Shanghai Expo Imagines Better Cities

World’s fair considers zero-carbon buildings and life after cars

4 min read
Opening illustration
China: Times Square World In the Pavilion of Urban Planet (above), visitors walk through a vertiginous cautionary tale: The garishly lit city-planet, according to the pavilion’s designers, represents the ecological problems posed by unchecked development. In this and the other 270 national, corporate, and theme pavilions, the question hangs like a challenge: Can we create cities whose citizens enjoy a fulfilling existence without destroying the planet?
Photo: Xinhua/Landov

At their finest, world’s fairs are astrange amalgam of the practical and the impossible, the feasible and the futuristic, the ridiculous and the sublime. Since the first official world’s fair in 1851, they have churned out giddy monuments to human industry and innovation, with the shining promise of technology taking center stage.

Many utopian dreams of world’s fairs past have now been absorbed into the everyday: the first commercial escalator at the 1900 world’s fair in Paris; the personal automobile in 1904; RCA’s television in 1939. The potential of such inventions seemed only for the good. Escalators and elevators would enable modern skyscrapers and cities. The car offered unfettered freedom of movement. The phone and TV would create an immediate connection to the outside world.

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"SuperGPS" Accurate to 10 Centimeters or Better

New optical-wireless hybrid makes use of existing telecommunications infrastructure

3 min read
illustration of man looking at giant smart phone with map and red "you are here" symbol

Modern life now often depends on GPS(short for Global Positioning System), but it can err on the order of meters in cities. Now a new study from a team of Dutch researchers reveals a terrestrial positioning system based on existing telecommunications networks can deliver geolocation info accurate to within 10 centimeters in metropolitan areas.

The scientists detailed their findings 16 November in the journal Nature.

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Close-up of a colorful semiconductor wafer held the white gloved hands of a clean room technician.

A 300-millimeter wafer from a GlobalFoundries fab in Dresden is full of advanced transistors. The industry will need to continue to produce more and better devices, argues the author.

Liesa Johannssen-Koppitz/Bloomberg/Getty Images

This is a guest post in recognition of the 75th anniversary of the invention of the transistor. It is adapted from an essay in the July 2022 IEEE Electron Device Society Newsletter. The views expressed here are solely those of the author and do not represent positions of IEEE Spectrum or the IEEE.

On the 75th anniversary of the invention of the transistor, a device to which I have devoted my entire career, I’d like to answer two questions: Does the world need better transistors? And if so, what will they be like?

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Designing Fuel Cell Systems Using System-Level Design

Modeling and simulation in Simulink and Simscape

1 min read
Designing Fuel Cell Systems Using System-Level Design

Design and simulate a fuel cell system for electric mobility. See by example how Simulink® and Simscape™ support multidomain physical modeling and simulation of fuel cell systems including thermal, gas, and liquid systems. Learn how to select levels of modeling fidelities to meet your needs at different development stages.