This is great. These engineers at the University of Michigan have put together a little device that can be powered and communicated to via the audio jack on your iPhone. This allows for low-power peripherals to be used with that port instead of Apple’s connector, saving money on both sides of the equation. No licensing, no proprietary hardware. The parts used cost a total of $2.34 in bulk, and the audio port can deliver “several milliwatts at 3 V to a load and offers a bidirectional communications channel at a data rate of 8.8 kbaud.”
There won’t be any data-heavy applications, then, but it’s more than enough to transfer text or a remote signal for a TV or tuner. Not sure if that’s enough power for a sustained wireless signal, but it could probably manage bursts with a little power management. They envision small, low-power sensors for things like moisture sensors, element detectors, and so on. Very cool.
[via Ars Technica]