Researchers at the Georgia Institute of Technology have developed a system that encodes information onto chaos, transmits it, and then decodes the information away from the chaos. Rajarshi Roy, one of the researchers and chair of Georgia Tech's School of Physics, explains how it works. "In an ordinary digital signal, the message can immediately be seen," Roy reports. "But in our system, digital information is encoded in the chaos, so the message would not be obvious to a person who may intercept it." In the experimental system, a stable semiconductor diode laser produces a square wave "message" signal. That signal, amplified by an erbium-doped fiber amplifier (EDFA), is introduced into a chaotic signal produced by an erbium-doped fiber ring laser like that used in today's communications industry. The resulting combined signal, containing a mix of the message and chaotic carrier, moves through an optical fiber to a second EDFA nearly identical to the first. Upon encountering the combined signal, the receiving EDFA begins generating chaotic fluctuations synchronized with those produced by the transmitting laser. The chaotic portion of the signal, measured by a digital oscilloscope, is subtracted from the combined signal and low-pass filter to recover the original "coded" message. E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
During a teardown of the iPad Air and Microsoft Surface Pro 3 at the Medical Design & Manufacturing Show in Schaumburg, Ill., an engineer showed this "inflammatory" video about the dangers of maliciously mishandling lithium-ion batteries.
Science fiction author Isaac Asimov may have the best rules for effective brainstorming and creativity. His never-before-published essay, "On Creativity," recently made it to the Web pages of MIT Technology Review.
Much has been made over the potentially dangerous flammability of lithium-ion batteries after major companies like Boeing, Sony, and Tesla have grappled with well-publicized battery fires. Researchers at Stanford University may have come up with a solution to this problem with a smart sensor for lithium-ion batteries that provides a warning if the battery is about to overheat or catch fire.
In this new Design News feature, "How it Works," we’re starting off by examining the inner workings of the electronic cigarette. While e-cigarettes seemed like a gimmick just two or three years ago, they’re catching fire -- so to speak. Sales topped $1 billion last year and are set to hit $10 billion by 2017. Cigarette companies are fighting back by buying up e-cigarette manufacturers.
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