood

For more information, contact ITTC.

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