Assist.Prof.Dr. Levent PARALI, Ph.D.

This device turns your phone into an eye exam machine

This device turns your phone into an eye exam machine

 But now, scientists from the University of Texas have developed a more efficient type of circuit, called a circulator, that’s capable of picking out and distinguishing between data that’s coming in or going out on the same frequency band.

 

Circulators aren’t new - since about 60 years ago, large, high-tech radar systems have been using them to distinguish between coming and going signals. But they’re only able to do this with the help of enormous magnets made from expensive and - you guessed it - scarce rare earth minerals. 

 

The real draw of this new type of circulator is that it does the same thing, except without magnets, by using devices called resonators that channel the wireless data signals in organised routes - a process known as 'full-duplex' functionality. Plus at just 2 centimetres wide, this new circulator is tiny, and the team is confident that it can be easily scaled down to mere microns. 

 

“It’s very cheap, compact, and light,” metamaterials expert and lead researcher Andrea Alù told Simonite. “It’s ideal for a cell phone.”

 

Integrating the device into smartphones will be pretty simple, say the researchers - it doesn’t require the entire phone to be redesigned and built, it just needs to be added onto existing wires. 

 

The team has reported their research in the journal Nature Physics.