You knew that some pretty unusual concepts were going to arise with the development of 5G right? Well, this is one of those!
Researchers developing "transistor active devices" at the University of Madison-Wisconson have a new stretchy circuit that can be worn like skin for wireless biomedical monitoring applications, like remotely monitoring a patient's vital signs without a mess of cables. The team, led by Professor Zhenqiang (Jack) Ma, is describing the "skin" made of integrated circuits (ICs) as "5G" because it is designed to operate in the millimeter wave (mmWave) bands.
Milimeter waves are expected to be one of the building blocks of 5G, helping the new wireless technology to achieve multi-gigabit-per second speeds. The high-frequency bands reside between 30 GHz and 300 GHz. (See AT&T to Start 5G 'Friendly' Trial by 2016 End.)
The "skin" currently operates at 40 GHz.
"We've found a way to integrate high-frequency active transistors into a useful circuit that can be wireless," said Ma, whose work was supported by the Air Force Office of Scientific Research, in a university article on the news. "This is a platform. This opens the door to lots of new capabilities."
Indeed, a 5G wearable skin could undoubtedly open up applications beyond medical in the burgeoning Internet of Things (IoT) market. The second phase of the 5G specification, expected to be completed in 2019, is supposed to support "massive IoT" deployments, meaning millions upon of millions of autonomous networked devices on a network.
— Dan Jones, Mobile Editor, Light Reading