The Wifi of collapsing buildings
May 30th, 2005

David Pescowitz reports on new research into wireless through collapsing buildings. An American NIST team is studying the shapes of signals as they propagate through ruined structures. Additionally they’re exploring how to embed devices in architecture in order to best relay information during a disaster.

So far, a few promising schemes to surmount weak signals have emerged. Early results have shown that the wiring, rebar and ventilation ducts sticking out from the rubble can sometimes be used as a big antenna. Touching a transmitter or receiver to the metal boosts signal strength at least a little bit. Eventually, this knowledge might spur building designers to outfit new structures with high-gain antennae that emergency crews could tap into from the outside.

(via BoingBoing)


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