Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT) announced Wednesday that it will release the next version of the Windows operating system, Windows 8.1, on Oct. 17. Among the new features, Microsoft will add support for NFC printing. But a new development from Microsoft India may even be more exciting, as it aims to replace NFC, or Near-Field Communication, altogether.

Named Dhwani, the technology uses sound to transmit data. Dhwani works through a device’s microphone and speaker, meaning all devices could theoretically communicate directly with each other without the need for new hardware.


Dhwani only works at short distances, like NFC, but is much slower, only transmitting data at 2.4kbps, which would limit its usefulness to small transmissions like exchanging digital payments, notes and contact information.

Microsoft uses Jamsecure to strip out ambient noise, which allows data to still be transferred in loud areas. The technology also prevents other devices from intercepting the transmission.

Microsoft isn’t the only one researching how to use sound waves for mobile devices. In May, IBTimes reported on a Norwegian company, Elliptic Labs, that developed a touchless gesture interface for smartphones, tablets and PCS that also uses microphones and speakers.