The Origins of The Institute

From a few pages in IEEE Spectrum it grew into a stand-alone publication

3 min read
The Origins of The Institute
The team that brings you The Institute every month includes (from left) Senior Editorial Assistant Amanda Davis, Editor in Chief Kathy Kowalenko Pretz, and Associate Editor Monica Rozenfeld.
Photo: Randi Klett

Editor's note: In this 50th anniversary year of IEEE Spectrum, we are using each month's Spectral Lines column to recount some pivotal moments of the magazine's history. Here we describe the origins of Spectrum's companion publication of IEEE news, The Institute.

To thrive, a magazine has to publish articles of intense interest to its readers. The alternative is irrelevance, followed by extinction. But is there anything else a magazine should do?

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Practical Power Beaming Gets Real

A century later, Nikola Tesla’s dream comes true

8 min read
This nighttime outdoor image, with city lights in the background, shows a narrow beam of light shining on a circular receiver that is positioned on the top of a pole.

A power-beaming system developed by PowerLight Technologies conveyed hundreds of watts of power during a 2019 demonstration at the Port of Seattle.

PowerLight Technologies
Yellow

Wires have a lot going for them when it comes to moving electric power around, but they have their drawbacks too. Who, after all, hasn’t tired of having to plug in and unplug their phone and other rechargeable gizmos? It’s a nuisance.

Wires also challenge electric utilities: These companies must take pains to boost the voltage they apply to their transmission cables to very high values to avoid dissipating most of the power along the way. And when it comes to powering public transportation, including electric trains and trams, wires need to be used in tandem with rolling or sliding contacts, which are troublesome to maintain, can spark, and in some settings will generate problematic contaminants.

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