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26 May, 2006 - 17:37 By Staff Reporter

All singing, all dancing interactive posters look set to hit the streets

A new low-cost technology that enables shoppers to access videos, images and music via Bluetooth from street posters is to be launched by the end of the summer in the UK.A new low-cost technology that enables shoppers to access videos, images and music via Bluetooth from street posters is to be launched by the end of the summer in the UK.

Cambridge-based Hypertag has struck a partnership deal with an unnamed media owner who initially plans to use around 100 sites in London for the wireless interactive posters.

The technology was developed with the aid of Cambridge Consultants’ (CCL) xIDE software development kit, which is now being used by a number of firms eager to apply Bluetooth to devices in new markets and could be seen in health monitoring devices in the not too distant future.

CCL’s Tim Fowler said: "While the bread and butter market for Bluetooth is mobile phones and headsets, the wide availability and capability of the wireless technology is attracting companies such as Hypertag to use it in extremely novel ways.

"We’re now seeing demand for our toolkit from markets as diverse as consumer goods to medical devices."

Hypertag’s pioneering solution has managed to cram the Bluetooth system in a single low cost chip – reducing size, weight, cost and power consumption.

The chip can be embedded into a poster or carried on a badge in the field by promotional staff to pass on content such as ringtones, MP3 samples or detailed diary dates, which can be entered onto a users mobile phone, PDA or laptop.

As well as the poster campaign, it will also be used by O2 promotional staff at the Isle of Wight music festival next month, with other major UK music festivals set to follow.

Previously this kind of information had to be downloaded using infra-red or with a small PC installed behind the ad or carried in a rucksack. Hypertag’s breakthrough single chip solution will give its clients much greater freedom within the Bluetooth option as well as an access to a much larger audience.

Hypertag software engineer, Graeme Tricker, said: "Cambridge Consultants’ Bluetooth software development tool has made it possible to replace a larger and more expensive PC arrangement with a stripped-down solution that is small, robust, and consumes far less power. It’s helping us take a big step forward with our interactive advertising."

The implementation was made possible by CCL’s xIDE software development kit, which gives users unrestricted access to the processing power of the microprocessor inside the market-leading Bluetooth chip, BlueCore, created in Cambridge by CCL spin out, CSR.

Tests of the resulting design show that each BlueCore chip typically delivers content to current real-world phones at the same kind of speeds as PC solutions. This enables an MP3 or video clip to be transmitted in 10 or 20 seconds.

Hypertag is not the only company looking at Bluetooth and how it can innovate new applications. CCL has received a lot of interest from firms in other markets, particularly medical instrumentation.

CCL is in fairly early stages with a mixture of international and UK companies that are keen to deploy the technology in the heathcare arena. Though full details have not been made public, it seems the the firms are focusing on Bluetooth-enabled health monitoring devices.

Potential applications include passing the information from a patient’s bedside directly to a doctor’s PDA, eliminating the need to write out notes, which would ultimately lessen the time needed to complete a round of visits.

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