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In 'golden age' of surveillance, U.S. has big edge

July 2, 2013 11:13 am | by RAPHAEL SATTER - Associated Press - Associated Press | News | Comments

The saga of Edward Snowden and the NSA makes one thing clear: The United States' central role in developing the Internet and hosting its most powerful players has made it the global leader in the surveillance game. Other countries, from dictatorships to democracies, are also avid snoopers, tapping into the high-capacity fiber optic cables to intercept Internet traffic.

New system to transform communications for airline pilots

July 1, 2013 1:27 pm | News | Comments

Digital systems are an everyday routine for more and more passengers, and even Internet is now available. But pilots are largely cut off from this development with a system that is separate and largely analog. Under development in Germany is a new system that will digitally transmit air traffic and weather communications with the ground and via satellite at high speeds.

Hospitals seek high-tech help for hand hygiene

June 28, 2013 12:19 pm | by Jim Salter, Associated Press | News | Comments

Hospitals have fretted for years over how to make sure doctors, nurses and staff keep their hands clean, but with only limited success. Now, some are turning to technology—beepers, buzzers, lights and tracking systems that remind workers to sanitize, and chart those who don't.

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Low-power WiFi system tracks humans, even behind walls

June 28, 2013 9:14 am | by Helen Knight, MIT News correspondent | News | Comments

Researchers have long attempted to build a device capable of seeing people through walls. However, previous efforts to develop such a system have involved the use of expensive and bulky radar technology that uses a part of the electromagnetic spectrum only available to the military. Now a system being developed at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology can spot people in different rooms using low-cost Wi-Fi technology.

New photon detector knows when to “not know”

June 26, 2013 12:53 pm | News | Comments

In secure communications, which can rely on quantum information contained in one of four wavelength phase states, wrong is worse than "I don't know." Researchers at NIST and the Joint Quantum Institute have built a single-photon detector that avoids this problem, making highly accurate measurements of incoming photons while knowing when not to give a conclusive answer.

Conversation robot from Japan ready for outer space

June 26, 2013 11:45 am | by Azusa Uchikura, Associated Press | News | Comments

The world's first space conversation experiment between a robot and humans is ready to be launched. Developers from the Kirobo project, named after "kibo" or hope in Japanese and "robot," gathered in Tokyo Wednesday to demonstrate the humanoid robot's ability to talk.

South Korea mobile network touted as world's fastest

June 26, 2013 3:38 am | by YOUKYUNG LEE - AP Technology Writer - Associated Press | News | Comments

South Korea's largest mobile operator is this week launching what it says is the world's fastest wireless network. SK Telecom Co. said Wednesday that the LTE-Advanced network can download data at speeds twice as fast as LTE networks and 10 times faster than third generation services.

New trophallactic strategy allows multiple UAVs to fly in formation

June 21, 2013 10:24 am | News | Comments

In recent years, formation control of multiple unmanned aerial vehicles has an important aerospace research topic. Engineers in China have recently investigated the trophallactic—or fluid exchange by direct contact—swarming behavior exhibited by a variety of animals, including birds and insects. By imitating that behavior and considering the communication requirements of the network control system, a new network control method was proposed.

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Reported: First entanglement between light and optical atomic coherence

June 20, 2013 7:36 am | News | Comments

Using clouds of ultracold atoms and a pair of lasers operating at optical wavelengths, researchers have reached a quantum network milestone: entangling light with an optical atomic coherence composed of interacting atoms in two different states. The development could help pave the way for functional, multimode quantum networks.

GTRI agile aperture antenna technology tested on autonomous ocean vehicle

June 19, 2013 4:28 pm | News | Comments

Antenna technology originally developed to quickly send and receive information through a software-defined military radio may soon be used to transmit ocean data from a wave-powered autonomous surface vehicle. The technology, the lowest-power method for maintaining a satellite uplink, automatically compensates for the movement of the antenna as the boat bobs around on the ocean surface.

Scientists discuss new photo-taking satellite

June 19, 2013 12:52 am | by Dirk Lammers, Associated Press | News | Comments

Nearly 120 scientists and engineers from around the world are meeting in South Dakota this week to discuss operational and technical issues with collecting images from the Landsat 8 satellite. In February, NASA launched the satellite, which takes images of every inch of the Earth’s surface to see what happens over time, and recently handed over operational control of it to the EROS Center.

New method helps distinguish between neighboring quantum bits

June 18, 2013 10:42 am | News | Comments

Researchers at the Univ. of New South Wales have proposed a new way to distinguish between quantum bits that are placed only a few nanometers apart in a silicon chip, taking them a step closer to the construction of a large-scale quantum computer.

Google begins launching Internet-beaming balloons

June 17, 2013 2:54 pm | by Martha Mendoza and Nick Perry, Associated Press | News | Comments

Eighteen months in the works, the top-secret project was announced Saturday in New Zealand, where up to 50 volunteer households are already beginning to receive the Internet briefly on their home computers via translucent helium balloons that sail by on the wind 12 miles above Earth. Google is launching these Internet-beaming antennas into the stratosphere aboard giant, jellyfish-shaped balloons.

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Can you feel me now?

June 14, 2013 7:31 am | by Jennifer Chu, MIT News Office | News | Comments

In the near future, a buzz in your belt or a pulse from your jacket may give you instructions on how to navigate your surroundings. Think of it as tactile Morse code: vibrations from a wearable, GPS-linked device that tell you to turn right or left, or stop, depending on the pattern of pulses you feel.

Researchers reveal next-generation emergency response technology

June 13, 2013 5:07 pm | News | Comments

Americans are accustomed to calling 9-1-1 to get help in an emergency. A research team lead by Ram Dantu of the University of North Texas sees the growth of cell phone and smartphone usage as an opportunity to improve 9-1-1 response. His team has designed several innovative smart phone apps that virtually place 9-1-1 operators at the scene of an emergency, allowing faster response.

With brain-computer interface, tasks become as simple as waving a hand

June 11, 2013 6:07 pm | by Michelle Ma, University of Washington | News | Comments

Small electrodes placed on or inside the brain allow patients to interact with computers or control robotic limbs simply by thinking about how to execute those actions. Researchers have recently shown the brain can adapt to this brain-computer interface technology. Their work shows that it behaves much like it does when completing simple motor skills such as kicking a ball, typing, or waving a hand.

Whispering light hears liquids talk

June 7, 2013 12:02 pm | News | Comments

Ever been to a whispering gallery—a quiet, circular space underneath an old cathedral dome that captures and amplifies sounds as quiet as a whisper? Researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and the University of Michigan are applying similar principles in the development optomechanical sensors that will help unlock vibrational secrets of chemical and biological samples at the nanoscale.

Is Big Data turning government into 'Big Brother?'

June 7, 2013 3:08 am | by MICHAEL LIEDTKE - AP Technology Writer - Associated Press | News | Comments

With every phone call they make and every Web excursion they take, people are leaving a digital trail of revealing data that can be tracked. The revelations that the National Security Agency is perusing millions of U.S. customer phone records at Verizon Communications and snooping on the digital communications stored by nine Internet services illustrate how aggressively personal data is being collected and analyzed.

Firefighting robot paints 3-D thermal imaging picture for rescuers

June 6, 2013 8:58 am | News | Comments

Engineers in California have developed new image processing techniques for rapid exploration and characterization of structural fires by small Segway-like robotic vehicles. Thermal data recorded by the robot’s small infrared camera is maps it onto a 3-D scene created by a pair of stereo cameras, producing a virtual reality picture that can be used by first responders as the robot navigates a building.

Metamaterial flexible sheets could transform optics

June 6, 2013 8:38 am | News | Comments

New ultrathin, planar, lightweight and broadband polarimetric photonic devices and optics could result from recent research by a team of Los Alamos National Laboratory scientists. The advances would boost security screening systems, infrared thermal cameras, energy harvesting and radar systems.

Wi-Fi signals enable gesture recognition throughout entire home

June 5, 2013 5:44 pm | by Michelle Ma, University of Washington | News | Comments

Forget to turn off the lights before leaving the apartment? No problem. Just raise your hand, finger-swipe the air, and your lights will power down. Using the common Wi-Fi signals generated by a commercial router, University of Washington computer scientists have developed gesture-recognition technology that brings this a step closer to reality.

“Temporal cloaking” could bring more secure optical communications

June 5, 2013 12:08 pm | News | Comments

Purdue Univ. researchers have demonstrated a method for "temporal cloaking" of optical communications, representing a potential tool to thwart would-be eavesdroppers and improve security for telecommunications. While the previous research in temporal cloaking required the use of a complex, ultrafast-pulsing "femtosecond" laser, the researchers achieved the feat using off-the-shelf equipment.

Simple wavelength detector could speed data communications

June 5, 2013 7:40 am | News | Comments

Researchers at SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory and Stanford Univ. have created a new device, smaller than a grain of rice, that could streamline optical data communications. It can directly identify the wavelength of light that hits it, and should scale down to the even tinier dimensions needed for multichannel optical data receivers on future generations of computer chips.

Improving the safety of the nation's blood supply

June 3, 2013 12:23 pm | News | Comments

A six-year collaboration between industry and the University of Wisconsin-Madison RFID Lab has achieved a major milestone with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) clearing the first RFID-enabled solution to improve the safety and efficiency of the nation's blood supply.

NIST, partners offer solution to communications impasse in factories

May 29, 2013 5:15 pm | News | Comments

Once uncommunicative industrial robots and machine tools are now beginning to talk turkey, thanks to a prototype application developed by a team of partner companies led by the National Center for Defense Manufacturing and Machining (NCDMM). This application was successfully demonstrated and tested by manufacturing researchers at NIST.

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