NTT shows commercial RedTaction security system

Published 6 May 2008

NTT shows Firmo, a Human Area Network (HAN)-based system which uses the surface of the human body for communication; the Firmo Kit is used as an alternative to short-range wireless security card entrance/exit systems

NTT has introduced the first RedTaction security entrance/exit kit. RedTaction is a human body communication technology which uses the surface of the human body as a transmission path. NTT announced the sale of the Firmo evaluation kit, which includes an embeddable receiver, five card-type transmitters, and a touch plate for the receiver. The cost for the Firmo kit is approximately $7,722. Most people are familiar with Wide Area Network (WAN) or Local Area Network (LAN) transmissions. RedTaction is a human area network (HAN). It uses the body surface as the transmission for connectivity to terminals. NTT developed a photonic electric field sensor which enables weak electric fields found on the surface of the human body to be measured by detecting changes in the optical properties of an electro-optic crystal with a laser beam. Mary Anne Simpson writes in Physorg that by using the new extremely sensitive photonic field sensor, RedTaction is able to create duplex communications over the entire body at 10 Mbps. A transmission path is formed the moment the human body comes in contact with the RedTaction transceiver. It is a safe method of achieving high speed network transmission because no current enters the body mass. Any part of the body can act as a transmitter, and the trasmission is not obstructed by rubber sole shoes or clothing. Everything is linked to the natural body movements of the individual.

NTT says that the advantage of the use of HAN-based Firmo security system ensures a higher level of security because the signal range is limited to several millimeters to several centimeters from the surface of the human body or clothing. Firmo, which stands for “fairy motion,” is like the aura surrounding Tinkerbell. Other card security systems utilizing short-range wireless communications which may allow intruders several meters or more to gain entrance. The NTT Firmo security network would limit entrance to the single body. According to NTT, the card-type transmitter runs on a battery with a one year life. The system uses a 5 MH carrier wave in communication, equivalent to the high frequency band used by ham radios. It will not interfere with ham frequency waves because it is 20 db lower than the lowest radio frequency band. As a safeguard, NTT improved upon the electrode structure to prevent the waves from being emitted.