Boeing has received the first signals from SkyTerra 1, a communications satellite it built for LightSquared that was hurled into orbit aboard a Proton rocket launched from Kazakhstan yesterday. The satellite, which will provide signal coverage where terrestrial towers can’t reach, is part of a new LightSquared 4G-LTE mobile broadband wireless system and boasts the largest commercial antenna reflector ever launched into space.
Videochat is cool enough, but it’s got nothing on R2D2’s 3-D holographic projector (think Princess Leia repeating “Help me Obi-wan Kenobi; you’re my only hope”). Now, a team at the University of Arizona College of Optical Sciences is brining holographic telepresence closer to reality with a new 3-D holographic imaging technology that can record and project a three-dimensional, moving image in real-time without the need for any special eyewear.
Aboard oceanfaring vessels, real estate is naturally limited. But communications are vital, presenting something of a conundrum for a ship’s communications crews: where to place all the large antennas necessary for long-range (and often encrypted) communications. So U.S. Navy R&D lab SPAWAR Systems Center Pacific (SSC Pacific) engineered a clever scheme to turn the ocean’s most abundant resource into communications equipment, making antennas out of geysers of seawater.
Satellite dishes as we know them – both the huge ones that require a corner of the backyard and the more modern, compact variety that mount on rooftops – could be on their way out. A grad student at the Netherlands’ University of Twente has devised a new microchip that allows for an array of nearly flat antennas to pick up satellite signals, with no rounded, concave “dish” required.
Our GPS-wielding smartphones have made it somewhat difficult to get lost, say, on the way to the museum. But if you’re waiting for the day your phone will also help you navigate to a specific painting once you’re inside, you might be waiting a while. The technology exists, but no single version is perfect. And a lack of a standout Indoor Positioning Systems (IPS) technology means there is no broad agreement on which technology should become the new standard.
Through its various technological bells and whistles and the apps that you’re constantly updating with what you’re doing there, your smartphone already knows a lot about you. But don’t you wish your phone knew you a little more, you know, intimately? Intel’s chief technology guru says it will, and soon. The company is working up ways to help phones connect with users on an emotional level, sensing moods and feelings and reacting accordingly.
Taking a page from T-Pain's book, a team of EU-funded researchers has devised a means to get the most out of optical fiber's capacity by fixing imperfections in optical signals, much as auto-tune software fixes pitch in audio signals. The technology could drastically improve broadband speeds, especially across long distance lines like those spanning oceans to connect continents.
We can now tweet from the International Space Station and make phone calls from the summit of Mount Everest, so why can't we get any check our email from the ocean floor? A new Lockheed Martin program, plainly named Communications at Speed and Depth, will plug deep-diving stealth submarines into the DoD's Global Information Grid, just like any other surface vessel.
Just how breathtakingly, heart-stoppingly awesome was Landon Donovan’s 91st-minute goal in today’s win-or-go-home U.S.-Algeria World Cup game? It was definitely significant enough to temporarily overwhelm Twitter. And it just might have been the single biggest driver of Internet traffic ever.
Like an early, static version of Twitter, license plates have long allowed drivers to stamp a statement right onto their bumpers, as long as that statement is of extremely limited length. But lawmakers in California are deliberating a bill that would allow electronic license plates that would display advertisements and other messages when cars are not in motion, turning every car on the road into a moving billboard.