Highlights from the 2014 LA Auto Show

Communications

New York city has reimagined its pay phone network as free gigabit Wi-Fi hub complete with...

Very few New Yorkers (other than the occasional superhero) use pay phone booths anymore due to the ubiquity of the personal cellphone. As a result, the city of New York has been left with many thousands of largely obsolete phones and phone booths along its streets. In an effort to find a use for this aging infrastructure, the city has re-imagined them as a new type of asset that will provide free 24-hour a day gigabit Wi-Fi, free phone calls to anywhere in the United States, touch-screen monitors that access city services and maps, along with a handy charging port for your cellphone.  Read More

Skype for Web will allow users to converse with far off friends and family through a web b...

In welcome news for anybody who has fumbled around on an unfamiliar computer to download and install Skype for an important call, Microsoft has announced a beta version of the popular telecommunications application for web browsers. Skype for Web will at first be available on an invitation-only basis and for select browsers, with plans to roll out globally in the following months.  Read More

The experiment over Vienna uses twisted light to transmit images of famous Austrians (Imag...

The city of Vienna has hosted a laser light show with a twist with University of Vienna scientists having tested a new way of transmitting data over a light beam. The technique, which exploits classical and quantum mechanics, promises to provide the ability to send much more information through the air much more securely.  Read More

The new RF circulator could revolutionize microminiature communications devices (Photo: Co...

In the world of electronic components, there are many devices out there that do their job well and reliably, but are almost never heard of – even though they may be vital to equipment that plays a role in our technology-driven lives. The radio frequency (RF) circulator is just such a device: it has simply done its job as a nondescript box of gubbins buried in radio communications systems, quietly directing radio frequency signals to the places they should go. Now researchers at the University of Texas have given the RF circulator a makeover. Not only is the new prototype smaller, lighter, and cheaper, it's also claimed to be easily adapted to different frequencies on the fly, which is something the old style circulator cannot do.  Read More

NASA's MAVEN has acted as a data relay for the Curiosity rover (Image: NASA)

NASA's Mars Atmosphere and Volatile EvolutioN (MAVEN) spacecraft is the latest link in the space agency's Martian communications network for keeping in touch with its surface rovers. Last week, the unmanned orbiter carried out a test using a special radio apparatus that allowed it to relay 550 megabits of data from the Curiosity rover to NASA’s Deep Space Network back on Earth.  Read More

Researcgers have created multi-core fibers which allow for increased data transmission spe...

Researchers at the Eindhoven University of Technology and the University of Central Florida have developed a new fiber optics cable capable of transmitting the contents of over 5,000 DVDs in a single second – a speed six times greater than the previous record. The advance could help us reach petabit-per-second speeds over the next few years, which will be crucial for keeping up with growing bandwidth demands.  Read More

Electron microscope scan of a THz circuit detailing its high-electron-mobility transistors

Getting into the Guinness Book of World Records isn't just about who can eat the most hotdogs or fly a paper airplane the highest. Sometimes it involves technological breakthroughs with huge potential. Guinness has handed DARPA’s Terahertz Electronics program the award for the fastest solid-state amplifier integrated circuit. Developed by Northrop Grumman, the Terahertz Monolithic Integrated Circuit (TMIC) is a ten-stage common-source amplifier that cranks speeds of one terahertz (1012 Hz), or one trillion cycles per second.  Read More

The center of the exhibit is a giant radio tuner from the 1920s

If the 19th and 20th centuries were the Transportation Age, then the 21st century is the Information Age. Like most other ages, it didn't suddenly leap into being with the arrival of the Web or the smartphone – it has a history going back more than 200 years. The Science Museum in London is exploring this history in a new permanent exhibit called "Information Age: Six Networks That Changed Our World," which was recently opened by Queen Elizabeth II when she sent the first tweet by a British monarch.  Read More

Free or inexpensive apps to secure your mobile communications (Image: Shutterstock)

Mobile phone users are becoming more savvy to the potential security risks of standard, unencrypted text messaging and wary of government intrusion into everyday communications. Some consumers require encrypted phone calls for information-sensitive business requirements and others just don't like the idea of others prying into their personal lives. Gizmag takes a look at a sampling of the apps available for iOS and Android (and sometimes desktop) to encrypt mobile communications, both text messaging and phone calls.  Read More

ICEdot's Emergency Trigger clips to your helmet strap or wristband, keeping help within ar...

Two years ago, ICEdot presented the Crash Sensor, an emergency notification device designed to mount to sports helmets. After getting it to market last year, the company found that although its customers liked having the sensor-activated emergency notification, some of them also wanted to have a manual emergency notification. ICEdot has responded with the Emergency Trigger.  Read More

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