Proposed FCC rules may smooth path to 5G wireless tech for US.

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Mobile network traffic is heading in a direction that pleases many in the wireless industry. The Federal Communications on Thursday proposed new rules in wireless frequencies above 24 GHz.

The FCC news release read: “The FCC took steps today to maintain United States leadership in wireless by proposing new rules for wireless broadband in wireless frequencies above 24 GHz. These proposed rules are an opportunity to move forward on creating a regulatory environment in which these emerging next-generation mobile technologies – such as so-called 5G mobile service – can potentially take hold and deliver benefits to consumers, businesses, and the U.S. economy.”

It was previously assumed physical and tech limitations
could not support mobile service in these bands. New tech developments may allow the use of these high frequencies for mobile applications – like 5G service – with significantly more capacity and faster speeds for next generation mobile service.
Building off of years of successful spectrum policy, this NPRM proposes to create new flexible use service rules in the 28 GHz, 37 GHz, 39 GHz, and 64-71 GHz bands. The NPRM proposes to make these bands available using a variety of authorization schemes, including traditional wide area licensing, unlicensed, and a shared approach that provides access for both local area and wide area
networks.

Refrence:  https://www.fcc.gov/document/fcc-promotes-higher-frequency-spectrum-future-wireless-technology

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Smart lights to enlight your shopping experience

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Phillips recently introduced a system that connects in-store LED lights with consumers’ smart phones. Using a downloadable app, people will be able to locate items on their shopping lists or get coupons as they pass products on the aisles. Retailers can send targeted information such as recipes and coupons to consumers based on their precise location within stores, while gaining benefits of energy-efficient LED lighting, says Philips.

“The beauty of the system is that retailers do not have to invest in additional infrastructure to house, power and support location beacons for indoor positioning. The light fixtures themselves can communicate this information by virtue of their presence everywhere in the store,” said Philips Lighting’s Gerben van der Lugt in a statement.

The company is demonstrating the retail lighting system at the EuroShop retail trade show in Düsseldorf, Germany, this week. Philips is already testing it with an undisclosed number of retailers.

The system uses Visual Light Communications (VLC) to talk with consumers’ smartphones. Unlike the wireless protocols Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, and Zigbee, which use radio waves to send information, VLC relies on the store lights to transmit data to the camera on a smart phone in fast pulses. The lights blink at frequencies that are undetectable by people, according to LEDs Magazine.

There are already a number of other efforts aimed at adding communications and sensors to LED light fixtures. Last year, researchers at the University of Strathclyde in the U.K. demonstrated LED lights with optical communications, which they call “Li-Fi.” That setup was able to operate at gigabit-per-second speeds, according to a BBC article.

Startup ByteLight has developed a system similar to Philips’ retail lighting network. It also uses light pulses to communicate with consumers’ smart phones in stores. Other companies, such as Silver Spring Networks, in Redwood City, Calif., have developed street lights with sensors and radios that allow city managers to remotely monitor traffic density or air quality.

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The New York Times today reported that the airport in Newark, New Jersey, is operating smart lighting systems with cameras that make it easier to monitor the facility. The lights allow personnel to spot long lines, look at license plate numbers, and potentially send alerts about suspicious activity.

But these smart lighting systems, while powerful, are raising concerns about privacy and whether new policies are needed to address this emerging technology. “There are some people in the commercial space who say, ‘Oh, big data—well, let’s collect everything, keep it around forever, we’ll pay for somebody to think about security later,’ ” Justin Brookman from the Center for Democracy and Technology told the Times.

In the case of Philips’ retail lighting application, consumers would have to download an app, which indicates their willingness to have their movements tracked. But as lighting and other everyday items such as thermostats and streetlights are equipped with sensors and wireless networking, it raises new questions about what is an acceptable amount of monitoring and data collection.

Businesses have a good economic incentive to network their lighting. By connecting lights with occupancy and daylight sensors to building management systems, they can greatly reduce electricity use—and energy costs—in commercial or institutional buildings.

Regardless of whether retailers adopt Philips’ smart lighting system, one thing is clear: the mobile phone in your purse or pocket is just one of a growing number of connected, smart devices in our daily environment.

NEWS courtesy: IEEE SPECTRUM

Sono : your next step to noise free indoor environment.

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If you’re the sort that needs peace and quiet to get anything done, escaping the noise pollution of every day life — regardless of where you’re located — is no easy task. A white noise machine can help, but in the end it’s still electronic noise, and unless you can afford a fancy sound system, the noise often sounds unnatural. A new device that sticks onto your window, Sono, will not only cancel real-world noise, but isolate the noises you’d prefer to hear, if any.

That means the soothing sounds of chirping birds and the wind rustling through trees would make its way across the street and into your bedroom (even the horn of vehicles down the street is at its maximum). You could put on some noise-canceling headphones, but then you’ll have a huge pair of headphones tying you down; music doesn’t do the job white noise does, either. With Sono, you can stick the device right on your window, and fiddle with some settings to either cancel out noise entirely, or cancel out the specific noises that are drowning out the peaceful ones.

As you may have guessed, Sono does sound too good to be true within the realm of modern day technology, and it isn’t a product you can go out and purchase at the moment. Rather, it’s a concept created by Austrian industrial designer Rudolf Stefanich.  Sono works by vibrating a window in a pattern counter to the vibrations caused by the ambient noise, essentially turning the surface into a noise-canceling speaker. During prototype testing, Sono’s transducer used active noise canceling to successfully lower the audio signal by 12 decibels — which would probably do a good job of blocking out quieter sounds in the 30-80 dB range, but you’d still definitely hear traffic and other loud sounds.

The device employs concentric broadband antenna rings, and can be charged through WiFi signals or the standard electric outlet, so your noise shield won’t unceremoniously lower in the middle of the night.

The strength of Sono is not that it can cancel out obnoxious ambient noises, but can still filter pleasant ambient noises through. So, not only can you still get the chirping birds and rustling leaves from that park across the street, but the sounds are natural — not some recreation on your phone that sounds very digital. Though Stefanich’s device is more of a concept than a tangible item, the theory behind the device was successfully tested with that aforementioned prototype. Sono  environment is a finalist for the James Dyson Award, so it’s also getting a fair amount of recognition. Until Stefanich’s device can get production funding — and more testing, considering it sounds like it employs a dark magic to achieve the noise-filtering result — we’ll have to stick to our tinny-sounding white noise smartphone apps.

Courtesy: http://www.extremetech.com

Electronic Whiskers Could Help Robots Sense Their Surroundings

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Robot lovers, rejoice: The world is one step closer to “robocat.” Many mammals use special hairs on their faces to feel for unseen objects. Researchers realized artificial whiskers could help robots sense the world around them, but until now, attempts at whiskerlike sensors have been bulky and inefficient. Using cutting-edge materials, a team of researchers has now developed electronic whiskers with a sensitivity and size mimicking their natural counterparts. The team coated flexible strands of silicon rubber with a mix of long chains of carbon atoms, called carbon nanotubes, and tiny bunches of silver molecules, called silver nanoparticles. The carbon nanotubes added flexibility and durability while the silver nanoparticles added a way to measure small changes in strain on the whiskers. As each whisker flexes, the electrical resistance inside changes. By running a current through the whisker, the researchers measured the change in resistance and, therefore, the amount of flex. This design proved 10 times more sensitive than previous efforts, with each whisker capable of detecting the pressure equivalent of a dollar bill resting on a table, the researchers report online this week in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. The team says its techniques could one day help engineers create better wearable electronics, such as flexible heart monitors, and better sensors for robots. Until then it might be worth brainstorming names for your robotic kitty.