Running off the Rails

High-speed rail works well in Europe and Japan, so why can't the United States get it right?

7 min read
Running off the Rails

This is part of IEEE Spectrum's special report: What's Wrong—What's Next: 2003 Technology Forecast & Review.

North America is facing a transportation crisis. Highways in urban areas are becoming more congested every year. Airlines are teetering on the brink of bankruptcy, clinging to bewildering fare structures and otherwise alienating customers. Fuels still come from oil imported from regions of the world that are potentially unstable. It's time for North Americans to get serious about high-speed rail.

Keep reading...Show less

This article is for IEEE members only. Join IEEE to access our full archive.

Join the world’s largest professional organization devoted to engineering and applied sciences and get access to all of Spectrum’s articles, podcasts, and special reports. Learn more →

If you're already an IEEE member, please sign in to continue reading.

Membership includes:

  • Get unlimited access to IEEE Spectrum content
  • Follow your favorite topics to create a personalized feed of IEEE Spectrum content
  • Save Spectrum articles to read later
  • Network with other technology professionals
  • Establish a professional profile
  • Create a group to share and collaborate on projects
  • Discover IEEE events and activities
  • Join and participate in discussions

Blood Test Only Needs a Drop and a Smartphone for Results

The tech shows promise, although user-friendly “single drop of blood” platforms are still a few years away

4 min read
Close up of a phone showing a tight view of a small vial of red liquid encased in a cup holder below it.

University of Washington researchers have developed a new blood-clotting test that uses only a single drop of blood and a smartphone with a plastic attachment that holds a tiny cup [shown here] beneath the phone’s camera. This photo simulates how this system works; the “blood” shown here is not real.

Mark Stone/University of Washington

The phrase “from a single drop of blood” is full of both promise and peril for researchers trying to integrate clinical-quality medical testing technology with consumer devices like smartphones. While university researchers and commercial startups worldwide continue to introduce innovative new consumer-friendly takes on tests that have resided in laboratories for decades, the collective memory of the fraud perpetrated by those behind Theranos’s discredited blood-testing platform is still pervasive.

“What are you claiming from a single drop of blood?” says Shyamnath Gollakota, director of the mobile intelligence lab at the University of Washington’s Paul G. Allen School of Computer Science and Engineering. Gollakota and colleagues have developed a proof-of-concept test that is able to analyze how quickly a person’s blood clots using a single drop of blood by utilizing a smartphone’s camera, haptic motor, a small attached cup, and a floating piece of copper about the size of a ballpoint pen’s writing tip.

Keep Reading ↓Show less
{"imageShortcodeIds":[]}

New Records for the Biggest and Smallest AI Computers

Nvidia H100 and Intel Sapphire Rapids Xeon debut on ML Perf training benchmarks

6 min read
A black board with rainbow colored chip and electronics

Nvidia revealed the first benchmark tests for AI training on the new H100 GPU.

Nvidia

The machine-learning consortium MLCommons released the latest set of benchmark results last week, offering a glimpse at the capabilities of new chips and old as they tackled executing lightweight AI on the tiniest systems and training neural networks at both server and supercomputer scales. The benchmark tests saw the debut of new chips from Intel and Nvidia as well as speed boosts from software improvements and predictions that new software will play a role in speeding the new chips in the years after their debut.

Keep Reading ↓Show less

Solving Automotive Design Challenges With Simulation

Learn about low-frequency electromagnetic simulations and see a live demonstration of COMSOL Multiphysics software

1 min read

The development of new hybrid and battery electric vehicles introduces numerous design challenges. Many of these challenges are static or low-frequency electromagnetic by nature, as the devices involved in such designs are much smaller than the operating wavelength. Examples include sensors (such as MEMS sensors), transformers, and motors. Many of these challenges include multiple physics. For instance, sensors activated by acoustic energy as well as heat transfer in electric motors and power electronics combine low-frequency electromagnetic simulations with acoustic and heat transfer simulations, respectively.

Multiphysics simulation makes it possible to account for such phenomena in designs and can provide design engineers with the tools needed for developing products more effectively and optimizing device performance.

Keep Reading ↓Show less