The same infrared technology that allowed the world to change the channel without getting off the couch could vastly speed up wireless data transfers between devices. Somewhere deep in the halls of the Fraunhofer Institute infrared technology has been on life support all these years, and could soon fight its way back into the limelight with transfer speeds six times as fast as USB 2.0.
Besides TV remotes, the technology was last seen on devices like Palm Pilots facilitating the wireless transfer of contact info. But researchers at the Fraunhofer Institute for Photonic Microsystems IPMS in Dresden have rebuilt infrared -- making it better, stronger, and most importantly, faster. It now boasts transfer speeds of one gigabit per second, making it 46 times faster than "convential Wi-Fi" as the researchers claim, and over 1400 times faster than Bluetooth. The hardware, which relies on laser emitters and receivers no larger than a kid's fingernail, could be easily installed in smartphones so that sharing a large HD-res video could take mere seconds.
It's just too bad it's still hindered with line of sight limitations. Oh well, at least it will ensure TV remotes don't choke when you're flipping through millions of channels every second. [Fraunhofer via SlashGear]