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Cellphones for Science

Scientists want to put sensors into everyone's hands

3 min read

Being at the right place with a camera phone can make anyone an amateur reporter nowadays. How about turning cellphone users into amateur scientists? Cellphones can take pictures, record sounds, reveal location, and even measure temperature and sense light. And they are everywhere—there are more than 260 million subscribers in the United States alone. So cellphones seem an ideal tool for collecting research data, according to Eric Paulos, assistant professor at Carnegie Mellon University’s Human-Computer Interaction Institute, in Pittsburgh.

Paulos has lofty goals. He wants to incorporate various environment sensors into cellphones. Everyday cellphone users would then become ”citizen scientists,” measuring temperature, wind speed, pollen count, or air pollution levels and sharing the data with researchers. He will be presenting his ideas next month at the ETech 2009 conference in San Jose, Calif.

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The Cellular Industry’s Clash Over the Movement to Remake Networks

The wireless industry is divided on Open RAN’s goal to make network components interoperable

13 min read
Photo: George Frey/AFP/Getty Images
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We've all been told that 5G wireless is going to deliver amazing capabilities and services. But it won't come cheap. When all is said and done, 5G will cost almost US $1 trillion to deploy over the next half decade. That enormous expense will be borne mostly by network operators, companies like AT&T, China Mobile, Deutsche Telekom, Vodafone, and dozens more around the world that provide cellular service to their customers. Facing such an immense cost, these operators asked a very reasonable question: How can we make this cheaper and more flexible?

Their answer: Make it possible to mix and match network components from different companies, with the goal of fostering more competition and driving down prices. At the same time, they sparked a schism within the industry over how wireless networks should be built. Their opponents—and sometimes begrudging partners—are the handful of telecom-equipment vendors capable of providing the hardware the network operators have been buying and deploying for years.

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