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— Telecommunications

Pointy pulses improve optical fiber throughput by a factor of 10

As the volume of data carried around the world via optical fibers continues to increase, researchers at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Lausanne (EPFL) have found a way to increase data throughput capacity by ten times. Because it is based on changing the shape of light pulses to reduce the space between, the breakthrough would work on existing optical fiber infrastructure. Read More
— Health and Wellbeing

Teki system lets patients visit the doctor via Kinect

Like many other parts of the world, Spain's Basque Country is currently faced with an increasing population of senior citizens placing strain upon the limited resources of the health care system. That's why the Teki project was instituted. It allows patients with chronic conditions to quickly check in with their doctors via an internet-connected Microsoft Kinect unit, thus reducing the number of time-consuming office visits, and catching problems before they require hospitalization. Read More
— Wearable Electronics

Designers create Leap Motion accessory to interpret sign language

Two Portuguese designers based in Sydney have come up with a practical idea for facilitating communication between people when sign language is involved. Catarina Araujo and Sofia Santos’ project, still at the development stage and looking for financial backers, taps Leap Motion technology to create a wearable sign language translator to be worn as a necklace. Read More
— Space

LADEE sets data transmission record from lunar orbit

NASA’s Lunar Laser Communication Demonstration (LLCD) experiment made history yesterday as it beamed data back to Earth from lunar orbit at previously unheard of speed for a space mission. Operating from the LADEE lunar orbiter, the LLCD used lasers to transmit data to Earth at 622 megabits per second (Mbps) as a demonstration of a technology that NASA hopes will one day not only keep up with the communications demands of future missions, but also greatly enhance their capabilities. Read More
— Automotive

See-Through System turns view-blocking vehicles transparent

Nobody likes being stuck behind a large, slow-moving vehicle on the highway. Not only does it hold you up, but it's also difficult to see around, in order to check whether or not it's safe to pass. Prof. Michel Ferreira and his team from Portugal's University of Porto, however, have come up with what could someday be a solution to that problem. It's an augmented reality system that lets drivers see right through the vehicle that they're following. Read More
— Smartwatches

FiLIP smartwatch combines child-tracking with restricted cellphone capabilties

Children have a remarkable ability to vanish the second your back is turned, so a watch that not only tells your child the time, but also acts as a locator and heavily controlled cellphone has its attractions. With this in mind, AT&T and Filip Technologies have entered in an agreement that allows the telecommunications giant to bring the FilLIP child locator smartwatch to the US market in the coming months. According to the deal, AT&T will act as the exclusive network provider for the device as well as controlling distribution and billing. Read More
— Science

Ishin-Den-Shin system plays spoken messages through your finger

Forget using tape recorders and smartphones to play back spoken messages – what if you could simply hear them through a finger? Disney researcher Ivan Poupyrev has come up with a system that allows for just that. Using the human body as a sound transmitter, the technology lets you hear audio messages when someone touches your ear with their finger. Even more strikingly, it also lets you hear those spoken messages off the surface of any ordinary object you might touch, like a knife or a ring. Read More
— Space

How do you put a big antenna on a tiny satellite? Make it inflatable

CubeSats are certainly in the process of revolutionizing the satellite industry. They can serve many of the same functions as full-sized satellites, but at a size of 10 x 10 x 10 cm (3.9 x 3.9 x 3.9 in) and a mass of under 1.33 kg (2.9 lb), they’re much cheaper to build and get into orbit. With that smaller overall size, however, comes smaller onboard antennas. These severely limit CubeSats’ communications range, restricting them to fairly low orbits. That may be about to change, though, as MIT is developing larger, inflatable antennas. Read More
— Robotics

Payload-carrying tailed robots could form leaping mobile sensor networks

Imagine mobile sensor networks that run around, jump and maneuver in the air to get the job done. That's what Jianguo Zhao is working towards; his design for such networks involves biologically-inspired sensors in the form of robots with little tails. These "tailbots" are expected to have applications in areas ranging from search and rescue to surveillance and environmental monitoring. Read More