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Technology turns everyday objects into FM radio stations

Daily Mail - Science & tech

Imagine stopping to look at a poster for a band and immediately being able to listen to their music on your mobile. That could soon be a reality thanks to new technology that can transform random objects into radio stations, ready to broadcast useful messages to your smartphone. Researchers hope their new technique could lead to the development of'smart cities' where everything from bus stops to your own t-shirt can supply you with handy updates. Researchers used FM radio signals to create a'singing poster' (pictured) that can transmit a snippet of the band's music to a smartphone at a distance of 12 feet (four metres) The technology, known as'backscattering', uses low-power radio signals that already exist in the environment to send out information. Messages are transmitted by reflecting and encoding audio and data in existing FM signals.


The phone that doesn't need a battery

Daily Mail - Science & tech

Researchers have developed a cell phone that pulls energy from the world around it, allowing it to operate without any battery at all. The remarkable prototype relies on a technique known as backscatter, in which the device can reflect radio waves to communicate, according to Wired. Given the high energy-demand of cell phones, however, the device uses analog rather than digital capabilities to communicate, essentially resurrecting Cold War-era spy technology. The remarkable prototype relies on a technique known as backscatter, in which the device can reflect radio waves to communicate. The technology, known as'backscattering', uses low-power radio signals that already exist in the environment to send out information.


Something in the Air

Slate

Around this time, the Russians switched their communications systems from radio signals to microwave transmissions. Radio signals bounced off the ionosphere all around the globe; the National Security Agency could pick them up with its large antennas and dishes from just about anyplace. Microwaves traveled much shorter distances; receivers had to be in the beam's line of sight to intercept it. So, the NSA and the CIA sent spies across enemy lines, especially in the Warsaw Pact nations of Eastern Europe, to erect listening posts disguised as highway markers, telephone poles, and other mundane objects.


A wobbling star may explain pattern of weird radio signals from space

New Scientist

The strangest fast radio burst (FRB) yet is helping us narrow down the possibilities of what causes these odd, powerful blasts of radio waves from space. The unusual patterns we see in its light suggest it may be coming from a wobbly neutron star. FRBs generally last only a few milliseconds, but some of them have been observed to repeat, bursting many times from the same location. We don't know what causes them, although everything from …


Weird radio signals spotted in our galaxy could solve a space mystery

New Scientist

We may finally know where fast radio bursts (FRBs) come from. These mysterious flashes of radio waves from space have now been spotted in our galaxy and appear to be connected to neutron stars called magnetars that have powerful magnetic fields. FRBs are powerful blasts of radio waves that last just a few milliseconds. Suggested origins range from starquakes to alien spaceships, but since they were first discovered in 2007, astronomers have been unable to figure out exactly what causes them. Now, two discoveries hint at an explanation.