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In with antennas, out with cables

August 1, 2013 12:28 pm | News | Comments

Cable clutter is an eyesore and a tripping hazard in one. Researchers have developed a new kind of antenna hidden in tables that can wirelessly supply electronic devices with power. The power extends throughout the tabletop without the need for a large, impractical coil. The “tables” can transmit data, too.

Engineers identify key factors for wireless power transfer

July 31, 2013 10:00 pm | News | Comments

What happens to a resonant wireless power transfer system in the presence of complex electromagnetic environments, such as metal plates? A team of researchers has explored the influences at play in this type of situation, and they describe how efficient wireless power transfer can be achieved in the presence of metal plates.

Navy turns to UAVs for help with radar, communications

July 31, 2013 5:12 pm | by Eric Beidel, Office of Naval Research | News | Comments

Fluxes and turbulence caused by the interaction between the air and sea can significantly alter the path of electromagnetic waves in radar and communications systems. In effort to boost the U.S. navy’s communications performance at sea, researchers deployed Office of Naval Research unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) in an effort to determine the ocean and atmospheric weather variations that can change the angle that radar and radio waves bend.

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Radio waves carry news of climate change

July 30, 2013 1:16 pm | News | Comments

The ionosphere, one of the regions of the upper atmosphere, plays an important role in global communications. Now, researchers have discovered that the radio waves reflecting back to Earth from the ionosphere offer valuable news on climate change as well.

Study: Online tools accelerating earthquake-engineering progress

July 30, 2013 12:11 pm | by Emil Venere, Purdue Univ. | News | Comments

The George E. Brown Jr. Network for Earthquake Engineering Simulation (NEES), based at Purdue Univ., includes 14 laboratories for earthquake engineering and tsunami research, tied together to provide information technology for the network. A new study has found that online tools, access to experimental data and other services provided through this "cyberinfrastructure" are helping to accelerate progress in earthquake science.

Station astronauts remotely control planetary rover from space

July 30, 2013 9:17 am | by Rachel Hoover, NASA Ames Research Center | News | Comments

Just as remotely-operated vehicles help humans explore the depths of the ocean from above, NASA has begun studying how a similar approach may one day help astronauts explore other worlds. On June 17 and July 26, NASA tested the Surface Telerobotics exploration concept, in which an astronaut in an orbiting spacecraft remotely operates a robot on a planetary surface.

Los Alamos lab upgrades Powerwall Theater with visualization projection

July 25, 2013 11:53 am | News | Comments

The Powerwall Theater (PWT) at Los Alamos National Laboratory is an innovative facility that enables researchers to view the complex models and simulations they have created using some of the world’s fastest supercomputers. Recently, PWT was upgraded with 40 double-stacked Christie Mirage 3-D LED projectors that will provide seamless, integrated 3-D visualization.

New app puts idle smartphones to work for science

July 23, 2013 12:00 pm | by Robert Sanders, Univ. of California, Berkeley | News | Comments

Android smartphone users will soon have a chance to participate in important scientific research every time they charge their phones. Using a new app created by researchers at the Univ. of California, Berkeley, users will be able to donate a phone’s idle computing power to crunch numbers for projects that could lead to breakthroughs ranging from novel medical therapies to the discovery of new stars.

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Researchers demonstrate internal tagging for 3-D printed objects

July 23, 2013 11:50 am | News | Comments

According to scientists at Carnegie Mellon Univ. and Microsoft Research, the same 3-D printing process used to produce an object can simultaneously generate an internal, invisible tag. These internal tags, which the have been dubbed InfraStructs, can be read with an imaging system using terahertz radiation. As terahertz technology develops, these tags could have many applications.

New methods visualize bacterial cell-to-cell communication

July 18, 2013 4:05 pm | News | Comments

Researchers in Switzerland have developed a live-cell fluorescent labeling that makes bacterial cell-to-cell communication pathways visible. The communication between bacterial cells is essential in the regulation of processes within bacterial populations, such as biofilm development.

Electronic monitoring systems can improve hygiene compliance

July 18, 2013 3:34 pm | News | Comments

GOJO Industries, a maker of hand hygiene and skin health and inventors of Purell Hand Sanitizer, conducted an independent research study at the John Peter Smith Hospital in Fort Worth, Texas to determine the impact on hand hygiene compliance rates when the hospital hand hygiene program included an electronic compliance activity monitoring system. The research showed a 92% hand hygiene improvement.

Study: Electronic health records help fight vaccine-preventable diseases

July 18, 2013 2:11 pm | News | Comments

Researchers at Columbia Univ. School of Nursing have found that electronic health record (EHR) system to automate the immunization data shared between health providers and public health agencies enables physicians to assist individual patients faster and more effectively, while also providing more immediate, cohesive community data to the agencies tasked with promoting public health.

Using RFID for fiber composites

July 18, 2013 1:48 pm | News | Comments

Antennas that are capable of transmitting radio waves turn components into intelligent objects. Researchers in Germany have now found a way to embed these antennas in fiber composites. As a result, the technology also works with carbon and glass fibers.

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China's online population rises to 519 million

July 17, 2013 10:04 am | News | Comments

China's population of Internet users has grown to 591 million, driven by a 20% rise over the past year in the number of people who surf the Web from smartphones and other wireless devices, an industry group reported Wednesday. The rise of Web use has driven the growth of new Chinese industries from online shopping and microblogs to online video.

Eye-tracking could outshine passwords if made user-friendly

July 17, 2013 8:20 am | by Michelle Ma, Univ. of Washington | News | Comments

Researchers at the Univ. of Washington say one of the reasons face- and eye-recognition systems haven’t taken off is because the user’s experience often isn’t factored into the design. Their recent study, one of the first in the field to look at user preferences, found that speed, accuracy and choice of error messages were all important for the success of an eye-tracking system.

Who are you? NIST biometric publication provides two new ways to tell quickly

July 16, 2013 1:55 pm | News | Comments

A Personal Identity Verification (PIV) card is a government-issued smart card used by federal employees and contractors to access government facilities and computer networks. To assist agencies seeking stronger security and greater operational flexibility, NIST has made several modifications to the previous version of Biometric Data Specification for PIV cards.

Experts say U.S. spy alliance will survive Snowden

July 16, 2013 9:34 am | by Nick Perry and Paisley Dodds, Associated Press | News | Comments

American information is so valuable, experts say, that no amount of global outrage over secret U.S. surveillance powers would cause Britain, Canada, Australia and New Zealand to ditch their collaborative spying arrangement: the Five Eyes. Revelations from NSA leaker Edward Snowden, they say, are unlikely to stop or even slow the global growth of secret-hunting—an increasingly critical factor in the security and prosperity of nations.

Distorted GPS signals reveal hurricane wind speeds

July 15, 2013 3:55 pm | by Stephen J. Katzberg and George G. Ganoe, NASA Langley, and Jason Dunion, University of Miami | News | Comments

By pinpointing locations on Earth from space, GPS systems have long shown drivers the shortest route home and guided airline pilots across oceans. Now, by figuring out how messed up GPS satellite signals get when bouncing around in a storm, researchers have found a way to do something completely different with GPS: measure and map the wind speeds of hurricanes.

High-tech gadgets monitor seniors' safety at home

July 15, 2013 9:51 am | by Lauran Neergaard, AP Medical Writer | News | Comments

Research is growing with high-tech gadgets that promise new safety nets for seniors determined to live on their own for as long as possible. Motion sensors on the wall and a monitor under the mattress one day might automatically alert loved ones to early signs of trouble well before an elderly loved one gets sick or suffers a fall.

DARPA unveils ATLAS robot

July 15, 2013 9:12 am | News | Comments

In DARPA’s Virtual Robotics Challenge, 28 competing teams applied software of their own design to a simulated robot in an attempt to complete a series of tasks that are prerequisites for more complex activities. Just seven teams advanced to the next round, which was unveiled last week at Boston Dynamics: ATLAS, one of the most advanced humanoid robots ever built.

Miniature backup for when your GPS fails

July 11, 2013 8:10 am | News | Comments

In an apple seed-sized pellet of glass, Univ. of Michigan engineering researchers have packed seven devices that together could potentially provide navigation in the absence of the satellite-based Global Positioning System (GPS.) Space-based GPS is far from fail-proof. It doesn't work indoors, near tall buildings or in heavy cloud cover; and it's relatively easy to jam, researchers say.

Invention transforms plain surfaces into low-cost touchscreens

July 10, 2013 9:26 am | News | Comments

A low-cost system developed in Singapore, based on the principles of vibration and imaging, can turn a whiteboard, glass window or even a wooden tabletop into a responsive, touch-sensitive surface. According to its developers, retrofitting the system onto existing flat-panel TVs will transform them into new, touch-sensitive display screens.

Navy to attempt first unmanned carrier landing

July 10, 2013 9:16 am | by Brock Vergakis, Associated Press | News | Comments

Landing an airplane on an aircraft carrier deck is one of the most difficult tasks a pilot is asked to do. On Wednesday, the Navy will attempt to accomplish the same task with a drone. If all goes as planned, a successful landing of the X-47B experimental aircraft will mean the Navy can move forward with its plans provide around-the-clock surveillance and strike capability.

Princeton researchers create "bionic ear"

July 8, 2013 7:17 am | News | Comments

With a 3-D printer, a petri dish and some cells from a cow, Princeton Univ. researchers are growing synthetic ears that can receive—and transmit—sound. The 3-D ear is not designed to replace a human one, though; the research is meant to explore a new method of combining electronics with biological material.

Developers achieve world record in optical coupling efficiency

July 3, 2013 3:27 pm | News | Comments

Researchers of the Univ. of Stuttgart have achieved a new world record in coupling efficiency between optical fibers and integrated silicon waveguides. The breakthrough, which resulted in a coupling efficiency of 87%, was based on newly developed aperiodic grating coupler structures optimized at the nanoscale.

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