Op-Ed

Wanna Buy a Tricorder?

| 6 Jun 2006 17:34

Wired News has a fun story up today about what is probably the coolest device yet invented. Imagine wardialing - for everything.

The device is called a "Universal Software Radio Peripheral," and it was designed by a guy who's only immediate goal was to circumvent the inevitable government restrictions on HDTV transceivers. What he created though, with the help of a National Science Foundation grant, was a device that could simultaneously receive nearly every signal transmitted by every radio-frequency device everywhere.

Imagine operating garage doors, receiving radio signals, television signals, GPS location transmissions, CB radio traffic and more - everything transmitted over RF - with one device, and feeding the resulting signals into a computer or handheld. Got a clear picture in mind yet? Sounds a lot like a Star Trek tricorder doesn't it?

It's not there yet (as of now, the technology is embedded on a motherboard which connects to a PC via USB 2.0), but the good news is that it works. The even better news is that you can buy the motherboard HERE.

The bad news? One of the first (and most profitable) uses for this technology will be tracking the movement of shoppers in front of store windows at the mall, using cell phone triangulation. That's right. They'll be using it to watch your every move. Tinfoil hat time, I guess.

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