As wearable devices and medical implants become more common, their likelihood of being targeted by hackers increases, with stakes that could be even higher than traditional computer viruses. But researchers at Purdue University have a way to improve both the security and longevity of these devices: a switch from conventional electromagnetic wireless signals to lower-frequency electro-quasistatic signals.

The premise of the research is that people are increasingly becoming “body area networks” for wrist, head, and internal devices that can either be controlled solely by the user or externally — the latter for better or worse. Someone with a Bluetooth-capable defibrillator might want to provide near-field wireless access for a doctor’s checkup or ongoing battery monitoring, but not be susceptible to getting shocked or disabled by

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