Parallel Innovation in Isolation

by Idris Mootee

Easier And Cooler Ways To Transfer Files Between Devices

Parallel Innovation in Isolationby Idris Mootee

When people talk about innovation generally people are quick to refer to something completely new. The question is how many new ideas are really new? Or recantation of old ideas or new applications of old ideas? Or just new ways to package old ideas? It is not uncommon that multiple companies or people are working on the same new idea but no one knows each other are working on the same thing?

So many people are working on innovative ways to send and receive files over a wireless network which is done through Bluetooth or infrared or whatever. Some engineers are playing with the idea of using the optical spectrum that offers better security and higher transfer rates. Engineers from Pennsylvania State University have now succeeded in moving data outside the usual line of sight restrictions at speeds of over one gigabit per second, more than double the max speed available today.

The engineers have developed a system where a high-powered laser diode transmits data by converting electricity into infrared light, which then bounces off any walls and surfaces before being received by an avalanche photo diode, where it’s converted back into electricity and translated into usable data. Using it in a room with no windows will ensure that any transmitted signals do not escape and cannot be intercepted or less interferences. Not sure how many rooms are completely closed with no windows.

One creative application could be the “wireless projection of HD television. Currently, two high definition broadcasts exceed the bandwidth of any radio system, but with a 1.6 gigabit per second gigabit system, two HD channels could be broadcast,” according to Professor of Electrical Engineering Mohshen Kavehrad.

At Idea Couture we’ve been playing with the idea for more than 18 months exploring new ways to transfer files between devices using simple touch gestures. We called it “Touch-and-Send”. Obviously there must have been dozens of start-ups or labs working on solving file transfer problems or creative ways to do that using similar approach. Currently there is no simple way to move things, plugging into the USB is still the simplest way and requires no set up.

But a new research project at MIT called Sparsh is also working to fix the file transfer problem. Sparsh (Hindi word for “touch”) is a virtual cloud-based clipboard where any data, like a phone number or photograph, can temporarily live until it’s “pasted” to another device. It is kind of like the mail room.

To make it work, both devices need to be Sparsh-enabled and the person touches data on a device, such as a picture or a music file can be sent through the cloud and receive by another device. Right now, Sparsh is at a concept stage at MIT’s Media Research Lab. Very exciting idea indeed.

Expect to see many more innovations enabled by the cloud. The sky is the limit.


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Idris MooteeIdris Mootee is the CEO of idea couture, a strategic innovation and experience design firm. He is the author of four books, tens of published articles, and a frequent speaker at business conferences and executive retreats.

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