Do you think your connection speed is fast? Do you tout your torrent bit rate? Perhaps your rig is swift, but there's no reason it couldn't be many times faster. The only thing standing in the way is some creative materials science, and researchers at the Georgia Institute of Technology may have just found the key to converting everything from individual computers to data networks into blazing-fast, all-optical transmission devices.
And you thought your connection was fast. NASA's Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter is currently scanning the moon with powerful sensory equipment, gathering the most detailed data to date from the lunar surface. But to transmit all those images and data across the 238,800-mile void separating the moon from Earth, the LRO relies on a super-charged wireless connection that beams 461 gigabytes per day back to the blue planet. And the instrument that makes it all possible is a mere 13 inches long.
Five amazing, clean technologies that will set us free, in this month's energy-focused issue. Also: how to build a better bomb detector, the robotic toys that are raising your children, a human catapult, the world's smallest arcade, and much more.