Home > articles, blog post, news > Breakthrough Technologies

Breakthrough Technologies

May 7, 2012

Applied Digital Solutions will unveil an operational prototype of its revolutionary Digital Angel technology … Chairman sees multi-billion dollar market potential via licensing and services integrated with Web-enabled wireless devices. The prototype…to be unveiled at an invitation-only, New York City event this October … represents a major communications technology breakthrough — the first-ever operational combination of bio-sensor technology and Web-enabled wireless telecommunications linked to GPS location-tracking systems.

Palm Beach, Florida, JULY 31, 2000 – Applied Digital Solutions, Inc. (NASDAQ:ADSX) today announced that it will host a special, invitation-only event in New York City this coming October to demonstrate an operational prototype of its revolutionary “Digital Angel”™ technology. As previously announced, the prototype of the device was to be ready by the end of this year. But Applied Digital’s Chairman and CEO, Richard J. Sullivan, said today that the development of the technology had progressed well ahead of schedule. In his comments announcing the October event, Richard Sullivan stated: “We’re extremely heartened by the remarkable progress made by Dr. Peter Zhou and his entire research team, including professors and their associates at Princeton University and the New Jersey Institute of Technology. This technology relates directly to the exploding wireless marketplace. We’ll be demonstrating for the first time ever that wireless telecommunications systems and bio-sensor devices – capable of measuring and transmitting critical body function data – can be successfully linked together with GPS technology and integrated with the Internet. This is a gigantic leap forward, one that also links directly to our Computer Telephony Internet Integration (CTII™) strategic focus. At its heart, Digital Angel involves integrating the very same communications technologies into a working system. We’ll soon be ready to move ahead to the production-design phase of Digital Angel geared to specific marketplace applications. The key message right now is this: Digital Angel isn’t a blue-sky technology. This is real. Digital Angel breakthrough technology is here. It’s live!”

While estimates of Digital Angel’s marketplace potential vary, there is little doubt that the technology will enable Applied Digital and its partners to tap into a multi-billion dollar market via various licensing arrangements, Web-enabled wireless services and data transactions handled by Applied Digital’s ASP (Application Service Provider) center. Those attending the event in New York City will see a working, multimedia demonstration of Digital Angel’s technological building blocks. A miniature sensor device — smaller than a grain of rice and equipped with a tiny antenna — will capture and wirelessly transmit a person’s vital body-function data, such as body temperature or pulse, to an Internet-integrated ground station. In addition, the antenna will also receive information regarding the location of the individual from the GPS satellite. Both sets of data — medical information and location — will then be wirelessly transmitted to the ground station and made available on Web-enabled desktop, laptop or wireless devices. This demonstration represents the first time these technologies have been united into one functioning system.

The New York City event – at a time, date and location to be announced later — will feature live presentations from top Applied Digital executives, including Richard Sullivan, Chairman and CEO; Dr. Keith Bolton, Chief Technology Officer; and Dr. Peter Zhou, President and Chief Scientist at Digital Angel.net Inc., Applied Digital’s wholly owned subsidiary that has been spearheading the drive to develop Digital Angel. Those attending the event will be a handpicked group of potential joint venture partners, as well as senior-level players in the e-commerce, wireless and Internet industries. Key stock analysts and media representatives will also be invited. Attendees will learn about the history of Digital Angel and its technological underpinnings, along with its many potential applications in the marketplace. Digital Angel’s Dr. Peter Zhou commented: “I’m particularly excited about Digital Angel’s ability to save lives by remotely monitoring the medical conditions of at-risk patients and providing emergency rescue units with the person’s exact location. I also see great potential for Digital Angel in the area of ‘location-aware’ e-commerce. This is a whole new wireless and Web-enabled frontier in which a purchaser’s actual location is integral to making a successful sale or providing a valuable, location-critical service.”

Background on Digital Angel™ – In December of 1999, Applied Digital Solutions announced that it had acquired the patent rights to a miniature digital transceiver — which it has named Digital Angel. In some of its applications, the tiny device is expected to be bonded closely to the body or implanted just under the skin. The Company believes Digital Angel will be able to send and receive data and be located by GPS (Global Positioning System) technology. In addition to monitoring the location and medical condition of at-risk patients, the Company believes Digital Angel could have other applications that will prove to be extremely popular in the marketplace. These applications include locating lost or missing individuals or household pets; tracking endangered wildlife; managing livestock and other farm-related animals; pinpointing the location of valuable stolen property; finding lost airline baggage and postal packages; managing the commodity supply chain; preventing the unauthorized use of firearms; and providing a tamper-proof means of identification for enhanced e-commerce security. For more information about Digital Angel, visit http://www.digitalangel.net.

About the CTII™ Initiative – Applied Digital Solutions has successfully focused its strategic direction and organized the company into four core business groups: Internet, Telephony, Network and Applications. As part of this successful transformation, the Company has positioned itself as a leading-edge provider of Computer Telephony Internet Integration (CTII) services. This CTII focus differentiates Applied Digital Solutions in the e-business solutions marketplace. With CTII, Applied Digital provides the full range of services and skills that companies need to conduct business online. Through its four integrated business groups, Applied Digital designs and deploys complete, front-to-back, web-enabled e-business systems — all with a single point of contact for the customer.

About Applied Digital Solutions, Inc. – Applied Digital Solutions is a leading-edge, single-source provider of e-business solutions. The Company differentiates itself in the marketplace by enabling e-business through Computer Telephony Internet Integration (CTII). With five-year revenue growth (from 1994 to 1998) of 64,012%, Applied Digital Solutions is ranked as the fifth fastest-growing technology company by Deloitte & Touche in its 1999 Technology Fast 500 listing. For more information, visit www.adsx.com. Statements about the Company’s future expectations, including future revenues and earnings, and all other statements in this press release other than historical facts are ‘forward-looking statements’ within the meaning of Section 27A of the Securities Act of 1933, Section 21E of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, and as that term is defined in the Private Litigation Reform Act of 1995. The Company intends that such forward-looking statements involve risks and uncertainties and are subject to change at any time, and the Company’s actual results could differ materially from expected results. The Company undertakes no obligation to update forward-looking statements to reflect subsequently occurring events or circumstances.

What is Digital Angel? Applied Digital Solutions has developed a new technology that we believe will revolutionize E-Business security, emergency location and medical monitoring and commodities supply chain management (food safety). That technology has been named Digital Angel™. ADS is actively seeking joint venture partners to develop and market this technology. We expect to produce a prototype of the device by the end of 2000. We believe the potential global market for this device – in all of its applications – could exceed $100 billion.

Basic Features of Digital Angel™ – The idea behind Digital Angel™ is to build a microchip that can be either implanted in or closely bonded to the body. This microchip will include biosensors that will measure the biological parameters of the body and store this information. It will also have an antenna that will receive signals from GPS satellites. The geological locator of the chip can be derived from these signals. The antenna also communicates with ground stations. It will receive commands from the stations and will send the biological information and location data to the ground station. This could take the form of a distress signal sent to a monitoring facility when the unit detects a medical emergency. The chip will be equipped with a micro battery. This battery will be self-rechargeable taking energy from the body or from its surroundings. All these components will be combined into a unit the size of a dime. Digital Angel™ will remain dormant most of the time. It will only be activated by the wearer or by commands from the ground station. The purpose is to save battery energy and to avoid interference with other devices, such as medical equipment or airplanes. The unit can be turned off by the wearer, thereby making the monitoring voluntary. It will not intrude on personal privacy except in applications applied to the tracking of criminals. Digital Angel™ measures bodily parameters; however, it does not interact with the body chemically or biologically. It is harmless and will not interfere with body functions in any way.

Limitations of Competing Technologies – While a number of other tracking and monitoring technologies have been patented and marketed in the past, they are all unsuitable for the widespread tracking, recovery and identification of people due to a variety of limitations, including unwieldy size, maintenance requirements, insufficient or inconvenient power-supply and activation difficulties. For the first time in the history of location and monitoring technology, Digital Angel™ overcomes these limitations.

Digital Angel Potential Uses – Digital Angel has numerous potential applications:

Medical Applications – Digital Angel™ could be used for monitoring patients. Doctors could access their patient’s vital signs remotely and then analyze them. They could detect potential problems before the patient even begins to notice the symptoms. The doctor would know where to locate the patient at the same time. This differs from the emergency pendulums some people wear. In many cases, patients are unable to push the button, and even if they do, the doctor would not know where to find the patient in order to help them.

Commodities Supply Chain Management/Food Safety – Digital Angel™ can be implanted in commodities such as cattle and other livestock to track health and location information from birth to processing. This will improve the standard of quality control and ensure a higher level a safety for commodity-related products provided to the customer.

Security – Another application is in the area of security. Digital Angel™ would be very useful in locating people who are in danger of being kidnapped. In the case of little children, the elderly, and athletes, such as skiers, getting lost is always an issue. In these cases, Digital Angel™ could be used as a guardian.

Warfare – In warfare, knowing where the soldiers are located, if they are alive or wounded, is a crucial factor to the Commanders.

Law Enforcement – Digital Angel™ can be used in law enforcement in keeping track of parolees, people under house arrest, and in the witness protection programs.

Animal Protection – Although Digital Angel™ is designed for the human being, it can be applied to household pets and endangered species.

Tracking – This device can be used to protect and trace valuable items such as museum art pieces, computer equipment, etc.

Identification – Digital Angel™ could be an important security method of protecting information because it could carry personal identification information. It could transmit this ID via wireless communication with personal computers. In this way, only the individual would be able to access his or her own information source.

Firearms Safety – Another example to this would be the accessing of firearms. It could be limited to the owner of the weapon only. There could be many other applications, but, in essence, Digital Angel™ will become an interface between the human body and the electronic network.

About ADS – Applied Digital Solutions is building a new kind of company – a single source businesses can turn to for integrated e–business systems. Typically, companies acquire their e–business systems on a piece by piece basis. One source provides the infrastructure – and other services needed to transport data from one destination to another. Still others provide the e–business equipment – the telephone and computer systems, data acquisition devices and other hardware – and the software technology – the applications, computer telephony and other e–commerce tools users need to create, receive and use multimedia communications. Only the largest companies have the internal resources needed to manage these multiple vendors effectively and derive the maximum value from the available technology. While we serve many of these companies, our vision is to create a resource for organizations that do not have the expert staff to work with multiple e–business vendors. We are building the capabilities to provide these customers with everything they might conceivably need in a e–business system. Since our founding in 1993, Applied Digital Solutions has been rapidly acquiring the development, manufacturing and delivery capabilities needed to deliver integrated e–business systems. Looking ahead, we have two primary goals. Our first is to continue establishing ourselves as leaders in e–business systems by providing superior value to end–users. Our second is to build the market through the acquisition and growth of specialty businesses all along the e–business and computer telephony internet integration path. By acquiring successful existing businesses, we have already been able to quickly build expertise in many facets of the e–business industry. Moving forward, our business units will work collaboratively on the development of products and services as we identify new market opportunities and develop strategic relationships with our customers.

Digital Angel, Inc. (NASDAQ: DIGA) develops global positioning satellite (GPS) and radio frequency identification (RFID) technology products for consumer, commercial, and government sectors worldwide. Headquartered in Delray Beach, Florida, their products include RFID applications, end-to-end food safety systems, GPS/Satellite communications, and telecommunication, security infrastructure and the controversial Verichip human implant. Applications for this burgeoning technology include pets, wildlife and livestock identification using implantable microchips, scanners and antennas. Digital Angel has manufactured RFID microchips for millions of pets throughout the world, providing them with unalterable and permanent identification should they become lost or stolen. Digital Angel makes RFID products for farmers, ranchers, sale barns and other livestock producers to identify and track animals. Digital Angel has developed GPS search and rescue beacons that integrate geosynchronous communications for use by the military and the private sector to track aircraft, ships and other high value assets.

Source: “Digital Angel™ Breakthrough Technology Goes Live!”)

“Smart dust” could soon by spying on you by Duncan Graham-Rowe, New Scientist, 08/26/99

Cleanliness freaks have a new rationale for their pathological hatred of dust — it could soon be spying on them. Packed full of sensors, lasers and communications transceivers, particles of “smart dust” are being designed to communicate with one another. They could be used for a range of applications from weather monitoring to spying. The tiny “motes” are being developed at the University of California, Berkeley, as part of a programme to produce the smallest possible devices that have a viable way of communicating with each other. Each mote is made up of a number of microelectromechanical systems, or MEMS, wired up to form a very simple computer. At present each mote is 5 millimetres long, but Kris Pister, one of the developers, says that in future they could be small enough to remain suspended in air, buoyed by the currents, sensing and communicating for hours. The latest version not only has a thick-film battery powering it but also a solar cell to recharge it. “This remarkable package has the ability to sense and communicate, and is self-powered,” says Randy Katz, a communications engineer on the project. He presented the latest work at last week’s Mobicom99 mobile computing meeting in Seattle.

MEMS are made using the same photolithographic techniques as integrated circuits, so once perfected they should be easy to mass-produce. Patterns are etched out of a silicon wafer to create structures such as optical mirrors or tiny engines. Each mote in a smart-dust system will need to survive on extremely low power, while being able to communicate kilobits of data per second. To this end, says Katz, the team has designed motes that shut down parts of themselves when they are not being used. The latest challenge has been to devise a system that enables the motes to communicate. Katz and his colleagues decided to use optical transceivers because of their low energy demand compared with radio communications. According to Pister they have already shown that they can monitor the dust 21 kilometres across San Francisco Bay. “There’s no way you’re going to get that kind of range except with optical devices,” he says. “The base station may actually reside in a hand-held unit, much like a pair of binoculars,” says Katz. This would allow for simultaneous viewing of the scene from afar while superimposing any measured data on the image. He adds that this approach could be especially useful for hazardous applications such as detecting chemical weapons or sending the dust into space. The next task is to build distributed intelligence into the dust to produce “swarm behaviour.”

Source: “Smart dust” could soon by spying on you by Duncan Graham-Rowe, New Scientist, 08/26/99

Excerpts from Wildlife Radio Tagging: Equipment, Field Techniques, and Data Analysis, Academic press, 1987.

Preface – Biologists use animal radio tags for two main purposes: to locate study animals in the field, and to transmit information about the physiology or behaviour of wild or captive animals. These uses can be described, respectively, as “radio tracking” and “radio telemetry,” the latter term being derived from the Greek words for distance and measurement. Wildlife radio tags were first used for telemetry. One of the earliest projects, inspired by the use of physiological telemetry on U.S. Navy test pilots, resulted in an implanted transmitter to monitor chipmunk heart- rates (Le Munyan et al., 1959). This study closely coincided with a publication from Norway describing an externally-mounted transmitter for telemetering heart and wing beats from mallard (Eliassen, 1960). The construction of these first tags, in the late 1950s, was crucially dependent on the development of the transistor. The first radio tags transmitted a continuous signal, with physiological changes being indicated by slight changes in the signal frequency. Similar frequency modulation (FM) of a continuous carrier signal is still widely used for medical telemetry of animals in laboratories, because it is a very accurate way of conveying subtle changes in muscle potentials, neural activity, joint pressures, and other physiological parameters.

For wildlife radio tags, however, the cell life can be greatly extended if the signal is transmitted as brief pulses of the carrier frequency. In theory, at least, one 25 ms pulse could be repeated every second for 40 times as long as a continuous signal from the same cell. Moreover, a faint pulsed signal is easier for the human ear to detect, against the continuous background noise from wideband FM broadcasts or cosmic radiation, than a continuous whine. Wildlife radio tracking has therefore, since its start in the early 1960s (e.g. Cochran and Lord, 1963; Marshall and Kupa 1963), been based almost exclusively on tags built for pulsed signals. During the last two decades, radio tagging has become an important biological technique. A great deal of useful information has been published on the subject, in the proceedings conferences in Europe (e.g. Amlander and MacDonald, 1980; Cheeseman and Mitson, 1982), from the proceedings of the International Conferences on Wildlife Biotelemetry held in North America, in technical notes from research organizations or equipment suppliers, and in hundreds of other scientific papers.

Indeed, there is so much published material that the beginner hardly knows where to start looking for simple advice. Even those with experience have difficulty deciding which equipment to use, or how best to collect and analyze their data. This book is a general guide to radio tracking and activity monitoring with pulsed-signal radio tags. The most elementary tags have constant pulse rates and are used for radio tracking, either to sample an animal’s position with single fixes or for radio surveillance: using the radio tag to find the animal so that it can be watched, captured or monitored in other ways. Such tags can also have their pulses modulated by a variety of simple sensor subcircuits to telemeter temperature, posture, movement, compass orientation and other aspects of animal activity. These tags are normally worn externally, to simplify replacement and to obtain the strongest signals. I have included a brief review of implantation, which is the best way to tag some species and is now the rule for physiological telemetry.

Chapter 2, Basic Equipment – Complex circuits are required for tags which can telemeter information from more than one sensor, for instance by modulating pulse duration and pulse interval, or by sending a train of pulses in which each is modulated by a different sensor (Smith, 1974; Standora, 1977; Lotimer, 1980). Since it is no simple matter to assemble receiving equipment which can interpret these signals, the use of multiplex tags has so far remained the province of groups working with electronics engineers. However, suitable wildlife tags and receiving packages will probably become available commercially in due course. This could also apply to frequency-modulated tags which contain microphones, to transmit calls or feeding noises (Greager et al., 1979; Gautier, 1980).

F. Data Storage – Work on marine animals and some diving seabirds, from which radio tags can transmit a signal very infrequently, has been a strong incentive for developing tags which can store information on dive depths, durations and physiology for transmission the animal surfaces. A crude tag of this type, containing sensors, analogue-to-digital conversion, and logic circuitry, clock and memory costs about L300 to build (Robinson, 1986). Present designs transmit relatively small quantities of data in repeated signal streams, which are triggered by a pressure sensor as the animal surfaces or by a master transmission (i.e. in a transponding mode). Future designs could store large quantities of behavioral data, perhaps dumping these once a day to automatic receiving stations at bird or bat roost sites or near carnivore dens.

VI. Tags for Tracking by Satellite – Tags for tracking by satellite have been used since the early 1970s, on wapiti (Buechner et al., 1971), polar bears (Kolz et al., 1980; Schweinsburg and Lee, 1982), turtles (Timko and Koltz, 1982) and basking sharks (Priede, 1980). The early tags weighed 5-11 kg, for location by the Nimbus 3 and Nimbus 6 weather satellites. Satellite tracking works on the Doppler principle. A frequency shift in each received signal indicates the satellite’s speed relative to the tag, and the tag’s direction is computed from the ration of this speed to the satellite’s true ground speed. For example, a ground-speed/relative-speed ratio of 1:2 would give a tag bearing of 45[degrees] to the satellite’s track. To estimate a fix, at least two uplinks are needed during each pass, which may take as little as 10 min (horizon to horizon). Since the tag’s could then be on either side of the satellite’s track, it can only be located unambiguously (i) if it can be recorded again from the different track on another orbit, or (ii) with reference to a recent previous fix, or (iii) if one of the two computed positions is impossible (e.g. for a whale on dry land!).

Since 1978 the Argos system has been made available for animal tracking. This equipment, designed and operated by CNES in Toulouse, is carried on two Tiros satellites of the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Argos charges only $10 per day per tag, and tag power requirements are reasonable: a 360-920 ms pulse train, of which the first 160 ms must be constant carrier (at 401.65 MHz) for the Doppler vectoring, at 1-2 W. However, the intended location accuracy of within 5 km requires a very high frequency stability. Signals are rejected if they shift more than 2 Hz during a satellite pass, or 24 Hz between orbits (Priede, 1986). Compare this with the drift of perhaps 50 Hz per C[degree Celsius] in normal tracking tags. Moreover, the Argos system requires at least four uplinks over an interval of at least 7 min during a satellite pass. Tracking by satellite is the most economic technique for wide-ranging marine mammals, although the uplink requirements mean that few fixes are obtained for species which are rarely on the surface. This is because the number of satellite passes per day ranges from only seven, at the equator, to 15 at higher latitudes. Satellite tracking also has considerable potential for monitoring migration routes and important feeding areas for large raptors, cranes, and seabirds. This potential is likely to be realized, thanks to the recent development of suitable 160 g solar-powered tags, the first of which have been used in the satellite tracking of bald eagles and giant petrels (Fuller et al., 1984).

Source: Excerpts from Wildlife Radio Tagging: Equipment, Field Techniques, and Data Analysis, Academic Press, 1987

“Thought-controlled” Neuroprosthesis

ROSSLYN, Va., March 6, 2000—Biomedical engineers have developed a prototype neuroprosthesis that a quadriplegic can use to grasp and manipulate objects just by thinking about it. The experimental device combines muscle-stimulating electrodes implanted under the skin with a computer sensitive to brain waves. Brain signals activate the electrodes that cause the hand muscles to contract. This research goes back 20 years for Hunter Peckham, Ph.D., professor of biomedical engineering at Case Western Reserve University and director of the Functional Electrical Stimulation Center, a consortium of the Cleveland VA Medical Center, Case Western and MetroHealth Medical Center. The work of Peckham and his colleagues has resulted in the first Food and Drug Administration-approved neuroprosthesis that uses electrodes implanted under the skin to give patients the ability to manipulate their paralyzed limbs. The device, called the Freehand System, was licensed by Case Western to a private start-up company, NeuroControl. The Freehand System is operated by a joystick-like device worn under the clothing. The patient moves the joystick with the opposite shoulder. The joystick activates implanted electrodes that stimulate muscles to open and close the hand. More than 150 patients are using the system.

Now Peckham’s laboratory is experimenting with other control devices. Clinical trials are under way on a system that uses an implanted sensor at the wrist to control muscle stimulation. It also enables patients to reach overhead. Another system in earlier stages of development is one that uses brain activity as detected by an electroencephalogram to control the neuroprosthesis. The new prototype, which has only been tested in the laboratory, couples an advanced, Freehand-like system with a monitor sensitive to brain waves. The monitor is worn like a shower cap dotted with electrodes. Wires lead from the electrodes to a computer that converts the brain signals into signals that open and close the hand. Jim Jatich, 51, of Akron, Ohio, a quadriplegic injured in a diving accident 20 years ago, has tested the system with some encouraging results. He gained mental control of the device after a series of training sessions in which he learned to regulate his beta-rhythm through biofeedback. During the training, Jatich learned to move a cursor up or down on a computer screen just by thinking about it. Then he was connected to the neuroprosthesis. By thinking about moving the cursor up, he opened his hand, and by thinking “down,” his hand closed. He can use the device to pick up objects like a drinking glass and a fork.

“Now if I think open, my hand just opens,” Jatich said. “It’s just weird. But I have to keep thinking open, open, open. If I think of anything else I lose control. So there’s a switch that locks my hand in the open or closed position.” “We just have to get rid of the cap, and that’s the next step. Then we’d have a totally implanted system under the scalp, and that would also produce a better signal,” Jatich said. Peckham’s group is also evaluating whether the brain signals will be sufficient to give Freehand users the full range of motion now available with the conventional device.

Source: “Thought-controlled” Neuroprosthesis

%d bloggers like this: