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Dartmouth Researchers Invent 'magic Wand' to Improve Healthcare, Cybersecurity

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Adding a blood pressure monitor to Wi-Fi network with the flick of a wand.

Dartmouth College professor David Kotz demonstrates how a digital "magic wand" makes it easy to connect a blood pressure monitor to a Wi-Fi network.

Credit: Dartmouth College

A digital "magic wand" developed by Dartmouth College researchers makes it easy for people to connect their devices to Wi-Fi.

The system, called "Wanda," was developed as part of a U.S. National Science Foundation-funded project. The Trustworthy Health and Wellness initiative aims to protect patients and their confidentiality as medical records move to electronic form. The team's solution is designed to make it easy for people to securely add a new device to their home or clinic Wi-Fi network.

Wanda is a small hardware device that has two antennas separated by one-half wavelength and uses radio strength as a communication channel. Users pull the wand from a USB port on the Wi-Fi access point, carry it close to the new device, point it at the device, and within a few seconds the wand securely beams the secret Wi-Fi network information to the device.

"We anticipate our 'Wanda' technology being useful in a wide variety of applications, not just healthcare, and for a wide range of device management tasks, not just Wi-Fi network configuration," says Dartmouth professor David Kotz.

Dartmouth doctoral student Tim Pierson says Wanda was received by volunteer testers, who noted how frustrating it can be to configure wireless devices at home.

From Dartmouth College
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