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Welcome to the IEEE Future Directions Tech Blog.

Photonic switching made affordable and usable

Photonic switching is already a major player in today’s telecommunication networks. There are thousands of photonics add-drop multiplexers in today’s network to route optical data flows and you can also claim the GPONs (Gigabit Passive Optical Networks) are photonics switches of a sort (they actually split the optical flow in …

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I am, therefore I think …

Cogito, ergo sum.  I couldn’t help but remember René Descartes famous "I think, therefore I am" when I read the hypotheses formulated by researchers at Vanderbilt University about awareness and consciousness. Reading their research results made me think (no pun intended) that our thinking is nothing but an emergent property of the …

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Heart on a chip

Developing a brand new drug is amazingly expensive, reaching 5B$ in many cases (it is about the same amount it takes today to develop a new manufacturing plant for chips) and a good portion of this cost goes into the testing of the drug. The normal protocol requires for animal …

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Checking air pollution with a smartphone

Over the last decade there have been growing concerns on the quality of the air we breath and several pollution detectors have been deployed. The problem is that these are few and cover only a limited zone. What has been noticed is that air quality can change in a very short …

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A Lego brick approach to build molecules

Chemists have learnt to assemble big molecules, like peptide, using smaller components. This process works well but it is difficult to apply if you are targeting small molecules, like those that make the basic substances in drugs. There are a huge number of these small molecules and their syntheses, to …

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A Zen like bacteria

The heading for this post came to my mind as I a read a news from Berkeley and LBNL. In this news scientists report on a recent study that led to discover what is believed to be the smallest autonomous life on Earth (viruses are smaller but they need to piggy back on a …

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Insect eye for robots

I reported some time ago of an artificial eye, made by curved sensors, that was mimicking an insect eye. Now I run onto a news where this artificial eye has been used to provide information on the environment to a drone-robot to avoid obstacle. Biorobotic researchers at the Institute des Science du Mouvement, …

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The ugly face of Smart Grid

Blackouts are not so rare and they go back in the past. I still remember the clamour generated by the one suffered by New York most 40 years ago (July 13-14, 1977). And we have had several others, Italy included. The faults were different each time, an unexpected overload as …

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