The October 2022 issue of IEEE Spectrum is here!

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iCandy: A Better View

A panoramic vision system, an eye tracker, and a 3-D model of a fetus

1 min read
iCandy: A Better View

Photo: Kyodo/Landov
Researchers from the Industrial Technology Center of Fukui prefecture, in Japan, have teamed up with a textile maker and a solar battery manufacturer to produce textile fabric interwoven with 1.2-millimeter-diameter solar-cell balls. The researchers say that solar fabric—which they aim to commercialize by 2015—will likely yield more energy than today’s flat solar panels, because the spherical balls will absorb sunlight from any direction.

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From WinZips to Cat GIFs, Jacob Ziv’s Algorithms Have Powered Decades of Compression

The lossless-compression pioneer received the 2021 IEEE Medal of Honor

11 min read
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Photo of Jacob Ziv
Photo: Rami Shlush
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Lossless data compression seems a bit like a magic trick. Its cousin, lossy compression, is easier to comprehend. Lossy algorithms are used to get music into the popular MP3 format and turn a digital image into a standard JPEG file. They do this by selectively removing bits, taking what scientists know about the way we see and hear to determine which bits we'd least miss. But no one can make the case that the resulting file is a perfect replica of the original.

Not so with lossless data compression. Bits do disappear, making the data file dramatically smaller and thus easier to store and transmit. The important difference is that the bits reappear on command. It's as if the bits are rabbits in a magician's act, disappearing and then reappearing from inside a hat at the wave of a wand.

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