FiberRx Inc. is commercializing fiber-optic technology developed by Lockheed Martin that has a bandwidth capability of 1015 bits/sec. Originally developed for transmitting real-time video from aircraft to ground stations in military applications, the fiber-optic bus with wavelength division multiplexing (FOBWDM) is a bi-directional, multi-channel optical transport system that is protocol independent. The patented Lockheed Martin technology is licensed to FiberRx for medical applications. The technology’s healthcare applications include interfacing existing legacy equipment, database sources, the Internet, intranets, and other connections. "Our goal is to install three systems this year," says Robert Kearney, the CEO and president of FiberRx. He notes that the applications in healthcare are numerous and include 2D and 3D medical imaging, voice communication, and other bandwidth-consuming data streams, all transmitted in real time. Examples of broadband network applications include radiology, telemedicine, and other graphic forms of patient test results, clinical laboratory prescriptions, infant and premature baby monitoring, use of global positioning satellite data interfaces to monitor ambulance locations, surgical video feeds, and automated physician paging triggered by changes in a patient’s vital signs. The network uses a single fiber-optic cable for communicating with existing networks and systems. The technology enables the combination of data from multiple separate sources, including single-cable management of information from copper wire networks, traditional bundled fiber-optic cables, wireless networks, and the Internet. The multi-channel FOBWDM uses a protocol-independent topology for accommodating simultaneous transfers of discrete, analog, digital, and wireless transmissions on a single cable. “Multiple FOBWDM fiber-optic cables also provide redundant communications for ultra-high reliability needs,” says Kearney. Contact Kearney at FiberRx Inc., 933 Red Fox Rd., Altamonte Springs, FL 32714; Tel: (407) 774-0609; FAX (407) 774-0609; E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org.
An in-depth survey of 700 current and future users of 3D printing holds few surprises, but results emphasize some major trends already in progress. Two standouts are the big growth in end-use parts and metal additive manufacturing (AM) most respondents expect.
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