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Hi-tech paint promises to kill cellphone reception in public places

by Bob Crabtree on 2 March 2006, 12:11

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A New York company called NaturalNano is claiming that it's developed a paint that can block cellphone and WiFi signals - yet be toggled off to allow selective, chargeable access.

If the paint works as promised, then public venues, such as cinemas, libraries and theatres (as well as schools) could become HELLO!-free zones, without the usual cost involved of embedding wiring into walls to shield radio-frequency signals. But, it also means that companies could charge WiFi users to access their own networks and networks that they themselves don't provide.

According to Michael Riedlinger, president of NaturalNano,

“Exclusive access to this patent [from AMBIT Corporation] for fixed installations allows NaturalNano to offer a RF shielding solution utilizing its pre-loaded natural halloysite nanotubes technology combined with the ability to selectively turn on and off the impact of such shielding. This in turn enables authorized users to log onto a private network in an area that is otherwise RF shielded. Depending on the specific user requirements, this technology provides the framework for a potential new revenue stream into a facility’s networking solutions for prospective customers and visitors. This technology also allows the facility operator to potentially charge fees for wireless access within an otherwise RF shielded environment. In addition, many existing structures including concert and convention halls, movie theaters, and other buildings could benefit from enhanced control over outside radio frequency radiation with a passive, cost-effective solution.”

We're not sure about the chargeable side of things but do fully sympathise with the idea of cellphone-free public venues and schools. What we were wondering, though, is if there's any chance that nanotechnology - or technology of any other sort - might help with a related but quite different problem, the LACK of cellphone reception.

What we'd like is a paint that can amplify cellphone signals. That really would be a breakthrough - not least because it would mean we'd at last be able to use cellphones in our east London offices!

Check out NaturalNano's take on its latest development and let us know in the your thoughts on the pros and cons of cellphone-killing (and selective-WiFi) paint.

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