NEW YORK Bell Laboratories President Jeff Jaffe predicted that nanoscience could make ubiquitous communications a transformational technology on the order of the telephone and television.
At the Nanobusiness conference here on Tuesday (May 24), keynoter Jaffe predicted nanotechnologies applied to communications will transform other industries in a way that no other technology has done in the past.
"Among other things, I want to whisper to someone across the street and have he or she alone hear what I have to say," Jaffe said.
This vision will be difficult to implement, Jaffe acknowledged, but Bell Labs is working on nanotechnologies geared to meeting the goal of ubiquitous communications based on sensors and wireless networks.
"There is a difference between disruptive and transformational technologies," said Jaffe. He cited LCDs, lithium-ion batteries and solid-state lighting as disruptive technologies and the airplane, telephone and television as transformational. "In that sense, I see nanotechnologies affecting every industry we can think of."
According to Jaffe, distance would disappear as a factor in communications, and communications devices become indiscernible. "When you stand in the middle of the Capitol dome in Washington, D.C., its natural acoustics are such that I can whisper in the middle under the dome and I can be heard 100 feet away. We need the nanotech equivalent."
Bell Labs is working on sensors, microphones, power sources and lenses to make its vision a reality. Very snall microphones, cellphones the size of a fingerprint, "nanograss" for improved battery storage and tunable liquid lenses for focus and aim are among the nanotechnologies being pursued.
Bell Labs is also developing a wireless infrastructure through a sensor management network in which sensor data is fused to reduce it to manageable size. Under the scheme, data is then fed into an aggregation network and an application control framework.