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Spirals of light may lead to better electronics

September 26, 2013 8:10 am | News | Comments

A group of researchers at Caltech has created the optical equivalent of a tuning fork: a device that can help steady the electrical currents needed to power high-end electronics and stabilize the signals of high-quality lasers. The work marks the first time that such a device has been miniaturized to fit on a chip and may pave the way to improvements in high-speed communications, navigation and remote sensing.

Researchers make headway in quantum information transfer

September 24, 2013 8:10 am | News | Comments

Fiber optics has made communication faster than ever, but the next step involves a quantum leap. In order to improve the security of the transfer of information, scientists are working on how to translate electrical quantum states to optical quantum states in a way that would enable ultrafast, quantum-encrypted communications. A research team has demonstrated the first and arguably most challenging step in the process.

Tiny antennas let long light waves see in infrared

September 24, 2013 7:56 am | News | Comments

Univ. of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign researchers have developed arrays of tiny nanoantennas that can enable sensing of molecules that resonate in the infrared (IR) spectrum. Other nanoscale antenna systems can't be tuned to a longer light wavelength due to limitations of traditional nanoantenna materials. The team used highly doped semiconductors, grown by molecular beam epitaxy.

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Scientists create twisted light

September 19, 2013 8:50 am | News | Comments

Scientists at SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory have found a new method to create coherent beams of twisted light—light that spirals around a central axis as it travels. It has the potential to generate twisted light in shorter pulses, higher intensities and a much wider range of wavelengths, including x-rays, than is currently possible.

Human activity affects vertical structure of atmospheric temperature

September 18, 2013 7:45 am | News | Comments

Human influences have directly impacted the latitude/altitude pattern of atmospheric temperature. That is the conclusion of a new report by scientists from Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory and six other scientific institutions. The research compares multiple satellite records of atmospheric temperature change with results from a large, multimodel archive of simulations.

Space weather’s effects on satellites

September 18, 2013 7:31 am | by Jennifer Chu, MIT News Office | News | Comments

Is your cable television on the fritz? One explanation, scientists suspect, may be the weather. The weather in space, that is. Massachusetts Institute of Technology researchers are investigating the effects of space weather on geostationary satellites, which provide much of the world’s access to cable television, Internet services and global communications.

Graphene photodetector integrated into computer chip

September 16, 2013 12:34 pm | News | Comments

A recent study from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology describing how graphene can be used to convert signals from optical to electrical has also been explored by engineers in Austria, who have also constructed a graphene light detector on a semiconductor chip. According to the researchers, graphene can convert all light wavelengths which are used in telecommunications.

Data: a resource more valuable than gold?

September 13, 2013 11:54 am | News | Comments

From Sept. 16 to 18, 2013, top leaders from the White House and U.S. science agencies and their international colleagues will gather for three days in Washington, D.C., for a major meeting of the Research Data Alliance (RDA). More than 850 researchers and data experts belong to the RDA, which focuses on the development and adoption of common tools, harmonized standards and infrastructure needed for data sharing by researchers.

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New aquifers found in desert-dry region of Kenya

September 12, 2013 3:58 am | by The Associated Press | News | Comments

A remote region of Kenya that suffers from frequent droughts may soon be flush with water after the discovery of huge underground aquifers. Two aquifers have been identified in the Turkana region of Kenya by using satellite exploration technology. Three other aquifers have been detected but need to be confirmed through drilling.

NIST, five journals find way to manage data errors in research

September 10, 2013 9:09 am | News | Comments

Poor research data can lead to mistakes in equipment selection, over-design of industrial plant components, difficulty simulating and discovering new processes, and poor regulatory decisions. However, traditional peer review is not enough to ensure data quality amid the recent boom in scientific research findings, according to results of a 10-year collaboration between NIST and five technical journals.

Satellite cameras saving endangered species

September 6, 2013 3:47 pm | Videos | Comments

Product development firm Cambridge Consultants is helping conservationists protect some of the world’s most rare and endangered species. As part of the Instant Wild project, new satellite-connected and motion-triggered cameras are beaming near-real-time images of animals from the remotest areas of Africa. A mobile app allows users anywhere in the world to view the photos, providing early warning of illegal poaching activity.

Inflatable antennae could give CubeSats greater reach

September 6, 2013 7:53 am | by Jennifer Chu, MIT News Office | News | Comments

The future of satellite technology is getting small. CubeSats, and other small satellites, are making space exploration cheaper and more accessible. But with such small packages come big limitations: namely, a satellite’s communication range. Now researchers have developed a design that may significantly increase the communication range of small satellites.

Video: First microdrone crosses the Alps

September 5, 2013 10:17 am | News | Comments

Earlier this summer, a small drone managed something that even larger flying robots had not yet been able to do. Equipped with an HD camera, and in adverse conditions, it set off from Switzerland and crossed the Saint-Gotthard Massif towards Italy. The company behind this experiment has just released video of the record flight.

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Microsoft buying Nokia's devices and services unit

September 3, 2013 12:54 am | by The Associated Press | News | Comments

Microsoft Corp. is buying Nokia Corp.'s devices and services business, and getting access to the company's patents, for a total of $7.2 billion in an effort to expand its share of the smartphone market, the companies announced. Microsoft will pay $5 billion for the Nokia unit that makes mobile phones, including its line of Lumia smartphones that run Windows Phone software.

Skype eye contact finally possible

August 29, 2013 4:27 pm | by Angelika Jacobs, ETH Zurich | News | Comments

Those separated from family and friends by long distances often use video conferencing services such as Skype in order to see each other when talking. But who hasn’t experienced the frustration of your counterpart not making direct eye contact during the conversation? A software prototype from the laboratories ETH Zurich may be able to help by leveraging the color and depth information made available by XBox Kinect cameras.

Space laser to prove increased broadband possible

August 29, 2013 12:07 pm | by Dewayne Washington, NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center | News | Comments

When NASA’s Lunar Laser Communication Demonstration (LLCD) begins operation aboard the Lunar Atmosphere and Dust Environment Explorer (LADEE), it will attempt to show two-way laser communication beyond Earth is possible, expanding the possibility of transmitting huge amounts of data. This new ability could one day allow for 3-D high-definition video transmissions in deep space to become routine.

GM says almost-driverless cars coming by 2020

August 28, 2013 4:42 pm | by TOM KRISHER - AP Auto Writer - Associated Press | News | Comments

Sometime before the end of this decade, General Motors will put a car on the road that can almost drive itself. The automaker says the system, called "Super Cruise," uses radar and cameras to steer the car and keep it between lane lines. Also, the radar keeps the car a safe distance from cars...

Trimming Port Operations

August 28, 2013 11:53 am | Award Winners

Container ships are designed to always be at sea, transporting goods. But slow loading and unloading—a common occurrence at congested ports—can cost them money. To help speed this process, researchers at the Institute for Information Industry (III) have developed CraneAbide, a container transship management technology that applies existing technologies to help manage an often overlooked factor at many ports: trailer positioning.

Space Radio, Redefined

August 28, 2013 8:17 am | Award Winners

The NASA/Harris Ka-Band Software-Defined Radio (SDR) from NASA Glenn Research Center and Harris Corp. is the first SDR transceiver to operate in the Ka-band and sets the stage for replacing unique fixed-function, single-vendor mission radios with reprogrammable SDRs.

Real-time UAV Structural Monitoring

August 28, 2013 8:16 am | Award Winners

In 2003, the Helios solar electric airplane broke up in mid-air and crashed into the Pacific Ocean. The incident highlighted a problem: Operators of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) had no way of knowing when the wings were experiencing unsustainable strain. Scientists at NASA’s Dryden Flight Research Center and 4DSP, a company specializing in signal and image processing systems, co-developed a lightweight, robust Fiber Optic Sensing System (FOSS) that greatly speeds the operational monitoring and sensing.

Beefed-up Wi-Fi Service

August 28, 2013 8:15 am | Award Winners

One of the key limitations of wireless Internet service installations, even those designed for long-range use, is that range is limited to less than 50 km. Seeking a better solution, developers at the Institute for Information Industry and K-Best Technology Inc. in Taiwan have launched BestLINK, a regional area WLAN solution that operates as a superset of standard Wi-Fi (IEEE 802.11), yet combines the advantages of both Wi-Fi and WiMax communications protocols.

Researchers invent portable device for common kidney tests

August 23, 2013 9:11 am | News | Comments

A lightweight and field-portable device invented at Univ. of California, Los Angeles that conducts kidney tests and transmits data through a smartphone attachment may significantly reduce the need for frequent office visits by people with diabetes and others with chronic kidney ailments.

Researchers use mobile phones to measure happiness

August 23, 2013 9:10 am | by Tara Thean, Princeton Univ. | News | Comments

In a study involving volunteers who agreed to provide information about their feelings and locations, Princeton Univ. researchers found that cell phones can efficiently capture information that is otherwise difficult to record, given today’s on-the-go lifestyle. Using an application built on the Android operating system, they had participant record feelings “in the moment”.

Researchers develop walls that can listen, talk

August 21, 2013 8:49 am | News | Comments

Using a modern twist on a technology developed in the 1920s, researchers at Princeton Univ. have embedded ultrathin radios directly on plastic sheets, which can be applied to walls and other structures. The innovation could serve as the basis for new devices ranging from an invisible communications system inside buildings to sophisticated structural monitors for bridges and roads.

Electronic warfare development targets fully adaptive threat response technology

August 19, 2013 8:17 am | News | Comments

When U.S pilots encounter enemy air defenses, onboard electronic warfare (EW) systems protect them by interfering with incoming radar signals: a technique known as electronic attack (EA) or jamming. Conversely, electronic protection technology prevents hostile forces from using EA methods to disable U.S. radar equipment assets. A research team is now developing a new generation of advanced radio frequency jammer technology.

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