Subramanian pointed me to this article. Researchers at Microsoft have devised a technique to assimilate the human body as a conduit for consumer electronics. Electrodes attached to body use the skin as a system bus to transmit data and as a conductive medium to distribute power between devices. The human body is used as a conductive medium, e.g., a bus, over which power and/or data is distributed. Power is distributed by coupling a power source to the human body via a first set of electrodes. One or more devise to be powered, e.g., peripheral devices, are also coupled to the human body via additional sets of electrodes. The devices may be, e.g., a speaker, display, watch, keyboard, etc. A pulsed DC signal or AC signal may be used as the power source. By using multiple power supply signals of differing frequencies, different devices can be selectively powered. Digital data and/or other information signals, e.g., audio signals, can be modulated on the power signal using frequency and/or amplitude modulation techniques.
Microsoft’s desired effect is to cut back on the I/O redundancy that results from when multiple devices attempt to communicate. The patent explains that by exchanging data, e.g., as part of a network, a single data input or output device can be used by multiple portable devices, eliminating the need for each of the portable devices to have the same input/output device.