a.k.a. sensor

The nickname for battery-powered, ultrasonic transmitters. Small enough for a key chain or a belt, they're worn by people or placed inside objects. They broadcast a 48-bit pulse to receivers that are embedded in ceilings.

Here's how they work: By using the speed of sound, the receivers compare the transmitter's arrival time at three or more locations and calculate the wearer's precise position. A computer then uses this location information to create zones of "usage" and "availability" around objects and people. For example, if a person's zone overlaps an object's zone, the person becomes the temporary "owner" of that device (whether it is a workstation or digital camera). So, there is no need to log on, and whatever you create using that device (such as a document or a picture) is automatically stored on a server in your personal file. The AT&T Lab in Cambridge, England has more than 800 bats; sounds like the early makings of WiFi.

This technology also refers to sentient AI which is the capacity for artificial intelligence to have subjective perceptions, feelings and experience, including robots and machines. In this way, bats are pager-sized ultrasonic transmitters being developed by AT&T for use in "sentient computing." They are designed to communicate with receivers to establish a user's identity and fix his or her location, granting access to digital services.

NetLingo Classification: Net Hardware