Red Tacton: NTT and 'Human Area Networking'

Trust the Japan­ese to use human bod­ies as con­duit for net­work transmissions.

Japan­ese com­pany Nip­pon Tele­graph and Tele­phone Cor­po­ra­tion (NTT) claims to have devel­oped the first viable Human Area Net­work (HAN) device, enabling fast data trans­fer between devices using the human body as a conduit.

NTT reck­ons this lat­est advance on the wire­less Per­sonal Area Net­work con­cept — dubbed Red­Tac­ton — can trans­mit data over the sur­face of the skin at up to 2Mbps. Where it dif­fers, though, from pre­vi­ous offer­ings, is that a RedTacton-enabled device does not have to be in direct con­tact with the skin — only within about 20cm. NTT explains the tech­ni­cal background:

Instead of rely­ing on elec­tro­mag­netic waves or light waves to carry data, Red­Tac­ton uses weak elec­tric fields on the sur­face of the body as a trans­mis­sion medium. A Red­Tac­ton trans­mit­ter cou­ples with extremely weak elec­tric fields on the sur­face of the body. The weak elec­tric fields pass through the body to a Red­Tac­ton receiver, where the weak elec­tric fields affects the opti­cal prop­er­ties of an electro-optic crys­tal. The extent to which the opti­cal prop­er­ties are changed is detected by laser light which is then con­verted to an elec­tri­cal sig­nal by a detec­tor circuit.

Red­Tac­ton can also "trans­mit" through cloth­ing or shoes, allow­ing the use­ful pos­si­bil­ity of down­load­ing MP3s through a floor-based sen­sor while danc­ing the Lam­bada. What's more, you can swap files by straight human con­tact, so two file­shar­ers equipped with Rad­Tac­ton devices can indulge in tor­rid ille­gal P2P activ­ity and have sex at the same time.

But apart from that, why bother with Red­Tac­ton when Blue­tooth can already do the job wire­lessly? With Blue­tooth, it is dif­fi­cult to rein in the sig­nal and restrict it to the device you are try­ing to con­nect to. You usu­ally want to com­mu­ni­cate with one par­tic­u­lar thing, but in a busy place there could be hun­dreds of Blue­tooth devices within range.

Besides, humans appar­ently make poor aeri­als, some­thing which is good for secu­rity because even if you encrypt data it is still pos­si­ble that it could be decoded, but if you can't pick it up it can't be cracked.

NTT says it is com­mit­ted to "mov­ing Red­Tac­ton out of the lab­o­ra­tory and into com­mer­cial pro­duc­tion as quickly as pos­si­ble by orga­niz­ing joint field tri­als with part­ners out­side the com­pany". There's more tech­ni­cal info avail­able here.


Microsoft last year patented a sys­tem for "trans­mit­ting power and data using the human body". It's based on the IBM con­cept, but MS sees the tech­nol­ogy being used pri­mar­ily for power, rather than data transfers.

  • kiran kumar

    the invenc­tion of red tac­ton is really impres­sive, by see­ing this topic i decided to give a sem­i­nar in my col­lege in india, but i dont know much infor­ma­tion about the device, can you pro­vide the url's where i can found a lot of info about red tac­ton.
    s.kiran kumar
    national insti­tute of tech­nol­ogy

  • kiran .aki

    I require the actual pro­ce­dure of recep­tion and trans­mis­sion in red tac­ton duplex trans­mis­sion is pos­si­ble in this technology?some of the appli­ca­tions ,atleast one with actual descrip­tion of kindly pro­vide the infor­ma­tion as I would like to give sem­i­nar in this topic

  • sri

    a detailed appli­ca­tions of redtacton

  • venu reddy

    Does the waves gen­er­ated by body inter­fere with red tac­ton elec­tric field?

  • sim­ina m p

    I want to know more about red­tac­ton and wish to present a sem­i­nar on that. could u plz send the inner work­ing of red­tac­ton. and i want to know how the data pass through human body,is der any cur­rent pass­ing through it, if so how much volts

  • sam

    can u give me more detail abt the dif­fer­ences between red­tac­ton and blue­tooth with exam­ple .…wat­ing for u reply ..


  • bhure­wal s r

    nice explaina­tion but need to include details.….….….…

  • meenal

    can u give me more details on the work­ing of red tac­ton ,its com­par­i­son with other technologies,one actual descrip­tion of the topic,red tac­ton enabled kindly pro­vide the infor­ma­tion as i would like to give a sem­i­nar on this topic.


  • vikas

    I want to know more about red­tac­ton and wish to present a sem­i­nar on that. could u plz send the inner work­ing of red­tac­ton. and i want to know how the data pass through human body,is der any cur­rent pass­ing through it, if so how much volts

  • Ana Diassi­nas

    Can you please email ways to reduce the laser beam effects. How would you reduce the red­tac­ton from work­ing and how would you pro­tect your eyes etc
    Many thanks

  • vamshi
  • http://google iranna

    The inven­tion of This Red­Tac­ton device is very impressive.The topic is very inter­est­ing thats why i am decided to give sem­i­nar on this topic.But i am not get­ting the real draw backs can you please send me the draw backs of this HAN.….