Connecting to WiFi With Magic ‘Wanda’ (Gizmag)

Editor’s note: An earlier “In the News” story on this research linked to an article that contained inaccuracies. The inaccurate story has been removed.

Dartmouth has led an effort to “help in the broader realm of protecting patient privacy and confidentiality,” writes the website Gizmag.

“A prototype ‘magic wand’ has been developed that allows wireless devices to be securely configured and connected to a Wi-Fi network simply by pointing the wand at them. The device, dubbed ‘Wanda,’ was created with the goal of preventing hackers from gaining access to personal data from wireless and mobile health technologies, be they in the home or clinic,” Gizmag writes.

“Part of a National Science Foundation-funded project called Trustworthy Health and Wellness (THaW) that is steered by Dartmouth College, Wanda has been developed to help in the broader realm of protecting patient privacy and confidentiality,” continues  Gizmag. “This is particularly relevant with health records increasingly being transferred from paper files into digital format as healthcare services and medical devices become more computer-based and Web-connected to improve data quality and reduce costs.”

David Kotz ’86, the Champion International Professor of Computer Science, tells Gizmag that “these new technologies, whether in the form of software for smartphones or specialized devices to be worn, carried or applied as needed, also pose risks if they're not designed or configured with security and privacy in mind."

Gizmag writes that “Dartmouth doctoral student Tim Pierson and his team developed ‘Wanda’ as a wand-shaped device that consists of two antennas separated by one-half wavelength and uses radio strength as a communication channel.”

Read the full story, published 2/22/16 by Gizmag.