Researchers fire ultrasound through slabs of meat to beef up data signal

Researchers have fired a wireless data signal through a pork loin and beef liver at speeds fast enough to transmit HD video. The new transmission technique has been dubbed “meat-comms” and could make it easier for doctors to interact with wireless medical devices implanted in our bodies. Current implants use radio to communicate with the outside world but the waves struggle to travel through our soft tissue. The new system uses ultrasound and could be 1,000 times faster, say researchers in the U.S.

You could stream Netflix through the pork loin

Researcher Andrew Singer

Researcher Andrew Singer, from the University of Illinois, has previously worked on building underwater ultrasonic systems for the navy and realised that a similar approach could be used for the human body. To test his system, he placed a transmitter in a tank of water, then suspended slabs of meat in front of it. His team found that the signal passed through both types of meat at speeds of up to 30 megabits a second. Now, the team plans to test the approach with real medical implants or living tissue.

You’re a big bag of salt water, with some bones and some other tissues. Communicating in the ocean and communicating in your body are very similar.

Andrew Singer