When Spectrum Auctions Fail

For some microwave links, cooperation beats 
competition as a way to share the air

11 min read
Illustration: Dan Page

Illustration: Dan Page

Most people think that the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki in 1945 ended U.S. involvement in the Pacific theater of World War II. In fact, the state of war with Japan persisted, in a technical sense, until September 1951, when the formal peace treaty was signed. “Making peace is like repairing the many strands of an intercontinental cable,” President Truman said at the time. “Each strand must be spliced separately and patiently, until the full flow of communication has been restored.”

Thanks to some then-new technology, more than 30 million U.S. viewers witnessed Truman compare peace making with cable mending during the very first TV broadcast aired from coast to coast. Electrical engineers watching the event might have appreciated the irony: You see, the new technique for linking far-flung TV stations had just made lengthy cables obsolete. Engineers at AT&T instead used a network of microwave transmitters to beam TV signals from point to point across the country.

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Video Friday: Turkey Sandwich

Your weekly selection of awesome robot videos

4 min read
A teleoperated humanoid robot torso stands in a kitchen assembling a turkey sandwich from ingredients on a tray

Video Friday is your weekly selection of awesome robotics videos, collected by your friends at IEEE Spectrum robotics. We also post a weekly calendar of upcoming robotics events for the next few months. Please send us your events for inclusion.

CoRL 2022: 14–18 December 2022, AUCKLAND, NEW ZEALAND

Enjoy today's videos!

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Neural rendering harnesses machine learning to paint pixels

5 min read
Four examples of Nvidia's Instant NeRF 2D-to-3D machine learning model placed side-by-side.

Nvidia Instant NeRF uses neural rendering to generate 3D visuals from 2D images.


On 20 September, Nvidia’s Vice President of Applied Deep Learning, Bryan Cantanzaro, went to Twitter with a bold claim: In certain GPU-heavy games, like the classic first-person platformer Portal, seven out of eight pixels on the screen are generated by a new machine-learning algorithm. That’s enough, he said, to accelerate rendering by up to 5x.

This impressive feat is currently limited to a few dozen 3D games, but it’s a hint at the gains neural rendering will soon deliver. The technique will unlock new potential in everyday consumer electronics.

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Accelerate the Future of Innovation

Download these free whitepapers to learn more about emerging technologies like 5G, 6G, and quantum computing

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Looking for help with technical challenges related to emerging technologies like 5G, 6G, and quantum computing?

Download these three whitepapers to help inspire and accelerate your future innovations:

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