Increasing Use of Radar Tests Spectrum Authorities

The FCC in particular needs to make radar regulation more friendly to innovators

12 min read
A technician works on a Doppler weather radar’s parabolic antenna, which is situated within a large tiled dome.
Dishing Out Waves: A technician works on a Doppler weather radar’s parabolic antenna, which is situated within a large tiled dome.
Photo: Brownie Harris/Corbis

During the 1930s, with Europe preparing for war, the British government badly needed a way to detect the approach of enemy aircraft. It got one, thanks to a bookish-looking engineer named Robert Watson-Watt, who devised and successfully tested a primitive radar system in 1935. By the time of the Battle of Britain in 1940, a chain of radar stations along England’s eastern and southern coasts was providing enough warning of incoming Luftwaffe bombers to allow civilians to find shelter underground and Royal Air Force pilots to scramble their fighters into the air. King George VI recognized Watson-Watt’s accomplishments with a knighthood in 1942. Some historians even credit the engineer with Britain’s survival during those terrifying times.

Some 15 years later, when Watson-Watt was in his 60s and I was in my teens, he spoke at my Canadian high school. The best part of the talk for us was his story about having been pulled over in a radar speed trap. He read us a poem he had composed while waiting for his case to be called:

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Video Friday: Turkey Sandwich

Your weekly selection of awesome robot videos

4 min read
A teleoperated humanoid robot torso stands in a kitchen assembling a turkey sandwich from ingredients on a tray

Video Friday is your weekly selection of awesome robotics videos, collected by your friends at IEEE Spectrum robotics. We also post a weekly calendar of upcoming robotics events for the next few months. Please send us your events for inclusion.

CoRL 2022: 14–18 December 2022, AUCKLAND, NEW ZEALAND

Enjoy today's videos!

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New AI Speeds Computer Graphics by Up to 5x

Neural rendering harnesses machine learning to paint pixels

5 min read
Four examples of Nvidia's Instant NeRF 2D-to-3D machine learning model placed side-by-side.

Nvidia Instant NeRF uses neural rendering to generate 3D visuals from 2D images.


On 20 September, Nvidia’s Vice President of Applied Deep Learning, Bryan Cantanzaro, went to Twitter with a bold claim: In certain GPU-heavy games, like the classic first-person platformer Portal, seven out of eight pixels on the screen are generated by a new machine-learning algorithm. That’s enough, he said, to accelerate rendering by up to 5x.

This impressive feat is currently limited to a few dozen 3D games, but it’s a hint at the gains neural rendering will soon deliver. The technique will unlock new potential in everyday consumer electronics.

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Accelerate the Future of Innovation

Download these free whitepapers to learn more about emerging technologies like 5G, 6G, and quantum computing

1 min read

Looking for help with technical challenges related to emerging technologies like 5G, 6G, and quantum computing?

Download these three whitepapers to help inspire and accelerate your future innovations:

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