Your next smartphone will have radar

Dan Seitz Contributing Writer, Tech

Europe is often made fun of, largely thanks to the French. But that doesn’t mean it’s not capable of scientific innovation. Like the next big feature for your smartphone: An entire radar system crammed into a chip the size of your fingernail.

Radar antenna 167x214 Your next smartphone will have radar

Wikimedia Commons

Just to review, radar uses radio waves to determine the location and speed of objects.

The chip fits all the requirements to be crammed into basically everything: It’s small, just 8mm by 8mm. It’s cheap, costing about $1.29 to turn out per chip. It’s effective, having cost $3 million or so and three years of time to develop. And it’s really, really neat.

Granted, there’s very little day-to-day use you’d probably have for radar, although one obvious system is a warning that you’re about to ram into a lightpole or somebody else while texting. Radar is also used in digital signal processing to filter out noise in signals, so in theory it could make your calls clearer.

But it’s kinda cool to be able to track objects around you and if nothing else, $1.29 is a small price to pay to avoid being “Texting guy walks into pole” on YouTube.

A Low-Cost, Fingernail Sized Radar [CORDIS]

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