[Fwd: IP: Fantasma obit draft]

From: Eugene.Leitl@lrz.uni-muenchen.de
Date: Sun Apr 15 2001 - 04:20:57 PDT

-------- Original Message --------
From: David Farber <dave@farber.net>
Subject: IP: Fantasma obit draft
To: ip-sub-1@majordomo.pobox.com

>From: "Janos G." <janos451@earthlink.net>
>To: "jg" <janos451@earthlink.net>
>Subject: RFC: Fantasma obit draft
>Date: Sun, 15 Apr 2001 00:37:48 -0700
>Fantasma is no longer a reality as firm closes
>Janos Gereben - the451
>Quietly and unexpectedly, Fantasma Network closed up shop Friday evening,
>the451 has learned. The January, 2000, spin-off from Paul Allen's Interval
>Research, Fantasma took aim at making ultra-wideband (UWB) radio signals
>commercially viable as the tool to integrate home entertainment systems and
>Internet access.
>The Palo Alto company, with close ties to Stanford University, promised
>making UWB technology available to consumer electronics, Internet appliance,
>PC and game manufacturers in the second half of 2001. Fantasma pledged
>first-generation products supporting data rate transmission up to 60 Mbps at
>a distance of 100 feet (30 meters). The company had a brilliant cast of
>characters, including G. Roberto Aiello (founding president, later CTO,
>formerly with the Stanford Linear Accelerator), Carlton Sparrell (director
>of hardware engineering, from the MIT Media Lab), Minnie Ho (director of
>system communication engineering, from Interval and, before that,
>fiber-optic and wireless-packet researcher), and Jim Lovette (director of
>strategic policies, formerly principal communications technologies scientist
>for Apple Computer).
>Through its short life, Fantasma struggled with a regulatory environment,
>which has taken some 60 years - since the patent by Heddy Lamar and George
>Antheil giving rise to UWB technology - to come to terms with the safety and
>non-interference of ultra-wideband. a process still incomplete. The FCC,
>while recognizing the potentially wide applicability UWB for use in wireless
>communications aimed at creating short-range, high speed data transmission
>networks, is still at work modifying regulations to enable widespread
>commercial use of the technology.
>Company sources cited both the tenuous FCC process and lack of new investors
>for closing Fantasma, but several industry observers said the major problem
>was the company not meeting its development milestones.
>Lovette, who represented Fantasma before the FCC, told the451 last year that
>there is too much hype surrounding UWB: "Some say that it provides unlimited
>bandwidth for every user; direct communications range worldwide; uses a
>single AA cell that lasts a year; makes cellular obsolete; uses same
>frequencies as all other wireless but overlays them invisibly and causes no
>interference, eliminates the need for FCC, costs about same as a Big Mac and
>fries but is less fattening. and so on."
>The truth, Lovette said, is that ultra-wideband radio "is in fact a powerful
>new technological tool. Where it fits (and that has some well-defined
>limits), it's better than existing alternatives and some of the claims are
>at least based on some half-truth, but many have been grossly overstated."
>Integration of communication devices has been predicted and advocated by
>many scientists, most notably the late Mark Weiser of Xerox PARC. Weiser's
>"ubiquitous computing" articles and lectures forecast a world which, Lovette
>said, "there will be a (wireless) data communications device on or as part
>of almost everything living and dead: each document, piece of clothing (no
>more fleeing socks), pet, person, zinnia in the garden, tomato. We already
>have one enabler of this, the bar code. A UWB transmitter or receiver could
>be an ideal way to implement some of these, costing negligibly and no more
>intrusive (or less) than the library's theft-preventer that's stuck in the
>There are scores of young companies working on UWB development and on
>technology incorporating it, including Atheros, BeamReach, Pervasive, Aelita
>(in Russia), TimeDomain, and hundreds of major firms - such as AOL,
>Motorola, Compaq - who participate in the Ultra Wideband Working Group
>industry association.
>Janos Gereben/SF, CA

For archives see: http://www.interesting-people.org/

This archive was generated by hypermail 2b29 : Sun Apr 29 2001 - 20:25:47 PDT