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Journal Cover IEEE Spectrum
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   Full-text available via subscription Subscription journal
   ISSN (Print) 0018-9235
   Published by IEEE Homepage  [191 journals]
  • IEEE Spectrum - Front cover
    • Abstract: Presents the front cover for this issue of the publication.
      PubDate: March 2018
      Issue No: Vol. 55, No. 3 (2018)
  • Sound of silence [Back Story]
    • Pages: 3 - 3
      Abstract: Connor Bolton, a Ph.D. student at the University of Michigan, in Ann Arbor, had arranged his workstation just so. He'd painstakingly set up microphones, speakers, and other equipment to test whether sound waves can trigger malfunctions in hard disk drives. When you're experimenting with precisely calibrated acoustic waves, it's essential that extraneous signals don't distort your data. What he didn't consider, though, were sounds he couldn't hear.
      PubDate: March 2018
      Issue No: Vol. 55, No. 3 (2018)
  • Robo-adjudication and fake fraud reports [Spectral Lines]
    • Authors: Robert N. Charette;
      Pages: 6 - 6
      Abstract: Over 34,000 individuals, wrongly accused of unemployment fraud in Michigan from October 2013 to August 2015, may finally hear if they will receive some well-deserved remuneration for the harsh treatment meted out by the Michigan Integrated Data Automated System (MiDAS). Michigan legislators have promised to seek US $30 million in compensation for those falsely accused. This is miserly, given how many people experienced punishing personal trauma, saw their credit and reputations ruined, filed for bankruptcy, had their houses foreclosed on, or were made homeless. A sum closer to $100 million, as some are advocating, is probably warranted. The fiasco is all too familiar: A government agency wants to replace a legacy IT system to gain cost and operational efficiencies, but alas, the effort goes horribly wrong because of gross risk mismanagement.
      PubDate: March 2018
      Issue No: Vol. 55, No. 3 (2018)
  • Ancient statues, digitally reconstructed, return to Mosul [News]
    • Authors: Michael Dumiak;
      Pages: 7 - 8
      Abstract: The Iraqi city of Mosul is still recovering from its brutal occupation by the Islamic State. The city suffered devastating bloodshed during that time, and many archaic statues and artifacts were destroyed by militants and vandals. Raising the city from the rubble will be rough work. In at least a couple of instances, though, resurrecting a piece of the ancient past will come courtesy of a 3D scanner.
      PubDate: March 2018
      Issue No: Vol. 55, No. 3 (2018)
  • Reverse engineering the "sonic weapon" [News]
    • Authors: Jean Kumagai;
      Pages: 9 - 10
      Abstract: Last August, reports emerged that U.S. and Canadian diplomats in Cuba had suffered a host of mysterious ailments. Speculation soon arose that a high-frequency sonic weapon was to blame. Acoustics experts, however, were quick to point out the unlikeliness of such an attack. Among other things, ultrasonic frequencies-from 20 to 200 kilohertz-don't propagate well in air and don't cause the ear pain, headache, dizziness, and other symptoms reported in Cuba. Also, some victims recalled hearing high-pitched sounds, whereas ultrasound is inaudible to humans.
      PubDate: March 2018
      Issue No: Vol. 55, No. 3 (2018)
  • Ferroelectric transistors: the ultralow-power solution' [News]
    • Authors: Katherine Bourzac;
      Pages: 10 - 11
      Abstract: Academics have high hopes for ferroelectric materials. Adding a single layer of these materials, which have unusual electrical properties, to today's transistors could radically decrease the power consumption of chips. But as engineers presented the latest research on ferroelectrics at the IEEE International Electron Devices Meeting (IEDM), in San Francisco in December, the mood in the room fluctuated between excitement and doubt.
      PubDate: March 2018
      Issue No: Vol. 55, No. 3 (2018)
  • India's biometric ids trigger privacy lawsuits [News]
    • Authors: Lucas Laursen;
      Pages: 12 - 13
      Abstract: In January, justices of the Supreme Court of India gathered to discuss the country's national identification system, called Aadhaar. Since 2010, authorities have enrolled 1.19 billion residents, or about 93 percent of India's population, in the system, which ties fingerprints, iris scans, and photos of Indian citizens to a unique 12-digit number.
      PubDate: March 2018
      Issue No: Vol. 55, No. 3 (2018)
  • Diver drone shoots sea scenes [The Big Picture]
    • Pages: 14 - 15
      Abstract: Presents photographs taken by undersea dones of various sea scenes.
      PubDate: March 2018
      Issue No: Vol. 55, No. 3 (2018)
  • The altair, reincarnated [Resources_Hands On]
    • Authors: Stephen Cass;
      Pages: 19 - 20
      Abstract: The MITS Altair 8800 was the first commercially successful personal computer. Created by Ed Roberts in 1974, it was purchased by the thousands via mail order, proving there was a huge demand for computers outside universities and large corporations. Its influence was immense: For example, after seeing the Altair featured on the cover of the January 1975 issue of Popular Electronics, Bill Gates and Paul Allen founded Microsoft (then Micro-Soft) in order to write a Basic interpreter for the new machine.
      PubDate: March 2018
      Issue No: Vol. 55, No. 3 (2018)
  • The legal hazards of VR and AR [Resources_At Work]
    • Pages: 21 - 21
      Abstract: As virtual- and augmented- reality technologies mature, legal questions are emerging that could trip up VR and AR developers. One of the first lawyers to explore these questions is Robyn Chatwood, of the international law firm Dentons. "VR and AR are areas where the law is just not keeping up with [technology] developments," she says. IEEE Spectrum contributing editor Tam Harbert talked with Chatwood about the legal challenges.
      PubDate: March 2018
      Issue No: Vol. 55, No. 3 (2018)
  • The weird and the wonderful from CES [Resources_Tools & Toys]
    • Authors: Stephen Cass;
      Pages: 22 - 22
      Abstract: Presents information on the latest computer and engineering technologies and products.
      PubDate: March 2018
      Issue No: Vol. 55, No. 3 (2018)
  • Curb your 5G enthusiasm [Internet of Everything]
    • Authors: Stacey Higginbotham;
      Pages: 24 - 24
      Abstract: JUST LIKE GRAPHENE or Elon Musk's startups, 5G has become a technology savior. Proponents tout the poorly defined wireless technology as the path to virtual reality, telemedicine, and self-driving cars. But 5G is not a technology-it's a buzzword unleashed by marketing departments. As early as 2012, Broadcom was using it to sell Wi-Fi. In reality, 5G is a term that telecommunications investors and executives sling around as the solution to high infrastructure costs, the need for more bandwidth, and a desire to boost margins.
      PubDate: March 2018
      Issue No: Vol. 55, No. 3 (2018)
  • March 1958: The first PVS in orbit [Numbers Don't Lie]
    • Authors: Vaclav Smil;
      Pages: 26 - 26
      Abstract: SIXTY YEARS AGO THIS MONTH, a rocket lifted off from Cape Canaveral bearing the Vanguard 1 satellite, a small, 1.46-kilogram aluminum sphere that was the first to use photovoltaic cells in orbit. . As a safeguard, one of the satellite's two transmitters drew power from mercury batteries, but they failed after just three months. The six monocrystalline silicon cells, each roughly 5 centimeters on a side and delivering a total of just 1 watt, kept on powering a beacon transmitter for 14 months, until May 1964.
      PubDate: March 2018
      Issue No: Vol. 55, No. 3 (2018)
  • Riding the wave of electronics [Reflections]
    • Authors: Robert W. Lucky;
      Pages: 27 - 27
      Abstract: I'VE BEEN HEARING ABOUT THE IMPENDING end of Moore's Law for so many years that I've become skeptical of all the claims of doom. Like the Little Engine That Could, Moore's Law keeps chugging along. Nonetheless, it has definitely reached the huffing and puffing stage. • I was considering upgrading my desktop with a new CPU and motherboard, but new, comparably priced CPUs have about the same clock speed as my 4-year-old model. The newer ones do have more transistors and better architectures, so technical benchmarks show about a 50 percent improvement. Nonetheless, when it comes to everyday applications, the newer models might not exhibit noticeably better performance. I'm disappointed because I feel compelled to have the latest stuff at all times.
      PubDate: March 2018
      Issue No: Vol. 55, No. 3 (2018)
  • Television's Quantum dots will be the next darling of TV manufacturers
    • Authors: Zhongsheng Luo;Jesse Manders;Jeff Yurek;
      Pages: 28 - 53
      Abstract: The future of the television set was supposed to be simple. At some point in the near future, LCDs were supposed to become obsolete and give way to bright, sharp, and incredibly thin OLED displays. It turns out that the near future of TVs isn't going to be so simple-but it sure is going to be bright. The reason' Quantum dots. If you've shopped for a TV lately, you've probably been dazzled, or more likely perplexed, by the array of new acronyms being splashed around by the best-known TV makers. Perhaps you've wondered what they mean by QD, QUHD, SUHD, and ULED. We're here to help. Each of these trade names refers to a quantum-dot technology available today. We'll explain the different approaches as well as other ways quantum dots will be used in future television displays. Even if you've had your heart set on an OLED TV, we think you'll find the coming world of very-high-performance quantum-dot displays appealing. For one thing, this emerging technology is going to finally make possible the printable, rollable, and wallpaper-ready televisions that we've all been promised for the past 20 years.
      PubDate: March 2018
      Issue No: Vol. 55, No. 3 (2018)
  • Building a safer, denser lithium-ion battery
    • Authors: Ashok Lahiri;Nirav Shah;Cameron Dales;
      Pages: 34 - 39
      Abstract: In January 2017, after months of speculation, Samsung announced that two separate design problems created the battery malfunctions that caused some of the devices to overheat. That different design flaws can produce the same catastrophic outcome underlines the inherently unstable nature of today's Li-ion batteries. Any mobile product incorporating them is thus potentially unsafe.
      PubDate: March 2018
      Issue No: Vol. 55, No. 3 (2018)
  • Driving tests for self-driving cars
    • Authors: Erik Coelingh;Jonas Nilsson;Jude Buffum;
      Pages: 40 - 45
      Abstract: At a test track east of Gothenburg, Sweden, people are ushered into autonomous vehicles for a test drive. But there's a twist: The vehicles aren't actually autonomous-there's a hidden driver in the back-and the people are participating in an experiment to discover how they'll behave when the car is chauffeuring them around. At Zenuity-a joint venture between Volvo and Autoliv, a Swedish auto-safety company-this test is just one of many ways we make sure not just that autonomous vehicles work but that they can drive more safely than humans ever could. If self-driving cars are ever going to hit the road, they'll need to know the rules and how to follow them safely, regardless of how much they might depend on the human behind the wheel.
      PubDate: March 2018
      Issue No: Vol. 55, No. 3 (2018)
  • Computing with Randomness
    • Authors: Armin Alaghi;John P. Hayes;
      Pages: 46 - 51
      Abstract: In electronics, the past half century has been a steady march away from analog and toward digital. Telephony, music recording and playback, cameras, and radio and television broadcasting have all followed the lead of computing, which had largely gone digital by the middle of the 20th century. Yet many of the signals that computers- and our brains-process are analog. And analog has some inherent advantages: If an analog signal contains small errors, it typically won't really matter. Nobody cares, for example, if a musical note in a recorded symphony is a smidgen louder or softer than it should actually be. Nor is anyone bothered if a bright area in an image is ever so slightly lighter than reality. Human hearing and vision aren't sensitive enough to register those subtle differences anyway.
      PubDate: March 2018
      Issue No: Vol. 55, No. 3 (2018)
  • Plowing with precision [Past Forward]
    • Authors: Allison Marsh;
      Pages: 56 - 56
      Abstract: In 1996, John Deere introduced this “green eggs and ham” GPS receiver, which helped usher in the age of precision agriculture. Mounted on top of a tractor’s cab, it received signals from Global Positioning System satellites and then fine-tuned the readings using a C-band antenna. Eventually, such receivers would guide autonomous tractors, enabling them to plow a field with centimeter precision. The receiver had to be rugged as well, able to withstand lousy weather, temperatures from –20° to 45° C, vehicle vibration, and occasional incursions by rodents, birds, and other creatures.
      PubDate: March 2018
      Issue No: Vol. 55, No. 3 (2018)
School of Mathematical and Computer Sciences
Heriot-Watt University
Edinburgh, EH14 4AS, UK
Tel: +00 44 (0)131 4513762
Fax: +00 44 (0)131 4513327
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