Consider this radical idea. Rather than have a variety of devices—such as cell phones, TV sets or radios—each pick up individual signals for a particular application, why not allow a single device pick up all the signals at once and mix, match and manipulate them in a number of ways.
That single device would allow custom software applications to re-direct and use those wireless transmissions as the recipient likes. It potentially would also act as a base station that would allow the re-routing of the signals to a myriad of other devices. And it could facilitate tasks like making free calls from a mobile phone or sending off-air HDTV transmissions to a portable tablet for viewing in the field.
This is not science fiction. A company called Per Vices said it has done just that with a new PCI card-based product called Phi. (The company’s founders, Victor Wollesen and Yi Yao, are a physicist and an electrical engineer that used to work in the defense industry.) It’s based on the concept of a single device capturing all wireless signals from the air and is essentially a transceiver that can demodulate and process signal data up to 4 Gigahertz. (See video)
One of Per Vices’ “receivers” can set up a decentralized wireless network where mobile devices and desktops are sending communications to each other instead of one where all mobile phones have to send and receive signals from carrier-operated cell phone towers.
So far, Per Vices is focusing on the hacker and hobbyist market with a PCI card (a software defined radio) that supports only Linux computers. The company’s stated longer-term goal is to build something that’s both accessible and affordable to the mainstream market.
On their website, Phi retails for $666 for just the card or $750 with antennas. In one demo, users you can pick-up HDTV transmissions and route those signals to a mobile device.
Per Vices is hoping that hackers will find even more interesting ways of using Phi, similar to how some developers figured out how to subvert Microsoft’s Kinect.
Thank you for signing up to TV Tech. You will receive a verification email shortly.
There was a problem. Please refresh the page and try again.