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Ultrawideband--a technology in which signals are transmitted in the form of billions of extremely short radio pulses spread over a bandwidth totaling several gigahertz--is highly anticipated because it will provide the wireless personal-area-network (WPAN) connectivity of Bluetooth, but at speeds up to 500 times faster.

Despite that promise, a growing rift between the backers of separate ultrawideband (UWB) technologies has led to a stalemate within the IEEE 802.15.3a working group for WPAN charged with finalizing a standard for ultra-wideband. The two groups at loggerheads are the Multiband-OFDM Alliance (MBOA), led by Intel Corp., in Santa Clara, Calif., and the XtremeSpectrum group, led by Motorola Inc., in Schaumburg, Ill. (Motorola recently purchased XtremeSpectrum, which was based in Vienna, Va.) Their main disagreements concern how much UWB devices might interfere with other radio users, how much power they will consume, and how much the chipsets needed to relay UWB signals between devices will cost.

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Deep Learning Could Bring the Concert Experience Home

The century-old quest for truly realistic sound production is finally paying off

12 min read
Image containing multiple aspects such as instruments and left and right open hands.
Stuart Bradford

Now that recorded sound has become ubiquitous, we hardly think about it. From our smartphones, smart speakers, TVs, radios, disc players, and car sound systems, it’s an enduring and enjoyable presence in our lives. In 2017, a survey by the polling firm Nielsen suggested that some 90 percent of the U.S. population listens to music regularly and that, on average, they do so 32 hours per week.

Behind this free-flowing pleasure are enormous industries applying technology to the long-standing goal of reproducing sound with the greatest possible realism. From Edison’s phonograph and the horn speakers of the 1880s, successive generations of engineers in pursuit of this ideal invented and exploited countless technologies: triode vacuum tubes, dynamic loudspeakers, magnetic phonograph cartridges, solid-state amplifier circuits in scores of different topologies, electrostatic speakers, optical discs, stereo, and surround sound. And over the past five decades, digital technologies, like audio compression and streaming, have transformed the music industry.

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