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CES 2018: The Rise of Drones

Learn about new drones, smart home gadgets, and mesh networks in this live broadcast from the CES show floor

1 min read
Overview photograph of the CES 2018 floor.
Photo: Ethan Miller/Getty Images

On the final day of CES in Las Vegas, IEEE Spectrum senior editor Stephen Cass interviewed Joe Lillie [PDF], a telecom consultant with BIZPHYX, about the dangers of automation and Lillie’s dream of “using fewer devices to do more things.”

Lillie also shared his observations from attending CES over the years, such as watching drones graduate from a novelty to a tool.

“Five years ago, drones were sort of a stand-alone device. Almost a toy,” he said. “But there was anticipation there would be applications. Fast forward a couple of years and all of a sudden, we see drones synchronized—six, seven together, dancing to the music.”

Lillie figures, in a few more years, drones will be widely used to deliver everyday items to people’s homes within a few hours of when they place an online order.

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He also acknowledged concerns about drone-based weapons, and whether such devices would be susceptible to hackers. “What we always need to be aware of as developers is the potential misuse of a technology,” he said. “Every technology can be misused. Can that misuse be designed out of the technology? That’s the challenge for young engineers.”

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Deep Learning Could Bring the Concert Experience Home

The century-old quest for truly realistic sound production is finally paying off

12 min read
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Image containing multiple aspects such as instruments and left and right open hands.
Stuart Bradford
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Now that recorded sound has become ubiquitous, we hardly think about it. From our smartphones, smart speakers, TVs, radios, disc players, and car sound systems, it’s an enduring and enjoyable presence in our lives. In 2017, a survey by the polling firm Nielsen suggested that some 90 percent of the U.S. population listens to music regularly and that, on average, they do so 32 hours per week.

Behind this free-flowing pleasure are enormous industries applying technology to the long-standing goal of reproducing sound with the greatest possible realism. From Edison’s phonograph and the horn speakers of the 1880s, successive generations of engineers in pursuit of this ideal invented and exploited countless technologies: triode vacuum tubes, dynamic loudspeakers, magnetic phonograph cartridges, solid-state amplifier circuits in scores of different topologies, electrostatic speakers, optical discs, stereo, and surround sound. And over the past five decades, digital technologies, like audio compression and streaming, have transformed the music industry.

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