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Laser demonstration reveals bright future for space communication

December 26, 2013 11:07 am | by Dewayne Washington, NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center | News | Comments

The completion of the 30-day Lunar Laser Communication Demonstration (LLCD) mission has helped confirm laser communication capabilities from a distance of almost 250,000 miles. In addition to demonstrating record-breaking data download and upload speeds to the moon at 622 and 20 Mbps, respectively, LLCD also showed that it could operate as well as any NASA radio system.  

Researchers send world’s first text message using vodka

December 19, 2013 10:08 am | News | Comments

After successfully text messaging “O Canada” using evaporated vodka, two researchers in Canada and their UK-based counterpart say their simple system can be used where conventional wireless technology fails. The chemical signal, using the alcohol found in vodka, was sent 4 m across the lab with the aid of a tabletop fan.

Researchers design first battery-powered invisibility cloaking device

December 18, 2013 1:37 pm | News | Comments

Researchers at The Univ. of Texas at Austin have proposed the first design of a cloaking device that uses an external source of energy to significantly broaden its bandwidth of operation. The team has proposed a design for an active cloak that draws energy from a battery, allowing objects to become undetectable to radio sensors over a greater range of frequencies.

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Can smartphones snap out of technological stupor?

December 13, 2013 3:05 pm | by Michael Liedtke and Youkyung Lee, AP Technology Writers | News | Comments

Although high-definition displays on smartphones have gotten bigger and their cameras have gotten better, the pace of gee-whiz innovation has dawdled. Smartphone and software makers are working on ways to snap out of this technological lull, although it probably will be at least another year or two before breakthroughs revolutionize the design and function of mobile computing devices.

Graphene-based nanoantennas may enable networks of tiny machines

December 12, 2013 9:07 am | News | Comments

Networks of nanometer-scale machines offer exciting potential applications in medicine, industry, environmental protection and defense, but until now there’s been one very small problem: the limited capability of nanoscale antennas fabricated from traditional metallic components. With antennas made from conventional materials like copper, communication between low-power nanomachines would be virtually impossible.

NSA: No better way to protect U.S. than surveillance

December 11, 2013 4:49 pm | by LARA JAKES - AP National Security Writer - Associated Press | News | Comments

The NSA chief said Wednesday he knows of no better way his agency can help protect the U.S. from foreign threats than with spy programs that collect phone and Internet records from around the world. Pleading with the Senate Judiciary Committee to not abolish the National Security Agency's bulk-collection programs, Gen. Keith Alexander warned that global threats are growing that pose what he called "an unacceptable risk" to America.

New system allows for high-accuracy, through-wall, 3-D motion tracking

December 11, 2013 12:19 pm | by Abby Abazorius, MIT News Office | News | Comments

Gaming could become much more realistic with new technology developed at the MIT Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Lab (CSAIL) that permits highly accurate, 3-D motion tracking. The new system, dubbed “WiTrack”, uses radio signals to track a person through walls and obstructions, pinpointing her 3-D location to within 10 to 20 cm, about the width of an adult hand.

SwRI now operating a test bed for intelligent, connected vehicles

December 9, 2013 9:40 am | News | Comments

A connected vehicle network, with vehicles exchanging information with the highway infrastructure and other vehicles using wireless communications, could improve traffic safety, mobility and environmental impacts. Southwest Research Institute, which has considerable expertise in intelligent vehicle development, is now serving as an official Connected Vehicle Affiliated Test Bed for this technology.

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Industry Breakout - Information & Communications Technologies

December 9, 2013 6:08 am | by R&D Magazine/Battelle | Articles | Comments

The information and communications technologies (ICT) industry, and the significant level of R&D that supports it, is driven by constant change in consumer preferences, market demand and technological evolution. The ICT industry is the largest private-sector R&D investor in the U.S., performing nearly one-third of the total.

“Spooky action” builds a wormhole between entangled particles

December 4, 2013 8:07 am | News | Comments

Quantum entanglement, a perplexing phenomenon of quantum mechanics that Albert Einstein once referred to as “spooky action at a distance,” could be even spookier than Einstein perceived. A team of physicists believe the phenomenon might be intrinsically linked with wormholes, hypothetical features of space-time that in popular science fiction can provide a much-faster-than-light shortcut from one part of the universe to another.

Scientists combine antennas with solar panels

December 3, 2013 7:56 am | News | Comments

Researchers in Switzerland have managed to combine antennas and solar cells to work together with unprecedented efficiency in a near future. This is a first step towards more compact and more lightweight satellites. The technology could also be deployed in the autonomous antenna systems used in the aftermath of natural disasters.

Mission possible: Simulation-based training and experimentation on display

December 3, 2013 7:53 am | by Eric Beidel, Office of Naval Research | News | Comments

The Office of Naval Research is demonstrating the Fleet Integrated Synthetic Training/Testing Facility (FIST2FAC) in Florida this week, showing how gaming technology is helping naval forces develop operations strategies in a hassle-free way.

Amazon.com sees delivery drones as the future

December 2, 2013 1:44 pm | by Scott Mayerowitz, AP Business Writer | News | Comments

Online retailer Amazon.com aiming to deliver packages quicker than pizza. Its so-called Prime Air unmanned aircraft project, now underway in Amazon’s research and development labs, could get goods to customers in 30 minutes or less. But the company admits it will take years to advance the needed technology and for the needed federal Aviation Administration rules and regulations to be created.

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3-D images, with only one photon per pixel

December 2, 2013 7:49 am | by Larry Hardesty, MIT News Office | News | Comments

Lidar rangefinders gauge depth by emitting short bursts of laser light and measuring the time it takes for reflected photons to arrive back and be detected. In Science, researchers from Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Research Laboratory of Electronics describe a new lidar-like system that can gauge depth when only a single photon is detected from each location.

Peering through the intergalactic dust

November 26, 2013 10:47 am | News | Comments

Where do you go to look at the stars? Away from city lights, certainly. But if you're serious about peering far out into space, to the observable edges of our universe, at submillimeter wavelengths, you have to do a little better than that. You have to go farther and higher, up to where the atmosphere is thin. And if you want to look at the stars for more than a few nights a year, you also need some place that is very, very dry.

How losing information can benefit quantum computing

November 26, 2013 8:34 am | News | Comments

Suggesting that quantum computers might benefit from losing some data, physicists at NIST have entangled—linked the quantum properties of—two ions by leaking judiciously chosen information to the environment. The NIST experiments used two beryllium ions as quantum bits (qubits) to store quantum information and two partner magnesium ions, which were cooled with three ultraviolet laser beams to release heat.

Flashes of brilliance

November 25, 2013 11:17 am | News | Comments

Spontaneous bursts of light from a solid block illuminate the unusual way interacting quantum particles behave when they are driven far from equilibrium. The discovery by Rice Univ. scientists of a way to trigger these flashes may lead to new telecommunications equipment and other devices that transmit signals at picosecond speeds.

Dim traffic sensors dull how “smart” freeways are

November 25, 2013 8:46 am | by Justin Pritchard, Associated Press | News | Comments

Buried under thousands of miles of pavement in California are 27,000 traffic sensors that are supposed to help troubleshoot both daily commutes and long-term maintenance needs on some of the nation's most heavily used and congested roadways. About 9,000 of them do not work, despite their critical role in an "intelligent transportation" system designed to do things like detect the congestion that quickly builds after an accident.

Web inventor: Surveillance threatens democracy

November 22, 2013 8:24 am | News | Comments

The scientist credited with inventing the World Wide Web, Tim Berners-Lee, says a growing tide of surveillance is threatening democracy's future. Lee, a former R&D Magazine Scientist of the Year said Friday that as more people use the Internet and social media to "expose wrongdoing," some governments are feeling threatened.

Scientists create perfect solution to iron out kinks in surfaces

November 20, 2013 8:50 pm | News | Comments

A new technique that allows curved surfaces to appear flat to electromagnetic waves has been developed by scientists in England. The discovery could hail a step-change in how antennas are tailored to each platform, which could be useful to a number of industries that rely on high performance antennas for reliable and efficient wireless communications.

Columbia engineers make world's smallest FM radio transmitter

November 18, 2013 9:29 am | News | Comments

A team of scientists have demonstrated new application of graphene using positive feedback. Using graphene’s electrical conduction, Columbia Univ. engineers have created a nano-mechanical system that can create FM signals. It is, in effect, the world's smallest FM radio transmitter.

South Africa cemeteries to microchip tombstones

November 15, 2013 11:13 am | by Carley Petesch, Associated Press | News | Comments

Amid a rash of tombstone thefts from cemeteries in Johannesburg, a company will be offering relatives of the deceased a high-tech solution: microchips that can be inserted into the memorial that will sound an alarm and send a text message to their cell phones if it is disturbed.

Thin, active invisibility cloak demonstrated for first time

November 13, 2013 7:44 am | News | Comments

Invisibility cloaking is no longer the stuff of science fiction: Two researchers at the Univ. of Toronto have demonstrated an effective invisibility cloak that is thin, scalable and adaptive to different objects. The team designed and tested a new approach to cloaking—by surrounding an object with small antennas that collectively radiate an electromagnetic field. The radiated field cancels out any waves scattering off the cloaked object.

Bacteria may allow animals to send quick, voluminous messages

November 11, 2013 3:41 pm | News | Comments

Twitter clips human thoughts to a mere 140 characters. Animals’ scent posts may be equally as short, relatively speaking, yet they convey an encyclopedia of information about the animals that left them. Recent research show that the detailed scent posts of hyenas are, in part, products of symbiotic bacteria, microbes that have a mutually beneficial relationship with their hosts.

Inkblots improve security of online passwords

November 8, 2013 7:00 am | News | Comments

Carnegie Mellon University computer scientists have developed a new password system that incorporates inkblots to provide an extra measure of protection when, as so often occurs, lists of passwords get stolen from websites. This new type of password, dubbed a GOTCHA, would be suitable for protecting high-value accounts, such as bank accounts, medical records and other sensitive information.

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