Video Telephony Has Finally Arrived

Thanks to the power and connectivity of today’s mobile devices, video telephony will soon be everywhere

11 min read
Photo of various video telephony devices.
Photo: Dan Saelinger; Stylist: Wendy Schelah/Halley Resources

In the annals of technologies with long gestation periods, few can match video telephony. Punch’s Almanack published a cartoon illustrating the concept way back in 1878. Then, throughout the next century, the idea resurfaced repeatedly in science-fiction comics, motion pictures, pulp stories, and novels. In the animated TV series “The Jetsons,” starting in 1962, George’s boss, Mr. Spacely, regularly appeared on a display screen to show George the latest sprocket design. In a memorable scene from the 1968 movie 2001: A Space Odyssey, a weary space traveler videophones his daughter from a space station orbiting Earth.

Around the same time, videophones began showing up in the real world. AT&T announced its Picturephone service in 1964; the company even installed a Picturephone booth at New York City’s Grand Central Terminal. But at US $16 per 3 minutes of jerky images, the service never caught on.

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DARPA Wants a Better, Badder Caspian Sea Monster

Liberty Lifter X-plane will leverage ground effect

4 min read
A rendering of a grey seaplane with twin fuselages and backwards-facing propellers
DARPA

Arguably, the primary job of any military organization is moving enormous amounts of stuff from one place to another as quickly and efficiently as possible. Some of that stuff is weaponry, but the vast majority are things that support that weaponry—fuel, spare parts, personnel, and so on. At the moment, the U.S. military has two options when it comes to transporting large amounts of payload. Option one is boats (a sealift), which are efficient, but also slow and require ports. Option two is planes (an airlift), which are faster by a couple of orders of magnitude, but also expensive and require runways.

To solve this, the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) wants to combine traditional sealift and airlift with the Liberty Lifter program, which aims to “design, build, and flight test an affordable, innovative, and disruptive seaplane” that “enables efficient theater-range transport of large payloads at speeds far exceeding existing sea lift platforms.”

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IEEE Spectrum Wins Six Neal Awards

The publication was recognized for its editorial excellence, website, and art direction

1 min read
A group of smiling people holding two award placards in front of a backdrop for the Jess H. Neal Awards

The IEEE editorial and art team show off two of their five awards.

Bruce Byers/SIIA

IEEE Spectrum garnered top honors at this year’s annual Jesse H. Neal Awards ceremony, held on 26 April. Known as the “Pulitzer Prizes” of business-to-business journalism, the Neal Awards recognize editorial excellence. The awards are given by the SIIA (Software and Information Industry Association).

For the fifth year in a row, IEEE Spectrum was awarded the Best Media Brand. The award is given for overall editorial excellence.

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Modern System Level Design for Aerospace & Defense

Join this webinar series to learn the most important aspects of modern system-level design for RF and microwave applications in aerospace and defense

1 min read
Keysight
Keysight

More than ever, aerospace and defense companies must lower costs, accelerate their R&D, and reduce risk, all while simultaneously maintaining a high level of mission readiness. Register for this free webinar now!

Keysight is addressing these design challenges for RF and microwave applications, particularly for aerospace and defense applications.

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