Project Hijack: Could Cheaper iPhone Accessories Be In The Future?

Apple, iPhone apps

Hijacking Power and Bandwidth from the Mobile Phone’s Audio Interface – Integrated Prototype from Thomas Schmid on Vimeo.

Ever wondered why iPhone accessories are so expensive? In short: any company that creates an accessory that uses the 30-pin connector has to pay Apple huge licensing fees, as it is their proprietary tech. However, if accessories could make use of the headphone jack these licensing fees could be avoided. Enter Project Hijack.

A team of engineering students and faculty at the University of Michigan have developed an open protocol for using the headphone jack as an accessory port. Low power devices currently use the headphone jack in just this way, and Project Hijack aims to utilize this. Currently the technology can convert a 22kHz audio signal into 7.4mW of power running at 47% efficiency.

This new tech is primarily intended for those looking to build low-power, sensor-based accessories on a budget, as it can be mass produced for as low as $2.34. So far, they’ve used Project Hijack to create EKG monitors, potentiometers, motion sensors and moisture/humidity sensors.

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