The December 2022 issue of IEEE Spectrum is here!

Close bar

Unsafe At Any Airspeed?

Cellphones and other electronics are more of a risk than you think

15 min read
Image of an airplane.
Image: Peter Dawson; Photo Manipulation: Laura Hoffman

Is it safe to use cellphones on airplanes? The U.S. Federal Communications Commission (FCC) thinks it may be. In December 2004, the agency began soliciting comments on proposed regulations that would allow airline passengers to use cellphones and other electronic devices. To be sure, it acknowledges that a sister agency, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), has ultimate authority regarding regulations that govern airline safety. Yet a July 2005 report by a U.S. House of Representatives subcommittee, which held hearings on the matter, noted: “The FCC hopes to issue a final ruling in 2006, stating that its ultimate objective is to allow consumers to use their own wireless devices during flight.”

In the meantime, more and more passengers are bringing cellphones, PDAs, laptops, DVD players, and game machines on board. All of these items emit radiation and have the potential to interfere with aircraft instrumentation. More and more passengers, however, do not believe that using portable electronic devices presents a risk to their safety. We, on the other hand, have had our doubts that such use was safe.

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

Intel’s Take on the Next Wave of Moore’s Law

Ann B. Kelleher explains what's new 75 years after the transistor's invention

4 min read
image of a black and gold computer chip against a black background

Intel's Ponte Vecchio processor

Intel

The next wave of Moore’s Law will rely on a developing concept called system technology co-optimization, Ann B. Kelleher, general manager of technology development at Intel told IEEE Spectrum in an interview ahead of her plenary talk at the 2022 IEEE Electron Device Meeting.

“Moore’s Law is about increasing the integration of functions,” says Kelleher. “As we look forward into the next 10 to 20 years, there’s a pipeline full of innovation” that will continue the cadence of improved products every two years. That path includes the usual continued improvements in semiconductor processes and design, but system technology co-optimization (STCO) will make the biggest difference.

Keep Reading ↓Show less
{"imageShortcodeIds":[]}

The EV Transition Explained: Charger Infrastructure

How many, where, and who pays?

8 min read
Illuminated electric vehicle charging stations at night in Monterey Park, California.

Electric vehicle charging stations in Monterey Park, California.

FREDERIC J. BROWN/AFP/Getty Images

The ability to conveniently charge an EV away from home is a top concern for many EV owners. A 2022 survey of EV owners by Forbes indicates that 62 percent of respondents are so anxious about their EV range that travel plans have been affected. While “range anxiety” may be overblown, the need for an extensive and reliable external charging infrastructure is not.

Keep Reading ↓Show less
{"imageShortcodeIds":[]}

FAST Labs’ Cutting-Edge R&D Gets Ideas to the Field Faster

BAE Systems’ FAST Labs engineers turn breakthrough innovations into real-life impact

1 min read

FAST Labs is an R&D organization where research teams can invent and see their work come to life.

BAE Systems

This is a sponsored article brought to you by BAE Systems.

No one sets out to put together half a puzzle. Similarly, researchers and engineers in the defense industry want to see the whole picture – seeing their innovations make it into the hands of warfighters and commercial customers.

That desire is fueling growth at BAE Systems’ FAST Labs research and development (R&D) organization.

Keep Reading ↓Show less
{"imageShortcodeIds":[]}