The December 2022 issue of IEEE Spectrum is here!

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A Compass in Every Smartphone

Cheaper, better electronic compasses bring augmented reality and other features to your handset

3 min read

An old axiom says that in order to know where you're going, you first have to know where you are. To that, add that you should know which way you're facing. Makers of wireless handsets, having already installed GPS receivers, are poised to flood the market with phones containing tiny electronic compasses that allow the gadget to sense exactly what direction it's facing.

According to electronics industry analysis firm iSuppli Corp., in El Segundo, Calif., we can expect to see an increasing number of cellphones containing electronic compasses. Analysts predict the market for magnetic compass sensors will grow from the 8.7 million manufactured in 2008 to more than 540 million in 2013.

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The Transistor at 75

The past, present, and future of the modern world’s most important invention

2 min read
A photo of a birthday cake with 75 written on it.
Lisa Sheehan

Seventy-five years is a long time. It’s so long that most of us don’t remember a time before the transistor, and long enough for many engineers to have devoted entire careers to its use and development. In honor of this most important of technological achievements, this issue’s package of articles explores the transistor’s historical journey and potential future.

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