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Smart Sheet Combines Wireless Power Supply and Wireless Communications

Tokyo engineers mix MEMS and organic electronics in a flexible plastic substrate for low-power link and wireless power for portables

4 min read

11 December 2007—A group of researchers at the University of Tokyo believes it is on the way to freeing us of the spaghetti tangle of wires and cables piled up behind our computer systems and home entertainment centers. Yesterday in Washington, D.C., at the IEEE International Electron Devices Meeting, they presented a low-cost, low-power, large-area smart sheet that could provide wireless power to and high-speed wireless communications among laptops, digital cameras, and other electronics placed on it.

With further improvement, the researchers say, these electronic sheets could be formed into table covers, desk covers, or wallpaper, or be embedded into the floor, and could allow hundreds, even thousands, of devices to communicate with one another with a level of security better than can be achieved by Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, or other wireless technologies. The sheet could also deliver power directly to devices, the researchers say, replacing cables and power cords, along with their connectors and plugs.

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Why the Internet Needs the InterPlanetary File System

Peer-to-peer file sharing would make the Internet far more efficient

12 min read
An illustration of a series
Carl De Torres

When the COVID-19 pandemic erupted in early 2020, the world made an unprecedented shift to remote work. As a precaution, some Internet providers scaled back service levels temporarily, although that probably wasn’t necessary for countries in Asia, Europe, and North America, which were generally able to cope with the surge in demand caused by people teleworking (and binge-watching Netflix). That’s because most of their networks were overprovisioned, with more capacity than they usually need. But in countries without the same level of investment in network infrastructure, the picture was less rosy: Internet service providers (ISPs) in South Africa and Venezuela, for instance, reported significant strain.

But is overprovisioning the only way to ensure resilience? We don’t think so. To understand the alternative approach we’re championing, though, you first need to recall how the Internet works.

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