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Communications

Space

Falcon 9 launches Orbcomm OG2 on fourth attempt

SpaceX launched a Falcon 9 rocket today, carrying six Orbcomm OG2 communication satellites in the second mission flight of a Falcon booster equipped with landing legs. At 11:15 am EDT, the Falcon 9 lifted off from Space Launch Complex 40 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Florida. The launch comes on the heels of three aborted attempts. The first, on May 10, was cancelled due to a helium leak; a second on June 20, was scratched because of a depressurization alarm in the second stage; and a third, on June 21, was called off because of bad weather. Read More

Wearables

LG's KizON wearable helps parents keep tabs on the kids

Children are wily creatures. They just love to run around with their friends, explore new places, and generally enjoy the freedom of just being a kid. Though this is part of the stress-free life of being a child, it is also often the source of anxiety for some parents who constantly worry about where their child is. In an attempt to relieve this anxiety, LG has created KizON, a wearable device that not only lets concerned parents know where their precious progeny are 24 hours a day, but also provides the ability to call them if necessary. Read More

Environment

PowerCube pop-up solar generator provides relief to disaster-struck areas

It was seven years ago that Ecosphere Technologies revealed its first iteration of a self-contained relief unit to provide power, water and shelter to disaster-struck areas. The company has since been busy refining the system's form and function and now announces the completion of what it says to be the world's largest deployable solar power generator. Capable of generating 15 kW of electricity, PowerCube is transported as a standard shipping container and can morph into a shelter, water treatment plant and communications base all with a push of a button. Read More

Mobile Technology

Glastonbury gets free "moobile" Wi-Fi hotspots

Running on and off since 1970, Britain’s Glastonbury Festival is famous for hosting such acts as David Bowie, The Who, Coldplay, and Beyoncé. It’s also famous for its sea of mud and streams flowing through tents thanks to the typical English weather. This year, high tech meets the bucolic at the Festival as visitors are greeted by a herd of life-sized, glass-fiber cows that double as free Wi-Fi hotspots to keep them connected.Read More

Space

"Hello, World" – Video beamed from ISS using laser-based communications

While the International Space Station may be mankind’s outpost for the conquest of space, it still leaves a lot to be desired when it comes to a decent YouTube connection. That’s because, for all its sophistication, the station’s communications system is still based on 1960s radio technology and has all the bandwidth of a soda straw. That changed this week as NASA took a step into the video age with the test of its Optical Payload for Lasercomm Science (OPALS) demonstrator, which saw a laser used to beam a video to Earth in seconds instead of the usual minutes.Read More

Aircraft

Boeing updates B-52 bombers with CONECT comms system

The US Air Force has introduced its first B-52 bomber to be equipped with Boeing's Combat Network Communications Technology (CONECT) system. Boeing says that the system provides increased situational awareness for B-52 crews. It is hoped that it will contribute towards the B-52's continued use for many years. Read More

Telecommunications

Yaliny wants to turn any smartphone into a satellite phone

Visit an area outside of your cell network, take a vacation in a different country, or play a certain augmented reality game requiring you to have a constant high speed data connection, and congratulations, you’ll have an instant reminder of the current limitations of cellular networks. The Russian company Yaliny ambitiously hopes to help consumers circumvent traditional providers with Yaliny’s own network of satellites and an intermediary device called the Yaliny Point which will work with most smartphones, all for a promised US$150 for the hardware and $10 monthly thereafter.Read More

Wearables

Emergency crews could start getting messages from their jackets

It's important for firefighters or members of disaster response crews to stay in touch with one another during operations, which is of course why they carry two-way radios. Researchers from Norway's SINTEF group, however, are developing a system that could help even more. It allows users to receive and read text messages hands-free, via their jackets. Read More

Electronics

BAE Systems develops a flat lens that acts like it's curved

Anyone who’s ever needed a pair of thick eyeglasses has a firm idea that lenses are the one thing where form follows function. However, BAE Systems and Queen Mary’s School of Electronic Engineering and Computer Science in London have put paid to that idea with a flat lens that works like a conventional curved lens, yet without any reduction in bandwidth performance. Using a combination of composite metamaterials and transformational optics for the first time, they have created a lens that's able to bend electromagnetic waves, yet isn't bound by its shape for its function. Read More

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