From the land of nuclear energy, Bordeaux, and Descartes, the freedom loving French have done it again. A materials invention has emerged that has the power to change the rancorous debate over smart meter health concerns, and not a minute too soon.
....and not a minute too soon. The debate I am referring to is the argument from some utility customers that the wireless radio emissions from smart meter systems negatively impact human health. That this argument is taken seriously in the first place is a leap of faith on many levels. But let's not stir up that hornet's nest again. Instead, let's focus on the product that responds to pretzel logic with logic and hopefully reduces the costly efforts utilities are creating to respond to, well, Bizzaro World antics.
The material being referred to is a Wi-fi blocking wall paper invented by the Institut Polytechnique de Grenoble, in cooperation with the Centre Technique du Papier. Link here: http://arstechnica.com/information-technology/2012/05/anti-wifi-wallpaper-lets-cellular-and-radio-through/
The paper blocks Wi-fi signals but lets through radio signals at different frequencies such as those that support cellular and FM radio (e.g. 1900 MHz, 700 MHz, 88 - 108 MHz (FM radio band), etc) . To be accurate, most smart meters on a wireless network in North America operate in the 900 MHz band, and Wifi operates in the 2.4 GHz (2400 MHz) band. The paper then would need to be tweaked but in principle it should be quite achievable to block 900 MHz too.
The value proposition of this paper will appeal to anybody that wishes to selectively avoid exposure to a particular radio band but also selectively enjoys the societal benefits of other radio bands. For example, a utility customer that argues that 900 MHz based smart meter radio networks is deleterious to one's health, while at the same time, the utility customer calls her babysitter on a mobile phone (operating in the 1900 MHz band) to let her know she is going to be two hours late because the PUC commission hearing is running late due to the public rancor over baseless health concerns over smart meters radio networks. Then the consumer uses the Wi-fi connected laptop to blog about the pièce de résistance while getting a cappuccino at the local Starbucks. That's who would benefit from this material. Sure, it's a sardonic bit but how does one sugar coat it? We are surrounded by radio waves, ones that man propagates, and the many that nature provides for us.
The argument against smart meters radio networks is similar to a person vilifying wine because of the alcohol content but then that same person happily drinks beer and whiskey, gets plastered, and then denies the predictable inebriation that resulted.
At the least, the invention may boost the U.S. hat market with a fine new material that appeals to wing nuts everywhere.