HJ-ED-DHJHerald Journal Columns
April 23, 2007, Herald Journal

Do you have a Bluetooth?

By MARK OLLIG

We see people wearing them in their ears everyday.

There are no wires connected to it.

It has a brilliant blue color logo in it.

I noticed that my son even wears one.

Is it a new style of fashionable ear jewelry that I am behind the times about?

Could it be a new type of high-tech hearing aid?

I needed to know what it was, so I asked my son, “What is that “blue thing” attached to your ear?”

“It’s a Bluetooth,” he casually replied.

“A blue what?” I asked. “Do you need to make a dentist appointment? Is your tooth unhappy?” I laughingly said.

He gave me one of those expressionless son to father stares.

He then told me it was a wireless earpiece that works with his cell phone.

Son number three showed me how he could answer his cell phone . . . without having to reach (or find) the actual cell phone itself.

To make a call, he simply used voice commands.

I know many people are using this. I see them talking over those blue devices – fashionably plugged into their ears – everyday as I am driving in to work.

Number three son really likes the use of this Bluetooth technology, as it allows him to work in his shop and keep the cell phone close to a window or spot where the cellular signal provides the best reception.

The wireless earpiece is using a separate “carrier signal” operating in the 2.4 GHz IM radio frequency range (The IM band is defined as 2,400-2,483 MHz) that links to the cell phone.

I found a sentence that sums it up nicely: “Bluetooth wireless technology is a short-range communications system intended to replace the cables connecting portable and/or fixed electronic devices.”

That is about it in a nutshell.

I probably should mention here that I was aware of something called Bluetooth.

I currently use a Belkin Bluetooth wireless printer adapter for connecting my printer to my laptop, wirelessly.

I saw this wireless printer adapter on display when I bought my laptop.

As far as I was concerned, “Belkin Bluetooth” was just the name of the company.

It is great not using a cable to connect my Epson printer to my laptop. The printer cable plugs into an adapter that “talks” or transmits the data with the other end over this Bluetooth wireless carrier signal.

My laptop is plugged into the connecting adapter end via a USB port.

I was impressed the first time I was able to print from the laptop through the wireless Bluetooth connection without any troubles.

The distance from the table where I use the laptop to the printer is about 15 feet. 30 feet is about the maximum distance that I was able to still print from the laptop wirelessly.

I had been using this for about a year, and never gave much thought that “Bluetooth” technology was also being applied to other applications besides computing and wireless networking.

As I began to research this, I learned that in 1998, a group was formed for the promotion and continuous development of this new wireless technology.

The five founding companies were: Ericsson, Intel, IBM, Toshiba and Nokia.

So why do they call it “Bluetooth?” I wondered.

It seems the name Bluetooth is taken from the 10th century Danish King Harald Blatand. This name ends up translating to Harold Bluetooth in English.

One evening in 1998, while talking about European history and the future of wireless technology, several people from this new technology group felt it was appropriate to name the technology after King Blatand.

It appears that King Blatand had been influential in uniting warring groups in parts of what are now Denmark, Sweden and Norway. This technology group made the analogy to the new wireless technology, which is designed to allow technical “cooperation” between differing businesses like computing, cellular, and automotive markets.

The code name for this type of wireless technology became “Bluetooth.”

In 1998, The Bluetooth Special Interest Group (SIG) was formed and they officially adopted the project name “Bluetooth” as the name of this new wireless carrier technology.

A Scandinavian firm originally designed the Bluetooth logo, which combines the Runic alphabetic characters “H” which looks similar to an asterisk and a “B”. If you look carefully at the logo on any Bluetooth device you can see it.

In 2000, the first Bluetooth consumer product reached the market. It was a Bluetooth headset and phone adapter.

Any company that uses the Bluetooth wireless technology needs to be a member of The Bluetooth Special Interest Group. This group now has over 7,000 members.

On November 14, 2006, the one-billionth Bluetooth device was shipped.

To learn more about Bluetooth technology you can check out http://www.bluetooth.com/bluetooth/.

If you have a genuine “blue-tooth,” see your dentist.