Repurposing old technology to build products of the future
Originally developed decades ago and widely used in a range of industrial applications, the technology known as Time Domain Reflectometry (TDR) is on the verge of changing life as we know it.
A team of researchers from the University of Munich and the Hasso Plattner Institute in Germany have been working on turning everything you poke your fingers at into a touch-enabled device.
It sounds kind of far-fetched, but the technique is well proven in industry and shows real potential to break through into the consumer realm.
See how TDR might become a part of your every day in a short clip after the break.
The way it works is by sending electrical pulses down a wire, and monitoring the energy that is reflected back. Contact anywhere along the length causes interference that is able to be measured and pinpointed, which is why this method has long been used to check for faults in underwater cabling. This same technology is being refined to be incorporated into everything from clothing and homewares to the myriad of electronic devices that we engage with as a part of our modern lives.
It will still take time to shrink the technology behind TDR down until it is small enough to become ubiquitous, but when it happens, the way we use so many other technologies may never be quite the same again.