Stretching thousands of miles beneath the oceans, optical cables allow the information to be delivered around the world in a split second, at light-speed, using optical-fiber technology. In 2011, US scientists created the first silicon photonic chips, the next generation in computer-chip technology. Back then, they have developed a new way to isolate light on a photonic chip, and to make the transition from regular electronic chips to photonic chips and lightspeed computers.
Today, scientists from the University of Utah have come up with the smallest ever “ultracompact polarisation beamsplitter”, a tiny device that has the ability to transport information through two separate light waves. “Light is the fastest thing you can use to transmit information, but that information has to be converted to electrons when it comes into your laptop. In that conversion, you’re slowing things down. The vision is to do everything in light,” said Professor Rajesh Menon, University of Utah researcher.
By using a photonic chip (not yet commercially available), there is no conversion from photon to electron, in your personal electronic device. This means much faster transfer speeds and no heating for your laptop, less power required and longer battery life for your cell phone, in other words, lightspeed computers.
Thanks to a new algorithm, Menon and his team developed a new type of beamsplitter, much smaller than current ones. At just 2.4 by 2.4 microns, it can be placed on a silicon chip and then split the guided light beams into two separate channels of information. Previous beamsplitters were 100 by 100 microns and took longer time to operate. At those tiny sizes, the researchers can then install millions of these devices on a chip, to give it superpowers.
The new technology will also be implemented on almost all everyday electronic, or should I say photonic devices. “The first supercomputers using silicon photonics – already under development at companies such as Intel and IBM – will use hybrid processors that remain partly electronic,” added Menon. The researcher believes the new lightspeed computers’ beamsplitter could be used in about three years on your personal computer.”With all light, computing can eventually be millions of times faster,” concluded Menon.
Professor Rajesh Menon and colleagues published their invention in the journal Nature Photonics.
The iPhone 15’s USB-C switch could simplify computing
A special event tomorrow, Tuesday September 12, will reveal the iPhone 15, and rumors, supply chain sources, and European Union regulators have already given us a lot of information. Last source strongly suggests that the newest iPhone will have a USB-C connector instead of the Lightning connector from the iPhone 5 in 2012.
That’s not all we expect from a new iPhone, but it could be the biggest change due to what it could unlock. That’s especially true for the iPhone 15 Pro and Pro Max, which are expected to get a Thunderbolt port that uses the same connector as USB-C but adds data, display, power, and other input and output options.
The iPhone’s hardware input and output capabilities affect its role in users’ computing lives. Samsung and Motorola, for example, have spent multiple generations of their devices iterating on how smartphones can do more for users than they might be used to. Samsung’s DeX, while awkward at its introduction, has become a surprisingly competent desktop replacement. Android may get a native desktop mode for Pixel 8, if rumors are true.
Apple has yet to prove that iPadOS can replace desktop computing, but it has the potential to transform the iPhone in this regard. The concept of a pocketable thin client, where you take your PC with you and plug it into displays and input devices to work anywhere, has been around for a long time. No technical barriers exist to making an iPhone 15 with a full-featured USB-C port that supports the latest Thunderbolt spec.
When connected to an external display, iPhones are very limited. If implemented by a developer, you can output video at a resolution and aspect ratio that maximizes a TV or monitor while removing the rest of the interface.
An iPhone that projects iPadOS (or, ideally, macOS) when connected to a screen could replace a laptop for a large portion of the population, including casual computing and most of the knowledge workforce’s work tasks. The iPhone’s processors, which are used in Macs, are powerful enough for email, web browsing, video, and photo editing.
The foundations are there, and iPadOS does most of what’s needed on similar hardware. Apple could lose some of its Mac market if it did this, but it hasn’t shied away from cannibalizing its sales in other categories to lead a paradigm shift in how people use their devices.
We know Apple will announce a USB-C iPhone tomorrow, but we don’t know if it will be the same story, slightly repackaged, or a new opportunity for Apple to lead what we think of when we hear the word “smartphone.” I hope a desktop mode is being worked on for a future launch, but I don’t think it’s coming this year.
Redwire Space produces human knee cartilage in space for the first time
Redwire Space has “bioprinted” a human knee meniscus on the International Space Station, which could treat Earthlings with meniscus issues.
The meniscus cartilage was manufactured on Redwire’s ISS BioFabrication Facility (BFF). The BFF printed the meniscus using living human cells and transmitted it to Redwire’s Advanced Space Experiment Processor for a 14-day enculturation process for BFF-Meniscus-2.
SpaceX’s Crew-6 mission returned the tissue to Earth after culturing. UAE astronaut Sultan Al-Neyadi and NASA astronauts Frank Rubio, Warren Hoburg, and Stephen Bowen investigated.
Redwire collaborated with the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences Center for Biotechnology, which studies warfighter remedies, for the trial. Meniscus injuries are the most prevalent orthopedic injuries in U.S. service members.
In recent months, Redwire Space has advanced biotechnology. The subsidiary of Redwire Corporation launched a 30,000-square-foot biotech and microgravity research park in Indiana this summer.
Redwire EVP John Vellinger called the printing “groundbreaking milestone.”
He stated, “Demonstrating the ability to print complex tissue such as this meniscus is a major leap forward toward the development of a repeatable microgravity manufacturing process for reliable bioprinting at scale.”
The company has long-term bioprinting and space microgravity research goals. Redwire will fly microgravity pharmaceutical drug development and cardiac tissue bioprinting payloads on a November SpaceX Commercial Resupply trip to the ISS.
Sierra Space agreed to integrate Redwire’s biotech and in-space manufacturing technology into its Large Integrated Flexible Environment (LIFE) space station module. Orbital Reef, a private space station designed by Blue Origin, Boeing, and others, will include LIFE.
The Matter standard is now supported by Google’s smart home appliances
Only if goods truly support it can the Matter standard facilitate the use of smart home appliances from different brands. You don’t even need to download or install any updates because Google has just announced that it has enabled Matter compatibility for its Nest and Android devices. This means that Matter can now be controlled by the Google Home speaker, Google Home Mini, Nest Mini, Nest Audio, Nest Hub (1st and 2nd gen), Nest Hub Max, and the new Nest WiFi Pro.
Additionally, Google has made Matter compatibility available for Fast Pair on Android, which will let you to connect Matter-enabled devices to your home network “as rapidly as you can pair a set of headphones.” This functionality will make it simple to integrate your devices with apps and smart home ecosystems once they are linked. The tech behemoth has also upgraded the Nest Wi Pro, Nest Hub Max, and Nest Hub (2nd gen) to include Thread border router functionality. In this manner, you can utilize them to link items that support Thread, the networking standard for low-power gadgets like smart locks.
Since 2019, the Connectivity Standards Alliance, of which Google is a member, has been working on the Matter standard to address the fragmentation issue in the smart home market and make it simpler to use products from various manufacturers. It had to postpone Matter’s release a few times before it was eventually able to roll out the standard’s version 1.0 definition and product certification program this October. It had originally planned to introduce the standard in 2021. Soon after Matter was released, Samsung said that it is collaborating with Google to make it simple to add devices that are already configured with SmartThings to Google Home and vice versa. One of the other founders of the Alliance, Amazon, also provided a list of the 17 Echo devices that will support the standard as of this month.
The number of products that are Matter-enabled is now somewhat small, but according to Google, this holiday season and early 2023 will witness an increase. With the exception of the aforementioned Google items, all devices that implement the standard will be identified by the Matter badge and will function with all other Matter devices right out of the box.
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