Annoying mobile phones going off in in cinemas might be a thing of the past as scientists in Japan work out a way of blocking signals using wooden panelling.
According to New Scientist magazine, the special panels sandwich a layer of nickel-zinc ferrite between thin slices of wood. The magnetic ferrite absorbs most of the energy of the radio signal, cutting the phone dead in most cases.
Developed by Hideo Oka at Iwata University in Morioka, tests carried out on the composite panels - by placing them over antennas used to transmit signals onGSM, Bluetooth and Wi-Fi frequencies - proved successful.
The tests showed that a four-millimetre sandwich of wood and ferrite stopped 97 per cent of the power of a test signal.
Shielding panels made up of the material could eventually be sold in hardware shops. They might also be useful to shield wireless computer networks from prying eyes outside of a building.
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