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Korea Develops New Device-to-Device Communication Technology for Smartphones
Visual Communication
Korea Develops New Device-to-Device Communication Technology for Smartphones
  • By matthew
  • December 19, 2013, 11:09
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Researchers at ETRI test the new visual communications technology.
Researchers at ETRI test the new visual communications technology.


The Electronics and Telecommunications Research Institute (ETRI) announced on December 18 that it has successfully developed “visual communication,” a new type of Device-to-Device (D2D) communication technology, after 3 years of research and development. The technology was developed as part of the initiative titled “Development of technologies for visual communication within range of visibility and smart mobile connections” supported by the Ministry of Science, ICT and Future Planning.

The new technology enables communication between Wi-Fi devices within visual range using a smartphone app. With the launch, electron beams are generated that detect a target device within 8 degrees to the right or left and identify the device’s ID within a few seconds, based on image recognition technology. Thanks to Wi-Fi Direct, devices can be connected with each other without requiring a router or a wireless access point. 

While similar technology, near field communication-based Android-type beams, works within 10cm, ETRI’s visual communication technology uses radio waves, and thus it can operate within 70m. On top of that, when there are a lot of devices near the user, the number of detected devices can be reduced drastically compared to existing technology. In other words, ETRI’s technology can discover the correct target device faster. 

Once the new technology is commercialized, people will be able to transfer data from one smartphone to another without asking for the other party’s e-mail address or messenger ID at a meeting. Instant sharing and communication with strangers will also be made possible. 

For example, users will be able to listen to music or watch a video stored in their mobile device through a nearby stereo or TV. In addition, users will be capable of getting information about menus or prices of food at a restaurant, or about the interior of locations, without paying fees. It can be done by selecting the signs of restaurants, movie theaters, cafes, or department stores with the appropriate smartphone app.

Currently, the Korean research institute is planning to transfer the technology to social networking service companies, smartphone manufacturers, and mobile carriers. Researchers at ETRI say that the technology can be realized in the form of a chip installed on a smartphone and a dongle on a smart TV.  

Bang Seung-chan, head of the Wireless Transmission Research Department at ETRI, said, “The newly-developed technology is more efficient than any other technology in terms of the distance of communication, the time needed to discover the target device, and user convenience.” He added, “The technology will receive more attention in the mobile device market if used in wearable smart devices such as eyeglasses, or combined with a wireless technology that enables devices to connect directly to one another.