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Radios With Micromachined Resonators

Future wireless designs will replace electronics with precision mechanical components

12 min read
Radios With Micromachined Resonators
Illustration: Harry Campbell

We do love our cellphones. And we hate them, too, of course—when they drop a call, go dead in the middle of a conversation, or simply fail to work in another country. Soon we’ll probably be complaining about other things—perhaps that our handsets can’t receive satellite TV broadcasts or last more than a week on a single charge.

You might guess that better microelectronics will soon provide higher data rates, lower power consumption, and greater flexibility in the types of communication that our handsets can manage. To some extent, that’s true. But transistor advances alone will probably not be enough. The Moore’s Law world of regularly doubling transistor densities has brought us cheap PCs that outperform the multimillion-dollar mainframes of 30 years ago, but those incredible shrinking transistors might not do much to eliminate dropped calls. In this respect, the most significant improvements may, in fact, come from what seems a bizarre source: better mechanical components.

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Video Friday: ReachBot

Your weekly selection of awesome robot videos

4 min read

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.

Robotics Summit & Expo: 10–11 May 2023, BOSTON
ICRA 2023: 29 May–2 June 2023, LONDON
RoboCup 2023: 4–10 July 2023, BORDEAUX, FRANCE
RSS 2023: 10–14 July 2023, DAEGU, KOREA
IEEE RO-MAN 2023: 28–31 August 2023, BUSAN, KOREA
CLAWAR 2023: 2–4 October 2023, FLORIANOPOLIS, BRAZIL

Enjoy today’s videos!

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Designing a Silicon Photonic MEMS Phase Shifter With Simulation

Engineers at EPFL used simulation to design photonic devices for enhanced optical network speed, capacity, and reliability

4 min read
Designing a Silicon Photonic MEMS Phase Shifter With Simulation

This sponsored article is brought to you by COMSOL.

The modern internet-connected world is often described as wired, but most core network data traffic is actually carried by optical fiber — not electric wires. Despite this, existing infrastructure still relies on many electrical signal processing components embedded inside fiber optic networks. Replacing these components with photonic devices could boost network speed, capacity, and reliability. To help realize the potential of this emerging technology, a multinational team at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Lausanne (EPFL) has developed a prototype of a silicon photonic phase shifter, a device that could become an essential building block for the next generation of optical fiber data networks.

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