The Making of Diaspora

Armed with Google technologies, four young coders are planting the seeds for the post-Facebook future

14 min read
The Making of Diaspora
Dudes in Black: Last June, Rafael Sofaer, Maxwell Salzberg, Ilya Zhitomirskiy, and Daniel Grippi (clockwise from top) moved to San Francisco to create the social Web platform Diaspora.
Photo: Gabriela Hasbun

This is part of IEEE Spectrum’s special report on the battle for the future of the social Web.

The Diaspora guys, four college kids turned chief engineers of the most-talked-about social networking start-up this year, get a lot of friend requests. Sometimes fans just show up at their office, uninvited, and ask to work with them. Every now and then, someone recognizes them in public, which freaks them out. On the day they moved into their current office in San Francisco, a commuter stopped them on the subway and commanded, “Go get ‘em, guys! Kill Facebook!”

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

New Faraday Cages Can Be Switched Off and On

Built out of a novel material called MXene, these cages could block and allow signals as desired

3 min read
New Faraday Cages Can Be Switched Off and On

Radio waves interacting with a MXene film.

Chong Min Koo

Advanced new Faraday cages—the metal mesh enclosures that can block wireless signals—can also be switched on and off for reversible protection against noise, a new study finds.

In addition, these new shields can be easily fabricated through a technique akin to spray-painting, which could help them find use in electronics, researchers say.

Similarly to the way window blinds adjust how much visible light enters a room, engineers want dynamic control over the electromagnetic waves used in wireless communications. This ability would let devices receive and transmit signals when desired but also protect them against electromagnetic interference, such as static and jamming, and help them avoid being spied on.

Keep Reading ↓Show less

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
EPFL

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.

Keep Reading ↓Show less
{"imageShortcodeIds":["32366883","32366901","32366913"]}