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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

Bioglow sheds new light on indoor plants

Ever thought the glowing forests from the movie Avatar were pretty cool and wanted one yourself? Bioglow is the latest company to attempt to put such autoluminscent plants in homes with its aptly named Starlight Avatar.Read More

Science

New photonic molecules are not unlike lightsabers

Scientists from Harvard and MIT have jointly demonstrated that, in specific conditions, photons can be made to interact with each other and form molecules. Such groupings of photons, dubbed “Photonic molecules”, constitute an entirely new form of matter, which until recently was purely theoretical. Combining the properties of light and those of solids, in terms of physics this new form of matter is not unlike a certain material that millions of Star Wars fans are already well familiar with. Lightsaber material. Read More

Science

Oops! Invisibility cloaks actually make objects easier to see

It's often a case of swings and roundabouts. If you save money by buying a house out of town, you spend more time and money commuting. If you really measure the momentum of an electron, you have no idea where the little guy is located. And now, according to a new analysis by a pair of University of Texas electrical engineers, the better an object is hidden by an invisibility cloak at a given wavelength of light, the easier it is to see at other wavelengths. Swings and roundabouts.Read More

Architecture

SmartLight redirects sunlight into "light-locked" building interiors

Researchers at the University of Cincinnati have developed technology that could help cut lighting energy costs by brightening up rooms with natural light. The SmartLight system is designed to direct sunlight into dark, dingy rooms located within the bowels of buildings without requiring the installation of new wiring, ducts, tubes or cables. It also allows excess light to be harnessed and centrally stored to provide energy for electric lighting on cloudy days. Read More

Bicycles

SEIL's got direction signaling in the bag

Cyclists wanting to notify other road users of stopping or turning intentions can use their arms, but it's not always convenient or safe to do so. Bike-based blinking technology like the Spooklight system is a good way to go, but having to detach and carry your lights between rides to keep them out of the hands of opportunist thieves can be a bit of a pain. A sleeker idea would be to integrate a wirelessly-controlled lighting system into your backpack? That's precisely what SEIL from Myung Su Lee does. Bright directional arrows, stopping signals or custom animated text messages shine through the fabric at the back of the bag at the press of a button on a bar-mounted wireless controller.Read More

Games

Super-precise motion tracking system uses projected "barcode" light patterns

Motion-tracking systems like Wii and Kinect have certainly changed the way we play video games – among other things – but some people still complain that there's too much of a lag between real-world player movements and the corresponding in-game movements of the characters. The creators of the experimental Lumitrack system, however, claim that it has much less lag time than existing systems ... plus it's highly accurate and should be cheap to commercialize. Read More

Science

NASA develops new technique to grow super-black coating on 3D components

Super-black nanotechnology might sound like something ripped from the pages of a comic book, but instead of being in the hands of a super-villain, it's a NASA-researched technology that is set to make spacecraft instruments more sensitive without increasing their size. John Hagopian, an optics engineer at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center, and his team have demonstrated the ability to grow a uniform layer of carbon nanotubes on oddly shaped platforms, which will extend the potential of the technology by allowing nanotubes to be grown on 3D components.Read More

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