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Communications

— Space

First high speed laser communication satellite set for launch

Space-based laser communications are moving out of the testing phase and into orbit as the first satellite in the European DAta Relay System (EDRS), or SpaceDataHighway, prepares for launch at the end of January. Likened to having a fiber optic cable in space, the 1.8 Gigabit per second system is a joint public–private partnership between Airbus Defence and Space and ESA that will act as a relay system between ground stations, satellites, and aircraft.

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— Space

Asteroid Impact Mission sets sights on new laser communications record

Laser-based communications has the ability to beam enormous amounts of data at high speed, but the use of this technology in space is still in its infancy. To help push things along, ESA’s proposed Asteroid Impact Mission (AIM) will carry out a record-setting demonstration of space laser communications across a distance of 75 million kilometers while orbiting a binary asteroid.

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— Military

TALONS effectively gives ships of all sizes skyscraper-tall masts

Warships are only as effective as far as they can see, so DARPA's Towed Airborne Lift Of Naval Systems (TALONS) research effort is aiming to extend their horizons by giving them a crow's nest 1,500 ft (457 m) tall by way of a towed parafoil. A TALONS prototype recently completed sea trials off the US East Coast as part of a project to provide ships of every size with better long-distance communications and situational awareness.

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— Mobile Technology Review

Review: Parrot MINIKIT Neo 2 HD hands-free phone system for your car

Like many people who try (not) to use a mobile phone while mobile in an auto, I have sound- and device-management issues. That's why I welcomed the chance to try out the Parrot MINIKIT Neo 2 HD, a sleek hands-free calling and speaker system that uses either Bluetooth or NFC to connect up to two mobile devices at a time. Useable with or without its app and either iOS or Android devices, it's a good choice for those who can't afford a complicated stereo overhaul for their car and need to support multiple phone operating systems.

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— Mobile Technology

Wi-Fi Aware protocol stakes out your surroundings

Wi-Fi technology has helped bring a world of information to our fingertips via mobile devices, but a new certification program from the Wi-Fi Alliance aims to make the technology a bit more local. The Wi-Fi Aware protocol is designed to extend Wi-Fi's capabilities to improve on current proximity-based functions without the need for cellular, Wi-Fi hotspot or GPS connections.

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