Sunday, February 15, 2015

Oh, patents! Bluetooth®

Copyright © Françoise Herrmann

Cables begone! Bluetooth® technology is electronic engineering at its best, and Viking history re-visited on a global level!

Bluetooth® wireless communication technology, assigned to the Swedish company Ericsson, enables your Bluetooth®-supported devices to communicate wirelessly and securely with each other at short distances (< 100 meters or 328 feet). 

For example, this is the technology that enables you to use a router (connected to a modem and the Internet) and all the Bluetooth®-enabled devices of your home for a wireless connection to the Internet (via Bluetooth® to the router), including any such Bluetooth© enabled devices as a computer, a printer, a TV, speakers, a sound system, a refrigerator, an alarm system, a thermostat and/or a mobile phone. 

Bluetooth® technology is also used for wireless communication of data (music, voice, photo, video) among billions of other paired Bluetooth® supported products (even toothbrushes or forks), including medical devices for robotic prostheses and surgery.

According to one of the inventors, Jaap Haartsen, the name Bluetooth® is a translated eponym that refers back to the Scandinavian Vikings, and King Harald I of Denmark whose epithet was “Blåtand” (blåtand meaning blue-tooth in Old Norse). King Harald I “Blåtand” Gormsøn was a Danish monarch with a reputation of resorting to diplomacy instead of the sword, having succeeded in uniting all the tribes of Denmark, and Norway for a while, during the tenth century AD.

This is also the reason why the Bluetooth® logo was selected as representing King Harald I “Blåtand”’s initials inscribed in runic letter symbols. Runic alphabets were used for Germanic languages, including Old Norse, before the advent of Latin letter symbols. 

Thus, it is in this Viking spirit of peaceful unity that Bluetooth® technology was named, itself for the purposes of connecting (i.e.; uniting) disparate devices at short distances, and consequently expanding the potential of existing means of communication while supplying connection to everyday objects.

Bluetooth® technology uses miniaturized radio transmitter technology to exchange data within the un-licensed Industrial, Scientific and Medical (ISM) frequency bandwidth at 2.4 to 2.485 GHz. The invention uses the principle of a “spread-spectrum, full-duplex, frequency-hopping signal” at the rate of 16,000 hops per second to avoid interference from static and non-hopping ISM networks such as WIFI in the vicinity of a piconet, dynamically created when Bluetooth® devices connect. Data is exchanged within a WPAN (Wireless Personal Area Network) also called a piconet or “bubble” at distances shorter than 100 meters or 328 feet, comprising at least one master device and a maximum seven actively connected “slaves”.

The PCT (Patent Cooperation Treaty) patent that recites the Bluetooth® invention, WO9949593 titled A communication device and method for operation of long-range and short-range radio was awarded in 1999. The invention includes both hardware and software (i.e.; device and method), as it includes the radio transmitter and the connection protocol, the finer details of which are left to electronic engineers to appreciate.

Below, the Abstract for WO9949593 titled A communication device and method for operation of long-range and short-range radio, and an EPO YouTube video of the story of Bluetooth® told by Jaap Hartsen, one of the inventors, are both included.
A short-range radio transmitter of a communication device comprising a short-range radio and a long-range radio is controlled to delay packets which are scheduled to be transmitted at the same time as a long-range transmitter of the long-range radio commences or discontinues to transmit. A frequency synthesizer of the short-range radio is thereby not affected by a change in the power supply voltage which otherwise occurs at these moments due to transmission with high power by the long-range transmitter. Abstract WO9949593

- Ericsson 
- How Bluetooth® works (Nov. 5, 2007)
- Bluetooth® technology 101. A brief tutorial on Bluetooth® technology:
- What is  Bluetooth® technology? Learn Bluetooth® basics:

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