Ericsson Demonstrates 5G Wireless Technology

Ericsson has succeeded in demonstrating a prestandardization version of 5G wireless technology operating in the 15-GHz frequency band. The trial used a new radio interface and advanced multiple input, multiple output (MIMO) technology, which utilizes multiple transmitter and receiver antennas to increase bandwidth. Ericsson is also working on wider-bandwidth radios that can operate at higher frequencies with shorter transmission times and new base stations. The technology is not expected to be commercially available until 2020. However, Ericsson says proving the technology’s performance in a trial test is important for the technology to progress. The company conducted its tests at its lab in Kista, Sweden, witnessed by senior management from Japan’s NTT DoCoMo and South Korea’s SK Telecom, which have also been conducting 5G trials. Industry observers say higher-performance mobile technologies are needed to satisfy demand by customers and by approaches such as machine-to-machine technology. They add that mobile-equipment vendors like Ericsson want to demonstrate 5G’s potential to begin creating a demand. (PhysOrg)(Ericsson)

US Airlines’ Looser Rules Fail to Increase Travelers’ Wireless-Device Use

Although the US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) eased its guidelines for device use on airlines, passenger use of smartphones, tablets, and laptops has increased only slightly, according to a recent study. The October 2013 FAA ruling lets passengers use their mobile devices, although not to make calls or send texts, during takeoff and landing. However, a study conducted over four months in 2014 by DePaul University's Chaddick Institute for Metropolitan Development found that only 35.9 percent of passengers used mobile devices at any point during the flight, compared to 35.3 percent before the FAA lifted the restriction. Chaddick Institute director Joseph Schwieterman said passengers may not be aware of the rule change or may not interested in using their mobile devices inflight but instead may just want to relax or sleep. The study, The Personal Tech Tidal Wave: The Rising Use of Electronic Devices on Intercity Buses, Planes & Trains is on the university’s website at http://bit.ly/transporttech2014. (SlashDot)(Network World)(The Detroit Free Press)(DePaul University)

Researchers Use Computer Models to Study Dark Matter

A team of researchers is using computer simulations to study the hypothetical particle that physicists call dark matter. Dark matter is a hypothesized form of matter particle that doesn’t reflect or emit electromagnetic radiation. Physicists have guessed at its existence based on their observation of gravitational effects on physical matter, such as stars and galaxies. Researchers from the Paris Institute of Astrophysics, Ohio State University, and the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have created detailed computer simulations exploring the density profiles of possible dark-matter voids in more detail than previous studies. The scientists could use the simulations to compare theory and prior simulations with observational data. The researchers published their findings in the journal Physical Review Letters. (American Physical Society)(Physical Review Letters)

NASA Computes Asteroid Paths

Asteroids continue to puzzle scientists, who say they may contain resources, such as water, that astronauts could use while traveling through deep space. They could also be destinations for astronauts. With this in mind, NASA is planning a mission to identify, capture and redirect an asteroid to a stable orbit around the moon in the 2020s, which would let astronauts visit and study it. The agency is studying possible asteroids for the project using its Near-Earth Object Human Space Flight Accessible Targets Study system, which utilizes specialized algorithms to compute trajectories. The project has, after two years, identified more than 1,000 near-Earth asteroids that could be visited by robots or human space missions. Of course, some of these could potentially hit the Earth, so the system includes an automated monitoring system for impact detection. (NASA)(Near-Earth Object Human Space Flight Accessible Targets Study)

New Material Acts as Graphene Substitute

A Korean research team has developed a new carbon-based material without the defects and difficulty associated with making graphene for use in semiconductors and other purposes. The Korea Institute of Science and Technology (KIST) scientists synthesized carbon nanosheets similar to graphene by coating the substrate with a polymer solution and then heating it, a method shorter and simpler than that used to make graphene. The resulting material has all the characteristics of graphene. The new work, say the researchers, “offers deeper understanding on the growth mechanism of [a] carbon nanosheet and [a] much simpler manufacturing process.” Graphene is pure carbon in a one-atom-thick sheet. It is valued for use in various settings because it is strong for its weight and very efficiently conducts heat and electricity. The KIST scientists—who published their work in published in Nanoscale, a journal of the UK’s Royal Society of Chemistry—expect to commercialize their process. (Science Daily)(Korea Institute of Science and Technology)

Researchers Discover Piezoelectric Material

University of Houston, Rice University, and University of Washington scientists have identified a new, ultrathin piezoelectric material that can be used in new ways. These substances—which generate electricity when bent, stretched, or subject to other mechanical forces—are considered important because they can be used in, for example, sensors, energy-harvesting systems, and loudspeakers. The scientists found that putting triangular holes pointing in the same direction in graphene nitride or any semiconducting material, gives them piezoelectric properties that they don’t otherwise have. Unlike other similar materials, the graphene nitride can be stacked in layers without losing its piezoelectric properties. The researchers published their work in the journal Nature Communications. (EurekAlert)(Nature Communications)

Chinese Company Completes 3D Printed Cement Building

A Chinese firm has used 3D printing to print 10 one-room buildings. Yingchuang New Materials made these as offices for a Shanghai industrial park. Yingchuang New Materials used giant 3D printers and recycled construction waste and cement to make the walls for the 650-square-foot buildings, which cost roughly $5,000 each, as offices for a Shanghai industrial park. The structures were assembled on-site. Yingchuang also made its factory and research center via 3D printing. Shanghai WinSun Decoration Design Engineering CEO Ma Yihe, who developed the printer used in the project, plans to build 100 recycling facilities across China to supply materials for similar projects. He is also working on a robotic printer able to assemble structures on site. (SlashDot)(Quartz)(Computerworld)

Networked Lighting Systems Vulnerable to Attack

A UK-based security firm found a vulnerability in a Wi-Fi enabled LED light bulb that lets hackers control the lights and gain network information. Context Information Security found a way to access a “master bulb” in a mesh network of LIFX lights—Wi-Fi-enabled, multicolor, energy-efficient LED bulbs that users can control via their smartphones. This enabled the company’s researchers to control all the bulbs in the system and expose network-configuration details. LIFX Labs has patched the problem, issued a firmware update, and added encryption to its systems. Context issued a detailed description of the exploit on its website (contextis.co.uk/blog/hacking-internet-connected-light-bulbs). The firm says this work was part of its ongoing research designed to show that security is not a high priority for many of the devices built to become part of the Internet of Things. The company has already found vulnerable computer printers, baby monitors, and children’s toys. (SlashDot)(Context @ RealWire)(Context)

Google Reinstates Some “Forgotten” News Links

After a barrage of criticism was launched against Google for taking down links to news articles as part of its intent to comply with Europe’s “right to be forgotten” regulations, the search giant has begun restoring them. The European Commission regulation says that search-engine operators must remove outdated and irrelevant results that appear in EC member nations about people if they request such action, unless it is not in the public interest. Each time Google removed links to articles, it notified the publishers, many of whom complained. Some news outlets contend Google took such action just to demonstrate its displeasure with the European Commission ruling. “Notable that Google is interpreting the ‘right to be forgotten’ rules in the way most likely to upset journalists,” noted Financial Times columnist Robert Shrimsley. Google claims it has been inundated with about 70,000 “right to be forgotten” requests since the May 2014 ruling. “We are learning as we go,” Peter Barron, head of communications for Google in Europe, told the BBC. (SlashDot)(Quartz)(Tech Crunch)(BBC)

 

US Technology-Industry Political Coalition Reaches Funding Goal

A Super Political Action Committee (PAC) that US technology executives created reached its initial $5 million goal by raising grassroots funding on Kickstarter. The Mayday PAC wants to solve the “big money problem” in Washington, DC, politics by raising $12 million to back five candidates in the November 2014 elections who support election-financing reform. Mayday, which Harvard University law professor Lawrence Lessig and Republican political adviser Mark McKinnon founded, includes luminaries such as Apple cofounder Steve Wozniak, PayPal cofounder and libertarian activist Peter Thiel, and LinkedIn cofounder Reid Hoffmann. The Kickstarter donations were matched by $1 million donations from Thiel, Hoffman, and other wealthy tech entrepreneurs. Notable figures outside the industry, including actor Joseph Gordon-Levitt, have lent support. If successful, the PAC plans to create a campaign in 2016 to change laws related to corporations’ political influence. (Tech Crunch)(TIME)(Computing Now 24 June 2014)

 

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