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As Australians look forward to the high speed broadband future envisioned by NBN, and the physical, and costly, difficulties of rolling out a fibre network across the country’s harsh landscape, the future of mobile networks has taken another leap forward with scientists working on a high bandwidth mobile internet infrastructure that will be powered by people.

According to researchers from Queen’s University in Belfast, members of the public could form the backbone of powerful new mobile internet networks by carrying small sensors embedded into smartphones, cars, or even clothes, which will create body to body networks (BBNs) wherever we go.

The novel sensors would reduce the density of mobile phone base stations and would vastly improve the reach of mobile wireless networks, and give social benefits such as improvements in mobile gaming, remote healthcare, precision monitoring of athletes and real-time tactical training in team sports.

The engineers from Queen’s renowned Institute of Electronics, Communications and Information Technology (ECIT), are working on the project based on the rapidly developing science of body centric communications.

The new sensors would interact to transmit data, providing ‘anytime, anywhere’ mobile network connectivity. 

Dr Simon Cotton, from ECIT’s wireless communications research group, has been awarded a prestigious joint five-year Research Fellowship by the Royal Academy of Engineering and the Engineering and Physical Research Council (EPSRC) to examine how the new technology can be harnessed to become part of everyday life.

Dr Cotton said: “Success in this field will not only bring major social benefits it could also bring significant commercial rewards for those involved. Even though the market for wearable wireless sensors is still in its infancy, it is expected to grow to more than 400 million devices annually by 2014.”
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