Sunday, 14 May 2017

The 5 Reasons Why We Still See Security Wearing Wired Security Earpieces

Advancement in technology has changed the form of how electronic devices look like, how they operate and consequently how we handle them. Devices such as radios have become smaller, lighter and wireless. The advent of Bluetooth has enabled radios to connect without any physical connections; notably saving us from the fuss of tangled and visible wires. The wireless earpieces are in use, but it is important to note that they have not completely taken over from the wired covert earpieces. With the convenience and technological advancement they offer, why is it that they have not replaced their wired counterparts especially in fields of operation? Here are a few thoughts:


Wireless earpieces are not as reliable as the wired ones. The technology that supports Bluetooth communication has it that the source device (radio) and the receiving device (earpiece) have to be at a certain distance from each other and nothing should come in between the path of transmission of the two devices. This means that if any of the two requirements are not as anticipated, functionality is compromised. Wired earpieces do not have the complication of interference and limited bandwidth. When you are in a situation where reliability is crucial, where you cannot afford to lose connection, say you are out in the field on operation, it would make sense to use wired covert earpieces as they are easy to handle, making them more reliable.

Limited Operational Lifetime

For a wireless device to be operational, it needs to be charged. When out on assignment, the crew will need to ensure that they have fully charged the wireless earphones and carried a fully-charged extra battery. The batteries work on a limited operational lifetime which burdens the crew as they have to keep replacing the batteries every time. When pack ing batteries for replacement, one should pack enough to cater for both the radio and earphone. This is not the case with the wired pieces. For wired pieces, the crew only has to worry about a single cable that will connect the radio to the earphones. The wired option is therefore less of a burden to handle than the wireless ones.

Necessary Visibility

In some instances, the visibility of the wires, which the wireless earpieces work against, is crucial in making a statement. In a security situation, the wired pieces are visible to the human eye; they make the public aware of the security. The visibility in itself reinforces security, deterring any harmful or criminal practices that may take place. In such a situation, wireless pieces are of no use as no security statement will be made.

Disruption and Negative Interference

Wireless earpieces are vulnerable to signal disruption and negative interference. It is possible for a wireless-transmitted signal to be compromised- an activity that may cause threats and anomalies. A signal transmitted by wireless means may be decrypted and accessed by unauthorized people. At the same time, the signal may be compromised in a way the end product that is received as sound is not what was initially transmitted. Bluetooth is open to any form of interference, be it purposeful or accidental. The wired covert earpiece on the other hand greatly reduce the possibility of such malpractices as it would be hard to physically interfere with transmission without anyone noticing.

Misplacing earpieces during an incident

In the event of an incident, it would be hard to misplace a wired covert earpiece. This is becaus e, when an agent is on the move or if they make any vigorous movements, the radio earpiece might be detached from the ear but will not fall; it is tethered to the radio using the wire. On the other hand, a Bluetooth earpiece would probably detach itself from the ear, fall down and be misplaced as it has no physical tethering to the radio device. This will cost an agent a lot of time in looking for a misplaced device and even the responsibility of a lost device.

When it comes to technology, the feature advancements are normally made to our convenience and efficiency but in some cases, the old way of doing things would prove to be better. Wired radio earpieces have major advantages over their wireless counterparts, making them hard to phase out. What the wireless earpieces can function as at this point is as a complimentary device to the wired one.

Rifleman Radio is indispensable

When the army are on the battlefield, the equipment that they carry and the weight of it is paramount. Most two way radios are one of two things, light and easily breakable, with limited power, meaning limited range or heavy and the opposite to the above, Robust and able to transmit at a lengthy distance. The current development for a 2 channel that’s able to receive and transmit voice and data is an interesting concept. This article, that can originally be found here, give you more of the story.  

Nearly two years after the award of the Rifleman Radio contract, I made an appeal for new thinking by both the defense acquisition corps and the defense industry that now bears repeating.

Twenty-two months ago, the need for the Rifleman Radio was obvious as it is today. It provides infantry units with a relatively small and lower cost software-defined radio capable of transmi tting voice and data, such as maps, images and texts. The technology that defines this “workhorse” tactical radio was continuing to mature, resulting in today’s Rifleman Radio being far more reliable and capable than the LRIP-ordered radios from even three years ago.

This maturation process was being driven by ongoing investments in radio technology made by the defense industry, including Thales and Harris Corporation, the two companies selected by the Army to build the Rifleman Radio.

At that time, I noted that success in the Defense Department's new “Non-Developmental Items” or NDI strategy for the Army’s HMS program would require three things:

  • People. Bringing the right people together from three key groups for meaningful engagement: those defining the capabilities; those acquiring the capability for the government and industry; and those who have to deliver the capability to the Warfighter.

  • Dialogue. Creating ethical opportunities for face-to-face discussions with industry (not RFI dialogues) about the state of technology innovation and what is feasible to provide in a reasonable time and at a reasonable price.

  • Strategy. Building a shared understanding that this new NDI marketplace for tactical radios that requires industry to invest their own money to develop products will be one that delivers greater and greater capabilities over time, in other words, iteratively.

Where are we now? 

The Army is currently working to develop requirements for a 2-channel variant of the Rifleman Radio, a significant step in the Rifleman’s continuing evolution. The fundamental 2-channel communications capability â€" whether handheld or manpack variants â€" represents the future of tactical communications.

Two-channel capabilities for the small-unit leader radio like the Rifleman will meet the Army’s evolving tactical communications needs, with its ability to receive and transmit voice and data simultaneously, passing data to and from command to the unit.

The 2-channel Rifleman Radio will provide new capabilities without adding weight from extra radios and batteries. In short, it will provide the capability of two radios without burdening troops with lugging around two radios.

Viewed from a technical perspective, however, a 2-channel handheld radio represents an exponential leap in terms of complexity â€" it bears no relationship to the notion of “fusing two 1-channel radios together.”

Even the 2-channel HMS Manpack represents a tremendous technological leap forward, though it came with fewer space, size, power and weight limitations than the much smaller handheld Rifleman undoubtedly will. In short, the 2-channel Rifleman Radio will be a tall mountain to climb.

The future Rifleman 2-channel

The 2-channel Rifleman is an achievable reality, however, and speaking for Harris, we’re already well on the way to delivering this capability. The U.S. Special Operations Command (SOF) Tactical Communications (STC) 2-channel handheld radio being developed by Harris for special operations forces is leading the way to this future.

The STC radios are able to operate in the harshest environments and are specially designed to meet rigorous requirements. The STCs are small, lightweight, multiband and multifunction, with multi-mission capability to enable SOF teams to communicate over multiple channels simultaneously.

The Harris STC will provide the ability to receive ISR full-motion video and signals-based threat information. These handheld radios also will have built-in backward interoperability to communicate over legacy networks, and w ill be upgradable to integrate new capabilities as requirements evolve.

Although the Army’s requirements are still coming together, the 2-channel Rifleman most likely will trade fewer features for less cost. That said, there are many technical attributes related to the 2-channel capability that are likely to be applied from the Harris STC to the next iteration of the Rifleman.

The important takeaway here is that the Army’s continued commitment to evolving tactical communications has led industry to sustain its investment in advancing capabilities â€" and that formula has brought the 2-channel handheld much closer to reality.

Whether it is the STC or 2-channel Rifleman, the coming wave of new communication capabilities are the result of persistent innovations in myriad radio components: chip design, software, battery life, power consumption and antennas, to name a few.

As I pointed out in January 2015, the development of the Rifleman Radio would represent just the first iteration in the Army’s modernization of tactical radios ― a commitment that would deliver even more revolutionary capabilities over the next decade. But this will only happen if the Army maintains its end of the bargain by assuring industry that ongoing investments would be rewarded with purchases of the end products.

If BBP 1.0, 2.0 and 3.0 continue to be nurtured and “take root,” these radio technology capabilities will continue to evolve with each measured investment making possible continuing progress. Such an active NDI marketplace will ensure industry remains committed to R&D â€" and the beneficiary of this healthy dynamic is the warfighter.

Sunday, 26 March 2017

How To Select The Right Radio Earpiece

When choosing a radio earpiece, there are several factors that should be considered. A radio earpiece should not only aid in communication it should also protect the user’s ear against cumulative ear damage that may eventually result in ear loss. Below are the factors that you should consider when buying a radio earpiece;

1) Clarity of communication

The most important reason as to why you have a radio is for clear communication and this is what your radio earpiece should enhance. Although there are several radio earpieces out there, many of them use bone conduction when transmitting the user’s speech meaning that they heavily rely on vibrations of one’s skull as they talk. This does not help much in ensuring that the communications are clear especially when one is on the move.

You should therefore go for a system whose in-ear microphone does not use bone conduction and this will enhance the soun d clarity. Such a system can even transmit speeches when one is whispering and this comes in handy especially when in an environment where secrecy is very crucial.

2) Comfort

It is very important to select a system that you feel comfortable with most importantly when you are to wear it on your head. Note that, you will probably be wearing the gear for long hours and that is why it should be of lightweight and should not in any way interfere with your eye wear or helmet.

Avoid heavy, sweaty and coiled tube earpieces that are very uncomfortable and will cause ear fatigue. Instead, go for a radio earpiece whose microphone is built into the earbud itself. Such earpieces come in various shapes and sizes and can even be customized to fit the specific needs of a user. Note that, military-grade materials are specifically designed to be of lightweight.

3) Durability

Durability is a very important factor that should be considered when choosing a radio earpiece . You obviously don’t want to be wasting your time and money going back to look for another earpiece just because the one you chose did not last. This is why it is very important to select a system that is durable and has been tested for rugged use of a soldier or a SWAT officer. Go for one whose manufacturer is experienced in manufacturing earpieces that can withstand water, dirt, shock and even extreme temperatures.

4) Ease of use

Your radio earpiece should be easy to use because you can’t afford to mess up with the push-to-talk or the on & off buttons especially when on the move. Your gear should immediately fit into your actions with minimum effort. Look at the operational and the ergonomic features of the various radio earpieces and make sure that all its features are both of the right sizes and in the right places.

5) Hearing protection

Claims related to hearing loss and its related dis abilities is on the rise among police & military veterans and this has led to the need for hearing protection for officers. Note that, hearing loss occurs cumulatively over time and it is irreversible. This is in addition to the fact that it has been associated with cognitive decline and that is why even the minor hearing loss can have a huge impact in the course of time. Select a radio earpiece that not only ensures effective communication, but also the hearing safety of the user.

6) Situational awareness

An earpiece is basically meant to keep you focused and keep your hands free. You should be aware of what is happening in their surrounding and that is why a radio earpiece should allow one to hear sounds that are outside, to stay alert with their surroundings.

In order to have full communications (just like one would have without anything in their ears), it is wise to choose a radio earpiece that has an external microphone. There are systems that even enable you to adjust volume of the external microphone and this ensures that you are aware of the happenings in your surroundings.

7) Modularity & Compatibility

There are several systems that are available out there and you should look for one that fits your requirements. As mentioned above, some of them can be customized to fit an individual user’s specific needs so you can never run out of options.

A radio earpiece that has a modular connector is good as you can change it to match even a different radio without having to replace the entire system. Some systems can even go with both earbuds and over-the-ear earpieces so depending on your needs, select the appropriate system.

8) Affordability

Many years ago radio earpieces cost £100 and upwards, these days you can get a D-ring earpiece for less than £15 and an acoustic tube for about £25. Bone conductor earpieces that were previously and expensive piece of technology, can be yours for about £40.

Saturday, 18 March 2017

Sepura Contributes to Success of World’s First Cross-border TETRA System

We take it for granted that when we move around the country our mobile phones connect to the nearest mast, or we go abroad and our phones automatically connect to the network, with tetra, this is not as easy, but this article is about a test that Sepura completed connecting two TETRA networks in Norway and Sweden, interesting stuff.

Sepura radios have successfully participated in interoperability trials for the world’s first cross-border TETRA communication system, linking RAKEL and Nødnett, Sweden and Norway’s public safety networks.

More than 350 first responders were involved in the trials, which took place in Meråker, close to the Swedish border, in a crisis response exercise involving public safety users from both countries.

The cross-border system utilises TETRA Inter-System Interface (ISI) functional ity to connect networks together, effectively allowing users to roam to another network. This allows first responders to use their radios in both countries â€" vital for smooth collaboration in emergency situations.

The initiative to strengthen co-operation between national emergency services started in 2013 with the EU-funded Inter-System Interoperability project, designed to improve the ability to respond to natural disasters and security threats. The RAKEL and Nødnett networks are scheduled to be ready for bi-national operational use in early 2017.

Sepura’s STP9000 hand-portable radios and SRG3900 mobile radios were used by both Swedish and Norwegian emergency services during the exercise, although all Sepura radios â€" including the new flagship SC20 range â€" meet the technical requirements of the ISI system.

“This is one of the most advanced multinational radio communication projects in Europe,” said Tariq Haque, Product Manager for Sepura.
< br>“After two years’ development, bi-national interoperability has become a reality, bringing cross-border mission critical communications to Sweden and Norway.

“We are extremely pleased to have played a part in this ground-breaking event.”

Source -

Tuesday, 14 March 2017

Occupational health effects linked to terrestrial trunked radios (TETRA)

Tetra has been the main stay for the Emergency services for over 10 years and it has been a used by other industries for longer than that. There has been plenty of time for health concerns to be brought up and as the technology is similar to mobile phone, which has been around for 20+ years and radio communications (walkie talkies) for much longer than that, and no really hard evidence has ever been brought that either of these two cause health issues, this article probes the possibilities of TETRA causing health concerns, see what they uncover below.

The use of terrestrial trunked radios (TETRAs) has raised concerns about health and sickness absence. Jackie Cinnamond looks at the evidence for a precautionary approach.

The British police and the other emergency services use a communication system involving technology called TETR A (terrestrial trunked radio), which is halfway between a mobile phone system and a walkie-talkie.

At one NHS trust during the autumn of 2013, it was noted that there seemed to be a correlation between increasing levels of sickness absence in ambulance staff and the recent introduction of TETRAs.

This assumed association was based upon clinical presentations of cases being seen in occupational health practice involving ambulance service employees, who maintain that their portable radio handsets are causing them to experience adverse health effects.

TETRA is the leading public safety radio communications system worldwide, and serves to enhance the function of almost 500,000 police, ambulance and firefighting employees (Airwave solutions, 2012; Motorola, 2007).

The Government commissioned TETRA in 2005 at a cost of £3 billion. It did so in response to concerns raised by the Police Federation regarding the use of a two-way radio communication system and its link with breast cancer in female operatives (Police Federation News, 2005).

The use of TETRAs was contentious due to similar health fears raised by the Health Protection Agency and its working group of 2001. Consequently, the Airwave Health Monitoring Study started in 2009 and the findings are due to be released in 2018 (Imperial College London, 2009). This long-term, observational study is investigating health outcomes of TETRA users within the police force.

Initial concerns were raised by Lancashire police after it was introduced, when almost 200 police officers began to experience symptoms of nausea, malaise, head pain, insomnia, skin complaints and two cases of oesophageal cancer (Farrell, 2002; Police Federation News, 2005).

Comparably, these symptoms correlate with reports of symptoms experienced by the ambulance employees within this trust, soon after the TETRA system was purchased, and which could be associated with electromagnetic radiation emi tted by this technology.

Technical issues related to TETRAs

Radiation is a source of energy produced during atom separation. The process of ionisation results in the addition, or removal, of one or more electrons from an atom or molecule.

The force of the electromagnetic energy waves released during separation are categorised as either non-ionising, where the energy released is insufficient to ionise matter, or ionising radiation, where adequate energy is present to ionise matter (Tillman, 2007).

Ionising radiation is associated with the X-ray process; and non-ionising radiation is associated with the transmission and receipt of mobile telecommunication signals (IEGMP, 2000).

Electromagnetic fields are quantified by their wavelength, and the frequency at which the wave pulsates (Sanchez, 2006).

The wavelength frequencies are expressed in Hertz (Hz) and oscillate within a spectrum where one Hz is one oscillation per second, and one kilo Hertz (kHz) is 1,000 Hz. Radios using 16-17Hz should be avoided as these frequencies are known to adversely affect health. TETRAs operate at a frequency of 17.6Hz

Potential implications for health

Mobile telecommunication devices are a cause of contention. The health effects associated with their use remain unproven (Kundi, 2009). Human stem cells are more susceptible to electromagnetic fields compared with differentiated human primary cells. The constraining influences of electromagnetic fields upon DNA regeneration in human stem cells could manifest itself in the development of abnormalities within the DNA replication process. Consequently, the initiation of cancer may result (Valberg et al, 2007).

With an estimated 500,000 emergency service employees currently using TETRA systems, if a causal relationship between the use of portable radio handsets and cancer development was subsequently established, then this could present a significant OH and public healt h challenge (Health Professionals Council, 2011; Dhani, 2012).

Current research

The incessant proliferation of wireless telecommunications technology use has intensified public fears and generated international debate regarding the chances of cancer developing as a direct consequence of exposure to electromagnetic fields emitted from devices such as mobile phones (Kundi, 2009).

Research findings accumulated over the past decade suggest a causal relationship between electromagnetic exposure through the use of wireless telecommunication systems and cancer development (Levis et al, 2011). Conflictingly, current research results conclude that there is insufficient evidence, or none at all, to suggest that acceptable electromagnetic frequencies emitted through mobile phone use can cause adverse health conditions or cancer (Kundi, 2009).

However, the majority of current research studies are sponsored by the telecommunication industry and, therefore, finding s tend to significantly underestimate cancer risk. The overall accumulation of research findings, regardless of study design imperfections and financial bias, leans towards the opinion that there is an increased likelihood of a causal relationship between mobile phone use and cancer (Kundi, 2009; Levis et al, 2011).

Legislation related to TETRAs

Although most technology poses some level of risk to human health, such threats must be measured precisely and dependably (Levis et al, 2011). Presently, two international organisations â€" the International Commission on Non-Ionising Radiation Protection (ICNIRP) and the National Radiological Protection Board (NRPB) â€" have produced guidelines for limiting exposure to electromagnetic fields within the UK and the European Union (EU).

The ICNIRP (1998) recommendations have been integrated into the European Council Recommendations (1999) and have subsequently been incorporated into statute in Germany (WHO, 2011).
< br>Limits for human exposure to electromagnetic fields have been set accordingly by the ICNIRP and the NRPB (1993) at between 10 and 300 GHz. However, the ICNIRP guidelines have established an upper limit for occupational exposure that is five times higher in employees than it is in the general public (IEGMP, 2000). The exposure limit values are referred to as “basic restrictions” and are based upon specific absorption rate (SAR), which equates to the rate at which the body absorbs energy in relation to each unit of body tissue (WHO, 2011).

Precautionary principles for TETRA use

In the absence of accurate guidance and methods for measuring exposure levels, the robust research evidence that establishes a causal link between electromagnetic exposure and cancer should be acknowledged and precautionary principles implemented (Hardell et al, 2005).

Precautionary principles with regard to electromagnetic radiation are defined by Valberg et al (2007) as implemen ting a safety-conscious approach prior to a significant causal link between electromagnetic fields and cancer development being established. The idea behind introducing precautionary principles is to try to reduce the degree of public concern regarding the potential health implications of exposure to electromagnetic fields (Wiedeman and Schutz, 2005).

However, the implementation of precautionary principles would be subjected to a cost-benefit analysis and, therefore, would be measured against what the populace deems financially equivalent to the cost of similar risks to society (Australian Radiation Protection and Nuclear Safety Agency, 2001).

Furthermore, their implementation may adversely increase the publics perception of risk and induce a psychosomatic-related development of adverse health problems and proceed to over burden already stretched resources unnecessarily.

However, the Bioinitiative Working Group (2012) contends that the public health approach to addressing exposure to electromagnetic fields should be viewed in the same regard as passive smoking and established on the current scientific evidence accessible.

Implications for OH

Despite the health risks associated with electromagnetic field exposure, the National Policing Improvement Agency continues to emphasise to its employees that the only adverse health effects of electromagnetic fields are established through tissue heating at significant levels.

It also discredited the accounts of the symptoms experienced by employees as psychosomatic conditions (Farrell, 2002; Police Federation News, 2005).

However, Kundi (2009) affirms that the carcinogenic effects of electromagnetic fields over a prolonged latency period are equivalent to the same intensities for smoking-related cancers. Furthermore, the latency period for cancer development is estimated to be 10-30 years. This raises concerns regarding the increased age of retirement, because occupational health departments could potentially have to adapt to accommodate older workers who have been subjected to long latency periods of electromagnetic exposure and its associated health conditions.

The Global Occupational Health Network (2006) advocates that staff undertaking occupational roles with a potential carcinogenic risk should be properly educated and instructed about the appropriate precautionary measures for working with carcinogens, in accordance with health and safety protocols.

The duty of care under s.2 of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act (1974) requires employers to implement what is reasonably practicable to safeguard the health and safety of their employees through the establishment of safe systems of work, and to ensure that staff are adequately informed regarding any potential hazards.

The Independen t Expert Group on Mobile Phones maintains that a precautionary approach to the use of mobile phones be adopted until more detailed and scientifically robust information on any potential health effects becomes apparent.


Telecommunication technology will continue to evolve and may be associated with future health risks. In the absence of any substantial research evidence to conclusively prove that exposure to electromagnetic fields does not pose a risk to health, precautionary measures should be implemented.

The emphasis of these measures should include policy changes that keeps pace with technological developments. This goes hand in hand with evidence-based practice and processes that educate employers and employees, aimed at minimising the potential health risks associated from prolonged electromagnetic field exposure. The findings of the airwave health monitoring study are eagerly awaited.

Monday, 13 March 2017

WiFi Enabled LTE Small Cell Gateway Market to Register a Strong Growth By 2021 - PMR

On paper, connecting walkie talkie radios to a Wifi networkis is the most obvious method of controlling and communicating within a business. But the reality is that there aren’t many radios on the market that have the capability to do this and many wifi networks aren’t robust enough to manage lots of radios, this article predicts that this technology will be a growth market, we will wait and see.

WiFi enabled LTE small cell gateway is a type of a base station. Base station uses cellular wireless network for communicating with mobile phones or terminals. Base station connects mobile phones to a wireless carrier network and offers local coverage for a wireless network. The area of coverage varies from several miles to few city blocks. Each base station is typically owned by one carrier or wireless company and gives coverage only fo r that company's network. It may also offer roaming coverage for other networks in case carriers have agreement for roaming and technology is compatible. Base station comprises of an electronic cabinet which connected by means of cables to a group of antennas. The antennas may be mounted on an existing structure or on dedicated tower structure including top of a building, church steeple or smoke-stack and water tower.

In radio communications, base station refers to wireless communications station implemented at a fixed location and used to communicate as wireless telephone system including cellular GSM or CDMA cell site, part push-to-talk two-way radio system, terrestrial trunked radio and two-way radio. A single location often operates several base stations owned by a different carrier. Smaller types of base stations or small cells include picocells, femtocells and microcells. WiFi enabled LTE small cell gateway is promising network element. A wide variety of base station d eployments are in a small cell configuration. It has WiFi interface at end-use device and LTE interface at the carrier network.

Small cell is low-powered radio access nodes (operator-controlled) that operate in carrier-grade Wi-Fi (unlicensed) and licensed spectrum. Small cells normally have a range from 10 to numerous hundred meters. Small cell base stations are expected to play vital role in expanding the capacity of wireless networks due to increasing mobile data traffic. Mobile operators are increasingly looking forward to this technology in order to meet the rising demands for data, video and application access generated due to smart phones and other devices. Small cells aid mobile service that detect presence, interact wand connect with existing networks. Small cells offer increased quality of servic e and flexibility at an affordable cost. Small cell infrastructure implantation is an environmentally friendly approach as it reduces the number of cell towers and offers a cleaner signal using less power.

Rising numbers of wireless carriers or companies are taking dedicated interest in this industry owing to the proliferation of embedded WiFi features in fixed and mobile devices. Growing demand for more advanced handheld devices such as smart-phones and tablets is expected to create demand for technologies with high internet speed. This in turn, is expected to drive the growth of WiFi enabled LTE small cell gateways.

Wednesday, 1 March 2017

MIT's new method of radio transmission could one day make wireless VR a reality

VR is the Buzz word for this year, every technology company clambering to get their headset out on to the market. Much of the market needs to catch-up though, the power of home computing needs to improve and removing the inevitable extra cabling and wires that come with current headsets. Luckily this article is about the future technology of VR headsets, see what we can expect as this technology grows.

If you want to use one of today's major VR headsets, whether the Oculus Rift, the HTC Vive, or the PS VR, you have to accept the fact that there will be an illusion-shattering cable that tethers you to the small supercomputer that's powering your virtual world.

But researchers from MIT’s Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (CSAIL) may have a solution in MoVr, a wireless virtual reality system. Instead of using Wi-Fi or Bluetooth to transmit data, the research team’s MoVR system uses high-frequency millimeter wave radio to stream data from a computer to a headset wirelessly at dramatically faster speeds than traditional technology.

There have been a variety of approaches to solving this problem already. Smartphone-based headsets such as Google's Daydream View and Samsung's Gear VR allow for untethered VR by simply offloading the computational work directly to a phone inside the headset. Or the entire idea of VR backpacks, which allow for a more mobile VR experience by building a computer that's more easily carried. But there are still a lot of limitations to either of these solutions.


Latency is the whole reason a wireless solution hasn't worked so far. VR is especially latency-sensitive, along with the huge bandwidth requirements that VR needs to display the level of high-resolution video required for virtual reality to work. But the MIT team claims that the millimeter wave signals can transmit fast enough to make a wireless VR headset feasible.

The issue with using millimeter wave technology is that the signal needs a direct line of sight, and fares poorly when it encounters any obstacles. MoVR gets around this by working as a programmable mirror that can direct the direction of the signal to the headset even while it’s moving to always make sure the signal is transmitting directly to the headset's receivers.

For now, the MoVR is simply a prototype, with the team hoping to further shrink down the system to allow for multiple wireless headsets in one room without encountering signal interference. But even as a proof-of-concept, it's an interesting perspective on how virtual reality could one day work.