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pierredv : ieee-spectrum   73

5gs Waveform Is A Battery Vampire - IEEE Spectrum Jul 2019
"Wireless standards are frequently updated, and in the next 5G release, the industry could address concerns that OFDM may draw too much power in 5G devices and base stations. That’s a problem, because 5G is expected to require far more base stations to deliver service and connect billions of mobile and IoT devices."

"So how did 5G get into a potentially power-guzzling mess? OFDM plays a large part ... OFDM has a high peak-to-average power ratio (PAPR)"

"One promising alternative that Yuan’s group is considering, non-orthogonal multiple access (NOMA), could deliver the advantages of OFDM while also overlapping users on the same spectrum."
IEEE-Spectrum  5G  3GPP 
9 weeks ago by pierredv
Hacking Cars To Trigger Gridlock IEEE Spectrum - IEEE Spectrum, Aug 2019
Via Dale

"Paralyzing 20 percent of cars during rush hour could gridlock Manhattan"

"physicist Peter Yunker at the Georgia Institute of Technology and his colleagues wanted to explore what might happen if hackers attacked not just single cars, but multiple vehicles simultaneously. "
IEEE-Spectrum  spectrum-vulnerability  cyber-spectrum 
10 weeks ago by pierredv
Did Bill Gates Steal the Heart of DOS? - IEEE Spectrum
"The big question: Was the operating system Gates sold to IBM his to sell? Or was a key part of it stolen from Kildall?"
IEEE-Spectrum  Bill-Gates  history  computing 
12 weeks ago by pierredv
Can “Internet-of-Body” Thwart Cyber Attacks on Implanted Medical Devices? - IEEE Spectrum
Via Keith Gremban

"Medtronic discloses medical device vulnerabilities, while Purdue University scientists propose countermeasure to block attacks"

"The U.S. Department of Homeland Security last week warned that numerous medical devices made by Medtronic are vulnerable to cyber attack. The vulnerabilities affect 17 of the company’s implantable cardiac device models and the external equipment used to communicate with them.

A Medtronic spokesperson told IEEE Spectrum that the company voluntarily disclosed the vulnerabilities ..."

"At risk are certain models of heart-regulating devices: implantable cardiac resynchronization therapy/defibrillators (CRT-Ds) and implantable cardioverter defibrillators (ICDs). CRT-Ds send electrical impulses to the lower chambers of the heart to help them beat together in a more synchronized pattern. ICDs deliver electrical impulses to correct fast heart rhythms. External computers program the devices and retrieve information.

Such devices emit radio frequency signals that can be detected up to several meters from the body. A malicious individual nearby could conceivably hack into the signal to jam it, alter it, or snoop on it, according to the Feds’ warning."

"For more than a decade researchers have repeatedly warned that medical devices could be turned into murder weapons. Scientists have demonstrated in written reports and live, at conferences, how to hack into an insulin pump, or a pacemaker, or even an entire hospital network."
cybersecurity  healthcare  IoT  IEEE-Spectrum 
may 2019 by pierredv
Ethereum Plans to Cut Its Absurd Energy Consumption by 99 Percent - IEEE Spectrum
"What Ethereum’s PoW algorithm has not prevented, however, is explosive growth in the computing resources devoted to ether mining. The computational power directed at that task grew more than 25-fold in 2017, as the token’s value surged from $8 to $862 and mining firms built dedicated data centers full of general-purpose graphics processing units, which are well-suited to ether mining."

"Ethereum’s plan is to replace PoW with proof of stake (PoS)—an alternative mechanism for distributed consensus that was first applied to a cryptocurrency with the launch of Peercoin in 2012. Instead of millions of processors simultaneously processing the same transactions, PoS randomly picks one to do the job."

"Moving to PoS could also boost security. Under PoS, the location of each validator’s account is known and can be destroyed if that validator breaks the rules. "
IEEE-Spectrum  Ethereum  blockchain  energy 
january 2019 by pierredv
Here Are the Odds That One of SpaceX’s Internet Satellites Will Hit Someone - IEEE Spectrum Dec 2018
"The chance that SpaceX’s planned Starlink satellite constellation will cause an injury or death is 45 percent every six years, according to an IEEE Spectrum analysis of figures submitted by the company to the U.S. Federal Communications Commission."

"When that fuel runs low, after around six years, the satellites will use the remainder to nudge themselves into the denser atmosphere below. Each satellite, just a little smaller in size than a Tesla Model 3, will then swiftly burn up. Except that some of it won’t. "

"When SpaceX plugged the numbers into NASA’s Debris Assessment Software, the package calculated that there was, at most, a 1 in 18,200 chance that an individual satellite in its LEO orbital shells would hurt or kill someone. VLEO satellites were generally slightly riskier, with up to a 1 in 17,400 chance. All figures are handily less than the 1 in 10,000 figure that NASA has adopted as a standard, and that U.S. and European space agencies require for space missions."
IEEE-Spectrum  SpaceX  orbital-debris  risk-assessment  satellite  constellations 
december 2018 by pierredv
Massive MIMO Will Create More Wireless Channels, But Also More Vulnerabilities - IEEE Spectrum, Nov 2018
"As wireless communications systems have to accommodate an ever-increasing number of data transfers, a lack of sufficient protocols for ensuring that data is transferred to the correct user could leave systems open to an attack."

"A major constraint of this approach, especially as the number of communication channels for each base station continues to grow, is the limited number of pilots available. Sometimes, users must be assigned the same pilot sequence, which can interfere with the proper transfer of data and lead to poor system performance. This is called pilot contamination. But this contamination can also be harnessed by an attacker to purposely interfere with data transfers. "

"when an attacker is close to the base station, within 300 meters or closer, he or she can impose their own pilots strongly enough to reduce the total transmission rate of a massive MIMO system by more than 50 percent"

"Pilot contamination can also be used to siphon off data transfers if the attacker’s pilot signals are strong enough, threatening the privacy of wireless communications. "
IEEE-Spectrum  spectrum  cybersecurity  cyber-spectrum  MIMO 
november 2018 by pierredv
Building Smartphone Antennas That Play Nice Together - IEEE Spectrum
"Instead of creating antennas as individual elements and leaving it to the designers to choose where to fit them into a device, it’s better to design a suite of antennas that work well together as a system and then install that system into the mobile device as a single cohesive unit."

"We know the frequencies at which the surrounding antennas are transmitting, so our analog filters look for those specific frequencies and, in effect, short those signals to ground, dissipating their energy while passing the desired signals undisturbed to the receiver."

"we’re manufacturing the entire set of antennas needed for a mobile device on one flexible 0.44-millimeter-thick printed circuit board. Flexibility reduces the cost of manufacturing because it lets us start the process in two dimensions and then turn it into a 3D package—by molding a plastic shape and then wrapping it with the flexible circuit board."
IEEE-Spectrum  antennas  EMC 
november 2018 by pierredv
Wi-Fi Gets More Secure: Everything You Need to Know About WPA3 - IEEE Spectrum
"WPA3, Enhanced Open, Easy Connect: The Wi-Fi Alliance's trio of new protocols explained"
security  technology  Wi-Fi  IEEE-Spectrum 
september 2018 by pierredv
Algorithms Help Power Grids Survive GPS Spoofs - IEEE Spectrum Aug 2018
"Power grids increasingly rely on GPS to stay in sync, which makes them potentially vulnerable to attacks that broadcast false GPS signals. Now researchers have developed algorithms they say could help defend against such assaults, even if a third of a power grid's GPS signals were disrupted."

"PMUs are vulnerable to GPS spoofing attacks, wherein a hacker would place transmitters near a station to broadcast counterfeit GPS signals, which would be picked up by the PMUs. Fooling the PMUs of one or more power stations could lead to disruptions that could cascade throughout an entire power grid."
GPS  IEEE-Spectrum  spoofing  energy  utilities 
august 2018 by pierredv
Facebook May Have Secret Plans to Build a Satellite-Based Internet - IEEE Spectrum May 2018
"In early 2019, PointView’s Athena will also head out to LEO, on an Arianespace Vega rocket. Athena is about the same size and weight (150 kg) as SpaceX and OneWeb’s satellites, but Athena will use high-frequency millimeter-wave radio signals that promise much faster data rates. The company estimates its E-band system will deliver up to 10 gigabits per second."

"Athena will be built by satellite company SSL, based on its SSL-100 design"
IEEE-Spectrum  Facebook  satellite  E-band  light-licensing 
may 2018 by pierredv
How We Reverse Engineered the Cuban “Sonic Weapon” Attack - IEEE Spectrum
"Ultrasonic emitters can produce audible by-products that could have unintentionally harmed diplomats. That is, bad engineering may be a more likely culprit than a sonic weapon."

"Online, we found a manufacturer in Russia that sells a fashionable leather clutch that conceals an ultrasonic emitter, presumably to jam recording devices at cocktail parties. We also found electronics stores that carry high-⁠power ultrasonic jammers that cause microphones to malfunction. One advertised jammer emits 120-dB ultrasonic interference at a distance of 1 meter. "
acoustics  interference  intermodulation  IEEE-Spectrum  ultrasound  jamming  Cuba 
april 2018 by pierredv
The FCC’s Big Problem with Small Satellites - IEEE Spectrum Apr 2018
"The FCC was worried about collisions in space, where even the smallest objects traveling at orbital velocities can inflict massive damage on satellites or, in a worst-case scenario, manned spacecraft. It thought Swarm’s SpaceBees satellites, measuring 10 by 10 by 2.5 cm, would be just too small to track."

"An investigation by IEEE Spectrum has revealed that the FCC licensed multiple satellites smaller than 10 cm over the past five years, including some as small as 3.5 by 3.5 by 0.2 cm. But the commission has also changed its mind from one application to the next, refusing launch permission for satellites that were virtually identical to ones previously authorized. This uncertainty has led to at least one satellite maker exporting his technology rather than risk being denied a license in the U.S."

"Launching a kilogram payload to low earth orbit (LEO) currently costs at least $3000. "

"Eventually, NASA adopted KickSat-2 as an official NASA mission. Due to a regulatory quirk, NASA’s own satellites are overseen by the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) rather than the FCC. KickSat-2 is now slated for launch late this year or early next. "

"Last summer, the London-based Breakthrough launched six Sprites on a German satellite from an Indian launch vehicle, far outside the FCC’s jurisdiction. Germany has no minimum size regulations for satellites."
IEEE-Spectrum  space  FCC  orbital-debris  tracking  cubesats  NASA 
april 2018 by pierredv
LED Streetlights Are Giving Neighborhoods the Blues - IEEE Spectrum, sep 2016
"For some, those first LED lights have been a fiasco. The harsh glare of certain blue-rich designs is now thought to disrupt people’s sleep patterns and harm nocturnal animals. And these concerns have been heaped on the complaints of astronomers, who as far back as 2009 have criticized the new lights. That’s the year the International Dark-Sky Association, a coalition that opposes light pollution, started worrying that blue-rich LEDs could be “a disaster for dark skies and the environment,” says Chris Monrad, a director of IDA and a lighting consultant in Tucson."

"The result is that at night the blue-rich light from an LED streetlamp looks brighter to the eye than the orangish light from a high-pressure sodium lamp—even if the two emit the same number of lumens, which are measured on a scale based on the eyes’ daytime response."
IEEE-Spectrum  astronomy  LED-lighting  history  illumination  lighting 
march 2018 by pierredv
Pivotal Commware Will Start Selling Its Software-Defined Antenna for Holographic Beamforming This Year - IEEE Spectrum Feb 2018
"A new type of cell signaling called holographic beamforming [PDF], developed by a company called Pivotal Commware, could soon replace the old way. A low-cost improvement upon existing phased array beamforming and multiple input, multiple output (MIMO) antennas, holographic beamforming has the potential to target and follow individual or small clusters of devices and provide them with their own high-fidelity beams of radiofrequency (RF) energy."

"Recently, HBF antennas were successfuly tested on Advanced Wireless Service and Personal Communications Service frequencies through 40 Gigahertz (GHz). This includes the millimeter wave frequencies of 28 GHz and 39 GHz that will be dedicated to 5G service. Pivotal Commware plans to be ready for production and commercial deployment of its antennas and cloud-based management system later this year."
IEEE-Spectrum  antennas 
february 2018 by pierredv
How a One-Man Team From California Won NASA's Space Robotics Challenge - IEEE Spectrum
Mirror worlds: "completing some tasks in the Gazebo 3D robot simulator"; cf. also DARPA SSC Coliseum

"NASA’s Space Robotics Challenge (SRC) took place last month, full of virtual Valkyries wandering around a virtual Mars base trying to fix virtual stuff. Anyone was allowed to participate, and since the virtual nature of the competition means there was no need for big expensive robots that mostly didn’t fall over, anyone actually could (and did) participate. Of the 93 teams initially signed up to compete, NASA selected 20 finalist teams based on their performance completing some tasks in the Gazebo 3D robot simulator, and each of those finalists had to program a Valkyrie humanoid to complete a repair mission on a simulated Mars base."
IEEE-Spectrum  mirror-worlds  robotics  NASA 
august 2017 by pierredv
9 Earth-Imaging Start-ups to Watch - IEEE Spectrum, Mar 2014
SkyBox Imaging
Planet Labs CubeSat constellation
UrtheCast
PlanetiQ

"Right now, there’s at most two dozen nonmilitary satellites doing Earth imaging, notes Alex Herz, CEO of Greenbelt, Md.–based Orbit Logic, which makes mission-planning software for satellites. (And if you want to know exactly when any of those satellites is passing overhead, try the company’s SpyMeSat app for iPhone and Android.) “Five years from now, there might be 200 or more up there,” he says."
earth-imaging  satellite  IEEE-Spectrum  cubesats 
august 2017 by pierredv
Invasion of the Hardware Snatchers: Cloned Electronics Pollute the Market - IEEE Spectrum
Via Dale Hatfield

I’m afraid that for now (i.e. until the piano actually falls on my head ;-) I’m skeptical. This is a speculative scare story, the tech equivalent of “lurking strangers are poised to abduct your child” stories.

First, it conflates greed and malice. The writer does their best to argue the distinction doesn’t matter (“While Ashoor appears to have been motivated by greed rather than any desire to do harm, the impact of ersatz equipment in critical electronic systems like a secure router or a car’s engine can still be catastrophic, regardless of the supplier’s intent.”), but I wasn’t persuaded.

There is also no evidence that this is actually a problem: “While there appear to be no published reports of injury or hacking related to this cloning, the risks are bigger today because …” Sure, absence of evidence isn’t evidence of absence – but it creates a strong Bayesian prior (cf. stranger danger).

Even if the cloned electronics market is large (and no evidence is provided that it is; quite the contrary -- $143 million of seized fake network hardware over five years is a drop in the bucket of a $40 billion global enterprise networking market) I get back to greed vs. malice.
IEEE-Spectrum  hardware  cloning  electronics 
april 2017 by pierredv
Whose Drone Was That Anyway? - IEEE Spectrum
"The Chinese company’s proposal attempts to balance the public’s interest in being able to identify who is using a drone at a particular place and time with the privacy interests of the drone’s owner or operator."
drones  privacy  IEEE-Spectrum 
april 2017 by pierredv
CES 2017: Can a Self-Steering Antenna Fix Both Wi-Fi and TV Reception Issues? - IEEE Spectrum
"Ignition Design Labs, with its Portal home Wi-Fi system, and Linksys, with its Velop home mesh network."

"antenna designer Ethertronics suggested a third approach: an automated antenna optimization technology it calls active steering"
Wi-Fi  CES  IEEE-Spectrum  antennas 
january 2017 by pierredv
How the Pioneers of the MOOC Got It Wrong - IEEE Spectrum - Jan 2017
"These MOOC pioneers were therefore stunned when their online courses didn’t perform anything like they had expected."

"What accounts for MOOCs’ modest performance? While the technological solution they devised was novel, most MOOC innovators were unfamiliar with key trends in education. That is, they knew a lot about computers and networks, but they hadn’t really thought through how people learn."

"Indeed, most MOOC founders were unaware that a pedagogical revolution was already under way at the nation’s universities: The traditional lecture was being rejected by many scholars, practitioners, and, most tellingly, tech-savvy students. ... peer-to-peer learning, virtual teamwork, and interactive exercises ... These modes of instruction, known collectively as “active” learning, encourage student engagement, in stark contrast to passive listening in lectures."

" The three principal MOOC providers—Coursera, Udacity, and edX—wandered into a territory they thought was uninhabited. Yet it was a place that was already well occupied by accomplished practitioners who had thought deeply and productively over the last couple of decades about how students learn online."
learning  education  MOOCs  IEEE-Spectrum  Udacity  active-learning  Coursera  EdX 
january 2017 by pierredv
Want Girls Attracted to Tech? Put A for Art in STEM - IEEE Spectrum
Two Bit Circus, a technology entertainment company co-founded by a son of videogame pioneer Nolan Bushnell, has been arguing for some time that the push for STEM in education is missing something. Brent Bushnell has used echnology to make art throughout his career. He says that to really draw talented young people into science and engineering careers, STEM needs an “A” for “Art”, turning it into STEAM.

To better understand how children are drawn to different hobbies—and eventually careers—Two Bit Circus surveyed 500 parents of children between six and 14 years old in order to better understand gender differentiators in how children play and learn. According to the “STEM vs. STEAM: The Gender Gap” report, parents of both male and female children equally report that their child’s favorite STEAM subject in school is math (26 percent) or science (30 percent).
STEM  IEEE-Spectrum 
december 2016 by pierredv
A Radioactive Pen in Your Pocket? Sure! - IEEE Spectrum
In an era of atomic cars and atomic planes, Parker’s 1958 Atomic Pen probably seemed like a good idea

The Atomic Pen used radioactive isotopes to heat the ink to produce various line widths. Or it would have, except no production units were ever made
IEEE-Spectrum  history  nuclear  atomic 
november 2016 by pierredv
A Brief History of the Microwave Oven - IEEE Spectrum - Sep 2016
"As World War II came to an end, so did the market for the magnetron tubes that had been used to generate microwaves for short-range military radar. Magnetron makers like Raytheon eagerly sought new applications for the technology."

"By 1955, Raytheon had begun licensing its microwave technology, and the first microwave oven designed for consumers went on sale from Tappan. The Tappan RL-1 was wall mounted and cost US $1,295 (almost $11,000 today), putting it out of the reach of most people."
IEEE-Spectrum  History  microwave  Raytheon  cooking 
october 2016 by pierredv
“Too Cheap to Meter” Nuclear Power Revisited - IEEE Spectrum - Sep 2016
I still cannot improve on my evaluation from about 10 years ago: a “successful failure.”

"The project to generate electricity from fission stalled during the 1980s, as demand for electricity in affluent economies fell and problems with nuclear power plants multiplied. And three failures were worrisome: Accidents at Three Mile Island in Pennsylvania, in 1979; at Chernobyl in Ukraine, in 1986; and at Fukushima in Japan, in 2011, provided further evidence for those opposed to fission under any circumstances.

Meanwhile, there have been cost overruns in the construction of nuclear plants and a frustrating inability to come up with an acceptable way to store spent nuclear fuel. Nor has there been much success in switching to reactors that might be safer and less expensive than the dominant design of pressurized water reactors, which are essentially beached versions of U.S. Navy submarine designs of the 1950s."
IEEE-Spectrum  nuclear  electricity  energy  history  quotes 
october 2016 by pierredv
The Internet of Fewer Things - IEEE Spectrum - Sep 2016
"Early predictions of 50 billion connected devices by 2020 are being scaled back"
IEEE-Spectrum  projections  trends  forecasts  IoT 
october 2016 by pierredv
Maybe Drone Privacy Shouldn't Be a Federal Case - IEEE Spectrum
"Yesterday, the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration’s new drone rules went into effect. While many drone enthusiasts were pleased to see some long-awaited progress on this front, the folks at the Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC), a privacy advocacy organization in Washington, D.C., don’t count in that group. They’ve been wrangling in court with the FAA over the lack of privacy safeguards in the new regulations—an issue that has dogged drone regulation for years."
"Causby’s legal case went all the way to the Supreme Court in 1946, where the justices found that despite need for public airspace, landowners still commanded rights to “the immediate reaches of the enveloping atmosphere.” In Causby’s case, those immediate reaches went all the way up to 365 feet above ground level. We’re talking prime drone territory here."
IEEE-Spectrum  drones  privacy  FAA  law  opinion 
september 2016 by pierredv
HOPE Hacker Conference Shows Off New Tricks - IEEE Spectrum
"Another session focused on reverse engineering the Iridium satellite communications network. Stefan Zehl and “Schneider” from the Munich Chaos Computer Club (CCC) used software-defined radio systems to look at and decode the signals streaming down from orbit. Each Iridium satellite uses beam antennas to illuminate roughly 400-kilometer-wide spots as it passes over the Earth, so a message intended for a recipient anywhere in that area is broadcast over the entire spot. When Iridium was originally designed in the 1990s, the difficulty of receiving signals without the network’s own hardware made amateur surveillance impossible, so much of the traffic on the network is not encrypted. But now the CCC hackers claim a modified GPS antenna and a software radio is all that’s required to pick up and demodulate signals. By studying packets on a byte-by-byte basis, they were able to identify and decode a number of the different types of messages transmitted by the satellite constellation—including pager messages, emails, and even voice calls, albeit not yet in real time—and presented several samples of each. (Iridium will soon begin launching a new generation of satellites, but they will be backward compatible with existing equipment, so a lot of unencrypted traffic is still likely to flow over the network.)"
IEEE-Spectrum  Iridium  SDR  hacking 
august 2016 by pierredv
Delta Airlines: On Second Thought, the Computer Crash Was Our Fault - IEEE Spectrum
"Delta says it has discovered the real root of the computer crash: One of its own power control modules went bad, allowing a surge that tripped circuits feeding the computer network that handles critical data including reservations, boarding passes, the matching of planes with the appropriate gates, and the roster showing which crew members are staffing each flight. The network is supposed to instantly switch over to backup systems. But as tens of thousands of stranded passengers have learned over the past few days, results may vary."
Delta  crash  IEEE-Spectrum  vulnerability 
august 2016 by pierredv
Revisiting the VCR’s Origins - IEEE Spectrum 1988/republished 2016
JVC and Sony transformed an ingenious concept pioneered by Ampex into a major industry

(The following article was published in IEEE Spectrum in a special anniversary issue in 1988)
Beta  VCR  VHS  technology  history  IEEE-Spectrum  JVS  Sony  standards 
august 2016 by pierredv
Detecting Cybersecurity Threats by Taking the Grid's Pulse - IEEE Spectrum July 2016
"DARPA teams are building grid defenses using phasor measurement units that combine GPS and power sensors"
"Power quality expert Alex McEachern set out to build an advanced power sensor for utility distribution grids, and accidentally produced a promising tool to protect power grids from cyber attack."
"RADICS teams must fuse multiple data streams in real time to provide early warning of a cyber attack. Today's best intrusion detection schemes watch for errant commands on industrial control systems. McEachern’s equipment offers a non-traditional approach: watching for irregularities in the physical behavior of the grid itself. "
"PMUs employ GPS to timestamp readings of voltage, current, and their phase angles (i.e. the position of the voltage and current waves in their 60-hertz cycle). Thanks to the timestamps, readings from across grids spanning millions of square kilometers can be synchronized."
IEEE-Spectrum  energy  utilities  cybersecurity  DARPA  GPS  ARPA-E 
august 2016 by pierredv
Protecting GPS From Spoofers Is Critical to the Future of Navigation - IEEE Spectrum
"The drone demonstration starkly indicated GPS’s vulnerabilities, but we believe that other targets are far more worrisome. Cellphone towers, stock exchanges, and the power grid all rely at least partly on GPS for precise timing. A well-coordinated spoof could interrupt communications, confuse automated financial traders, and inflict crippling power outages. In a worst-case scenario, a spoofer’s operator could overtake airplanes or ships to induce a crash, facilitate a heist, or even kidnap a VIP."
"There are three main ways to protect against GPS spoofing: cryptography, signal-distortion detection, and direction-of-arrival sensing."
IEEE-Spectrum  spoofing  GPS  navigation  shipping  * 
july 2016 by pierredv
Team Delft Wins Amazon Picking Challenge - IEEE Spectrum July 2016
"AutomatonRoboticsIndustrial Robots
Team Delft Wins Amazon Picking Challenge

By Evan Ackerman
Posted 5 Jul 2016 | 17:01 GMT
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Amazon Picking Challenge winner Team Delft robot arm
Photo: Team Delft
With warehouses full of robots that can move shelves from place to place, the only reason that Amazon needs humans anymore is to pick things off of those shelves and put them into boxes, and pick other things out of boxes and put them onto those shelves. Amazon wants robots to be doing these tasks too, but it’s a hard problem—hard enough that the enormous bajillion dollar company is asking other roboticists to solve it for them."
IEEE-Spectrum  Amazon  automation  robotics 
july 2016 by pierredv
People Want Driverless Cars with Utilitarian Ethics, Unless They're a Passenger - IEEE Spectrum June 2016
"At some point in the nearer-than-might-be-comfortable future, an autonomous vehicle (AV) will find itself in a situation where something has gone wrong, and it has two options: either it can make a maneuver that will keep its passenger safe while putting a pedestrian at risk, or it can make a different maneuver that will keep the pedestrian safe while putting its passenger at risk. What an AV does in situations like these will depend on how it’s been programmed: in other words, what ethical choice its software tells it to make."
"When confronted with situations where enforcing individual behavior leads to a better global outcome, it’s often necessary for regulators to get involved. The researchers offer vaccines as an example: nobody really wants to get stuck with a needle, but if everybody does it, we’re all better off. In the context of driverless cars, this means that given the option, most people would choose to ride in or buy an AV that prioritizes their own personal safety above the safety of others, and consequently, car companies will be incentivized to sell cars programmed this way, which is why regulation might be necessary to achieve utilitarian ethics. "
IEEE-Spectrum  automation  ethics  morality  utilitarianism  driverless-cars  transportation  autonomous-vehicle  regulation 
july 2016 by pierredv
Electrification Causes Economic Growth, Right? Maybe Not - IEEE Spectrum
"Electrification is associated with a seemingly endless list of social and economic goods. Nations that use more power tend to have increased income levels and educational attainment and lower risk of infant mortality, to name but a few. So I was baffled to stumble across a pair of economic analyses on electrification in India and Kenya, posted last month, that cast serious doubt on what has long assumed to be a causal link between the glow of electricity and rural development. "
IEEE-Spectrum  development  energy  electricity 
july 2016 by pierredv
FAA Announces Commercial Drone Rules - IEEE Spectrum
if you’re making money with your drone—by taking pictures or videos with it or whatever—and it weights less than 25 kg but more than 0.25 kg, these are the rules that with apply to you
IEEE-Spectrum  FAA  drones  rules  regulations  commerce 
july 2016 by pierredv
Remembering When Grand Central Terminal's Trains Went Electric - IEEE Spectrum
"Yesterday, at Manhattan’s Grand Central Terminal, attention was paid to the old in an IEEE Milestone ceremony commemorating the electrification of its rail traffic (much of it underground, even then) in 1913. "
"What’s most striking about the train propulsion technology introduced back then is how little it has changed over the past century. At the plaque-unveiling ceremony, a rusty old segment of the famed, current-carrying third rail was juxtaposed with a new version, and the only visible difference is in the shinier, more conductive alloy."
IEEE-Spectrum  trains  history  engineering  railroads  electricity 
july 2016 by pierredv
Why Wi-Fi Stinks—and How to Fix It - IEEE Spectrum
Wi-Fi congestion will soon get even worse, thanks to the mobile-phone carriers, which have exhausted much of their exclusive spectrum. These wireless carriers are planning to off-load mobile-data transmissions, as much as 60 percent within the next three years, onto the unlicensed spectrum used by Wi-Fi.
IEEE-Spectrum  Wi-Fi  5GHz  DFS  radar 
july 2016 by pierredv
What 5G Engineers Can Learn from Radio Interference’s Troubled Past - IEEE Spectrum
"Radio interference is an old problem, but 5G and other forms of digital radio may tackle it in new ways"
IEEE-Spectrum  Mitchell-Lazarus  interference  5G 
june 2016 by pierredv
Can You Program Ethics Into a Self-Driving Car? - IEEE Spectrum
"Today no court ever asks why a driver does anything in particular in the critical moments before a crash. The question is moot as to liability—the driver panicked, he wasn’t thinking, he acted on instinct. But when robots are doing the driving, “Why?” becomes a valid question. Human ethical standards, imperfectly codified in law, make all kinds of assumptions that engineers have not yet dared to make. The most important such assumption is that a person of good judgment will know when to disregard the letter of the law in order to honor the spirit of the law. What engineers must now do is teach the elements of good judgment to cars and other self-guided machines—that is, to robots."
"Regulators and litigators will thus be able to hold automated vehicles to superhuman safety standards and to subject them to intense scrutiny following the inevitable, if rare, crashes. Manufacturers and software developers will have to defend a car’s actions in ways unimaginable to today’s human drivers."
IEEE-Spectrum  law  liability  automation  self-driving-car  ethics 
june 2016 by pierredv
Ethereum’s $150-Million Blockchain-Powered Fund Opens Just as Researchers Call For a Halt - IEEE Spectrum
"The DAO’s launch is a feat that should surely stand out as a feather in the cap for the Ethereum network, as it is the most successful crowdfunding campaign yet documented anywhere, ever.

But yesterday, just hours before The DAO was scheduled to open for business and begin taking project proposals, three blockchain researchers published an article outlining multiple flaws in the governance structure of the organization that they say could be used as vectors for attack. The researchers are asking everyone involved with The DAO to temporarily halt funding activities and fix the critical problems."
IEEE-Spectrum  Ethereum  blockchain  institutions  Vlad-Zamfir  DAO 
june 2016 by pierredv
Ethereum Developer Explores the Dark Side of Bitcoin-Inspired Technology - IEEE Spectrum
"Ethereum is one of the projects bringing this technology to the masses. It provides a user-friendly platform for deploying software onto a blockchain network. Vlad Zamfir has been working on refining the protocols that will ensure that the Ethereum network can be scaled up. Most of the people developing similar systems speak with unqualified exhilaration about blockchain technology’s disruptive ­potential: They tout censor-proof social media tools, automated microlending apps, and government-independent identity verification, to name just a few examples. But, in his moments of greatest doubt, Zamfir finds the resulting loss of societal control terrifying. He spoke with IEEE Spectrum about the darker potential of public blockchains, what can be done to keep the technology an engine for social good, and why he still thinks the benefits outweigh the risks."
IEEE-Spectrum  Ethereum  blockchain  institutions  Vlad-Zamfir  bitcoin  ethics  morality 
june 2016 by pierredv
Claude Shannon: Tinkerer, Prankster, and Father of Information Theory - IEEE Spectrum
“I’ve always pursued my interests without much regard for final value or value to the world,” he said cheerfully. “I’ve spent lots of time on totally useless things.”
"John R. Pierce, a former coworker of Shannon who is now a professor emeritus at California’s Stanford University, has compared the “widespread abuse” of information theory to that inflicted on two other profound and much misunderstood scientific ideas: Heisenberg’s uncertainty principle and Einstein’s theory of relativity."
"He has built several juggling machines and devised what may be the unified field theory of juggling: If B equals the number of balls, H the number of hands, D the time each ball spends in a hand, F the time of flight of each ball, and E the time each hand is empty, then B/H = (D + F)/(D + E)."
"Shannon himself had a genius for avoiding that “strangest place,” according to Elwyn Berlekamp, who studied under him at MIT and cowrote several papers with him. “There are doable problems that are trivial, and profound problems that are not doable,” Berlekamp explained. Shannon had a “fantastic intuition and ability to formulate profound problems that were doable.”"
IEEE-Spectrum  Claude-Shannon  information-theory  juggling  quotations 
may 2016 by pierredv
Do Police Body Cameras Really Work? - IEEE Spectrum May 2016
"Although body cams are relatively straightforward technology, their effectiveness has proven highly variable, for reasons that remain puzzling. Why, for example, does their use reduce by more than half the number of times officers apply force during their encounters with the public in some places, while in other places it nearly doubles the reported use of force?"
"At least 44 studies illustrate that CCTV reduces the overall level of crime by only about 16 percent, with half of that reduction concentrated in parking lots. There is no effect at all on assaults, robberies, and similar against-person violent crimes. The evidence also tends to show that what little criminal behavior CCTV prevents is just displaced to other areas."
Police body cameras: "if you consider the 10 other places where we have now completed tests of such cameras, you would conclude that their overall effect on police use of force is a wash: In some instances they help, in some they don’t appear to change police behavior, and in other situations they actually backfire, seemingly increasing the use of force."
"So even though I’m a great supporter of body cameras, I’d advise police departments to move slowly and thoughtfully in their adoption. Test them in ways that allow these cameras to fail as much as to succeed. Try out different procedures and pick the ones that work best."
IEEE-Spectrum  policing  criminal-justice  surveillance 
may 2016 by pierredv
Autonomous Robot Surgeon Bests Humans in World First - IEEE Spectrum May 2016
"For this study, published today in the journal Science Translational Medicine, researchers programmed their robot to carry out a procedure called intestinal anastomosis, in which a piece of intestine that’s been cut through is stitched back together. It’s like repairing a garden hose, said Ryan Decker, the senior engineer on the team, in that the sutures must be tight and regularly spaced to prevent leaks. STAR performed this task both on ex vivo tissue in the lab and on in vivo tissue in an anesthetized pig, and experienced human surgeons were given the same tasks. When the resulting sutures were compared, STAR’s stitches were more consistent and more resistant to leaks."
automation  surgery  healthcare  health  IEEE-Spectrum 
may 2016 by pierredv
Video Friday: iCub Does Yoga, Wooden Walking Robot, and Wind Tunnel for Drones - IEEE Spectrum
"This video introduces the monospinner, the mechanically simplest controllable flying machine in existence. It has only one moving part (the rotating propeller). The vehicle features no additional actuators or aerodynamic surfaces."
IEEE-Spectrum  drones  ETH-Zurich  video 
may 2016 by pierredv
The Self-Driving Car Industry Goes to Washington - IEEE Spectrum - Apr 2016
A bevy of robocar-oriented companies has founded a lobby—a move than provides the single clearest sign that the industry is maturing.

The lobby’s chief, David Strickland, would like all regulatory decisions to be coordinated by the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA). Strickland sure knows what to do: he’s a former administrator of NHTSA—and yet another example of Washington’s revolving door.

The lobby is called the Self-Driving Coalition for Safer Streets, and it includes Google, Ford, Volvo, Uber and Lyft. It looks as if Google is the prime mover here.
lobbying  transportation  IEEE-Spectrum 
may 2016 by pierredv
Software Rules Tax Preparation, But at What Cost? - IEEE Spectrum, Apr 2016
“The upfront investment required to build a comprehensive abstraction layer on top of such large collection of requirements is a large barrier of entry to new competitors.”

“But not everything that’s good for TurboTax is good for its customers, and certainly not for the IRS. For one thing, TurboTax has a vested interest in making sure the tax code stays complex or becomes even more complex over time. They have lobbied heavily against initiatives like California’s return-free-filing”

“… the sheer scale of TurboTax’s customer base has given them a wealth of valuable data, allowing the company to understand taxes as well as—and sometimes better—than the IRS. ... A pair of whistleblowers claimed that TurboTax ignored its own internal fraud models, which were more reliable than those at the IRS. Similarly, I suspect that TurboTax has a large enough sample size of data to accurately reverse engineer IRS auditing risk models (which allows them to confidently offer audit protection for an additional fee).”
automation  taxes  IEEE-Spectrum 
april 2016 by pierredv
London’s Crossrail Is a $21 Billion Test of Virtual Modeling - IEEE Spectrum Mar 2016
"The entire network was designed in a 3-D virtual environment; once the railway is up and running, a version of this 3-D model will help managers monitor, from a tablet, countless electrical components and systems across the network. “We’ve built two railways—one real, one virtual reality,” says Rhys Williams, the head of mechanical, electrical, and public health for Crossrail."
"The Crossrail model actually consists of more than 250,000 little models joined together in a database and linked to another database containing all the data and documentation about all of the railway’s assets—from 1-watt LED lightbulbs to the giant fans that extract smoke in the event of a fire—as well as detailed descriptions of all the work that’s going on. Overall, the spatial data takes up a few terabytes, with the associated documentation adding a further 5 terabytes so far."
"The model even features an augmented-reality interface. Workers are able to hold an iPad up to a station wall, for example..."
IEEE-Spectrum  London  Crossrail  design  construction  mirror-worlds  augmented-reality 
march 2016 by pierredv
Why You Want Your Drone to Have Emotions - Mar 2016
"Why would anyone want a drone with the ability to express emotions? Emotional expression is, essentially, a way of communicating information. "
IEEE-Spectrum  drones  emotion 
march 2016 by pierredv
EnergywiseEnergyThe Smarter Grid NASA to Test Upgraded Earth Models for Solar Storm Threat - IEEE Spectrum Mar 2016
"NASA relies on spacecraft to help keep watch for solar storms erupting on the sun. But on the ground, the space agency’s Solar Shield project aims to improve computer simulations that predict if those solar storms will create electrical hazards for power plants and transmission lines."
“One of the big new things coming out of this project in the next few months or so will be the inclusion of a full physics, 3-D treatment of the geomagnetic induction process that drives the main hazard from solar storms,” says Antti Pulkkinen, a heliophysicist at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center.
"The so-called Carrington Event of 1859 mostly took down telegraph systems and gave some telegraph operators a frightful shock. But a 2013 study by the Lloyd’s insurance market estimated that a similar event in modern times could cause up to US $2.6 trillion in damage for North America alone. In 2012, the Earth dodged a bullet when a huge solar flare that would have rivaled the Carrington Event missed striking our planet by just nine days."
IEEE-Spectrum  solar-storm  NOAA  NASA  modeling  Carrington-Event 
march 2016 by pierredv
Nervana Systems Puts Deep Learning AI in the Cloud - IEEE Spectrum - By Jeremy Hsu Posted 3 Mar 2016
"On 29 February, Nervana officially debuted its Nervana Cloud service. Nervana Cloud is a hosted hardware and software platform that allows any organization to develop its own deep learning solutions tailored to the specific problems of its industry, be it healthcare, agriculture, finance, energy, or something else. The cloud service also promises much speedier solutions than competing AI cloud platforms—up to 10 times faster."
AI  deep-learning  IEEE-Spectrum 
march 2016 by pierredv
Nissan Disables App That Let You (And Everyone Else) Remotely Access Leafs - IEEE Spectrum Feb 2016
“What’s weird about this, as Hunt discovered, is not so much that the Nissan app had poor security: it’s more that the security was utterly nonexistent, to the extent that Hunt and his colleagues think it must have been a conscious choice by Nissan.”
iot  cybersecurity  hacking  automobile  IEEE-Spectrum 
march 2016 by pierredv
Is Keck’s Law Coming to an End? - IEEE Spectrum, Jeff Hecht Feb 2016
"After decades of exponential growth, fiber-optic capacity may be facing a plateau"
IEEE-Spectrum  optoelectronics  history  fiber  fiber-optics 
february 2016 by pierredv
Self-Driving Cars Will Be Ready Before Our Laws Are - IEEE Spectrum
"For now, the legal landscape is a hodgepodge." "The solution to the lawsuit problem is actually pretty simple. To level the playing field between human drivers and computer drivers, we should simply treat them equally. Instead of applying design-defect laws to computer drivers, use ordinary negligence laws. That is, a computer driver should be held liable only if a human driver who took the same actions in the same circumstances would be held liable."
IEEE-Spectrum  self-driving-cars  transport  automation  law 
february 2016 by pierredv
Telecom Experts Plot a Path to 5G - IEEE Spectrum
"In October, the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) will try to give 5G a definition. "
IEEE-Spectrum  5G 
october 2015 by pierredv
Electronic Noise Is Drowning Out the Internet of Things - IEEE Spectrum Sep 2015
"Our increasingly connected world needs better protection against RF noise pollution"
RF-noise  noise-floor  IEEE-Spectrum 
september 2015 by pierredv
The STEM Crisis Is a Myth - IEEE Spectrum, Robert Charette, Aug 2013
"Forget the dire predictions of a looming shortfall of scientists, technologists, engineers, and mathematicians"
employment  STEM  IEEE-Spectrum  ** 
september 2013 by pierredv
OSI: The Internet That Wasn’t - IEEE Spectrum July 2013
"How TCP/IP eclipsed the Open Systems Interconnection standards to become the global protocol for computer networking"
history  multi-stakeholder  INWG  IEEE-Spectrum  ISO  ARPANET  OSI  TCP/IP  internet 
august 2013 by pierredv
Millimeter Waves May Be the Future of 5G Phones - IEEE Spectrum June 2013
"Samsung’s millimeter-wave transceiver technology could enable ultrafast mobile broadband by 2020" "By dynamically varying the signal phase at each antenna, this transceiver generates a beam just 10 degrees wide that it can switch rapidly in any direction, as if it were a hyperactive searchlight." "In outdoor experiments near Samsung’s Advanced Communications Lab, in Suwon, South Korea, a prototype transmitter was able to send data at more than 1 Gb/s to two receivers moving up to 8 kilometers per hour—about the speed of a fast jog. Using transmission power “no higher than currently used in 4G base stations,” the devices were able to connect up to 2 km away when in sight of one another, says Wonil Roh, who heads the Suwon lab. For non-line-of-sight connections, the range shrank to about 200 to 300 meters."
RF  5G  beam-forming  WiGig  IEEE-Spectrum  Samsung  antennas  mmWave 
july 2013 by pierredv
Changing the Transistor Channel - IEEE Spectrum
Ending silicon’s central role in transistors could maintain the march of Moore’s Law
Moore's  Law  IEEE-Spectrum  transistors  silicon 
july 2013 by pierredv
The Troubled Life of Patent No. 6,456,841 - IEEE Spectrum
"Tracing the tortured legal trail of a simple smartphone patent "
IPR  IEEE-Spectrum  patents 
may 2013 by pierredv
When Spectrum Auctions Fail - IEEE Spectrum, Mitchell Lazarus
"Now, however, the tradition of letting those engineers work together to squeeze in links is under assault. More and more, government regulators in the United States and the United Kingdom have been awarding licenses for fixed-microwave communications to the highest bidder, auctioning off the spectrum as they have done for many other wireless services. In short, auctioning point-to-point microwave licenses just doesn’t make much sense—except perhaps for a few very competitive corridors. Otherwise, it’s better to let engineers coordinate these point-to-point operations, a system that has used the radio spectrum very efficiently ever since the radar engineers of World War II began turning their dishes into extremely reliable cables of air."
auctions  Mitchell-Lazarus  point-to-point  microwave  microwave  IEEE-Spectrum  opinion  FCC  licenses 
april 2013 by pierredv
Peaceful Coexistence on the Radio Spectrum - IEEE Spectrum
"The trials of a small team of engineers who set out to reanimate paralyzed limbs demonstrate the virtues of dynamic spectrum sharing"
sharing  medical  spectrum  IEEE-Spectrum  devices 
april 2013 by pierredv
Are Boeing's Battery Difficulties Part of a Much Bigger Problem? - IEEE Spectrum
"Seventy percent of the Dreamliner is preassembled by a tiered system of subcontractors that Boeing has never used before" Interview by Steven Cherry of Christopher Tang, author with Joshua Zimmerman of a rather prescient 2009 business journal article entitled “Managing New Product Development and Supply Chain Risks: The Boeing 787 Case.”
Boeing  manufacturing  aviation  unintended-consequences  IEEE-Spectrum 
march 2013 by pierredv
Phreaking Out Ma Bell - IEEE Spectrum
"How a buccaneering young engineer built the little blue box that broke into the biggest network in the world"
telephony  history  IEEE-Spectrum  hacking  phreaking  AT&T 
february 2013 by pierredv
License Plates, Cameras, and Our Vanishing Privacy - IEEE Spectrum
" there are many cameras that are set up all over the country that are photographing traffic. And the question then is, Where is that data being sent? Who is analyzing it? And what is being done with it? Is it being used for what purpose? Because traffic cameras that are just continuously on are recording data from people who are perfectly law abiding, who are simply driving to work on a public highway."
IEEE-Spectrum  surveillance  privacy 
december 2012 by pierredv

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