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Communications

A new NASA study focusing on irregularities in Earth’s upper atmosphere may help scientists overcome disruptions in GPS communication. The findings provide an insight into the causes of the disruptive regions, and represent the first time that such observations have been made from space. Read More
The United States Federal Communications Commission (FCC) today voted 3-2 to uphold the principles of network neutrality – that is, to force Internet Service Providers (ISPs) to treat all web traffic as equal. This prevents ISPs from being able to throttle or block users' connections to certain websites, or to offer "Internet fast lanes" whereby large websites could pay for their content to be delivered at a higher speed. Open Internet advocates see this as a huge step to protect the internet's current status as a free and open platform that offers equal opportunities to small and large content providers. Read More
DARPA’s new initiative, known as the Communicating with Computers (CwC) program, aims to improve the ability of machines to communicate effectively with their human counterparts. The agency has two initial experiments planned, focusing on the somewhat differing fields of improved conversational skills and better cancer detection. Read More
A new method of processing signals via fiber optic cables could vastly increase the distance at which error-free data is transmitted via submarine cables without additional signal amplification. As the technique is capable of correcting corrupted or distorted data being transmitted, it may also assist in increasing the capacity of all optical fiber communications. Read More
Hoping to bring back a bit of the personal touch to today's cold, impersonal digital communications, New Jersey-based startup Tactonics thinks the world might just get hooked on Tact messaging. With about the same effort it takes to send an emotionless, poorly spelled text message, you could send your loved ones a more heartfelt, meaningful "sensory message" that is intended to let them get in touch with your feelings. Read More
When sports fans get really excited it seems like there's an earthquake – and scientists don't want to let that phenomenon go to waste. As the American football teams the Seahawks and the Green Bay Packers faced off in Seattle on the weekend, University of Washington seismologists with the Pacific Northwest Seismic Network (PNSN) planted seismographs to study the fanmade "earthquake" caused as a way of testing new sensors and software. Read More
Researchers from the Australian National University (ANU) and the University of Otago in New Zealand have created a prototype quantum hard drive that may fundamentally alter the realm of secure, long-distance data encryption. Using atoms of the rare-earth element europium embedded in yttrium orthosilicate (YSO) crystals, the scientists have shattered previous records for quantum information retention by creating a storage device capable of holding quantum state information for up to six hours at a time. Read More

Ford has announced an updated to its Sync in-car communications and entertainment system, adding an improved smartphone-like interface, along with better performance and speech recognition capabilities. Read More

With exception of a new voice in 2004, Stephen Hawking's input interface has remained much the same for decades. Now Intel has created a new system called the Assistive Context Aware Toolkit (ACAT) that allows him to carry out tasks much faster than before. Read More
The European Space Agency (ESA) has successfully linked up the Sentinel-1A and Alphasat satellites via laser, transmitting data across almost 36,000 km (about 22,400 miles) of space. The link allows for the delivery of data to Earth in near real time, and will be used for a wide range of applications including the timely monitoring of natural disasters. Read More
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