Wits University researchers have developed a way to accelerate light that could eventually lead to much faster internet speeds and benefits for medical technology, writes DUNCAN ALFREDS.
Professor Andrew Forbes and his team of the School of Physics have demonstrated that the technology could be used to create a 30 times increase in the bandwidth of communications systems.
The next generation of high speed internet will consist of fibre optical connections, which rely on the transmission of data by light. However, Forbes cautioned against immediate expectations from the world first development.
“Okay, at the moment this research is not directly coupled to this. In the present work I have shown how to make light accelerate, which is not something it is meant to do,” Forbes told Fin24.
Previously, Forbes and his collaborators have shown that light could be made to spin. In this latest work, they have created digital holograms.
Medical test technologies
“I create holograms that are written to LCD displays – like the TV in your house – and then teach the device to create the patterns of light I want,” said Forbes.
He joined the Wits School of Physics in March this year, and heads up the new Structured Light Laboratory that focuses on creating custom light fields using digital holograms. The research group creates complex light that exhibits interesting physical properties, which
they exploit for a range of applications.
“From a purely science perspective it is interesting to test old concepts with this new idea. For example, if we replace the ‘light’ with ‘electrons’, can we make self-accelerating electrons that do not radiate any light? This would be considered impossible before,” Forbes said.
But he also foresees using the innovation to develop medical test technologies that could speed up the diagnosis for certain conditions.
“On a more practical level, there is a drive toward lab-on-a-chip technologies in the biological and health sections. The idea is to make a diagnostic that is very small – electronic chip size – so that the samples are analysed in real time rather than transported to a large, physical laboratory.”
The accelerating light could be used to pump fluid so that accurate readings could be taken.
The research paper is available on the Wits website.
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CES: And thanks for all the beer!
Last week, the Las Vegas expo showed off its fun side with state-of-the-art technologies for making and enjoying beer, writes BRYAN TURNER
From craft beer-making machines to robots that pour beer, CES had more beer than usual in Las Vegas last week. And even free beer if you found the right stand. Stampede’s saloon-style booth offered beer to visitors who tried out its latest drones, virtual reality, and other gaming products. No beer tech, though.
Here are some of the beer technologies that stood out:
LG HomeBrew – Craft beer made at home
LG’s HomeBrew craft beer-making machine, debuted at CES 2019, brings the brewing process home thanks to single-use capsules, a self-cleaning feature, and an algorithm optimised for fermentation.
Like a Nespresso coffee machine, the beer maker uses capsules, which contain malt, yeast, hop oil and flavouring. At the press of a button, LG HomeBrew automates the whole procedure from fermentation and carbonation to ageing. A companion app lets users check HomeBrew’s status at any time during the process, from their handsets.
The beer machine not only offers a simple way to make craft
Designed with discerning beer lovers in mind, HomeBrew allows for in-home production of batches of more than 4 litres of beer in a variety of styles. The following five distinctive, flavoured beers are available now:
- Hoppy American IPA
- Golden American Pale Ale
- Full-bodied English Stout
- Zesty Belgian-style Witbier
- Dry Czech Pilsner
The only catch? It takes about two weeks to make, depending on the beer type.
“LG HomeBrew is the culmination of years of home appliance and water purification technologies that we’ve developed over the decades,” said Dan Song, president of LG Electronics Home Appliance & Air Solutions Company. “Homebrewing has grown at an explosive pace, but there are still many beer lovers who haven’t taken the jump because of the barriers to entry, like complexity, and these are the consumers we think will be attracted to LG HomeBrew.”
Click here to read about the party speaker that holds beer and robots that pour beer.
CES: Alienware gets Legend-ary
At CES in Las Vegas last week, Dell’s Alienware released a family of high-end, thin, light, and affordable machines for both amateur and professional gamers – and a new identity.
Alienware marked CES 2019 as a brand milestone with the debut of a new design identity, Alienware Legend. It aims to set a new bar of excellence for what gamers want most – performance and function. Alienware says it evaluated multiple concepts and chose one that was the biggest and boldest departure from its current look.
Alienware Legend, says the company, stays true to the brand’s core design tenets, taking cues from its deep roots in sci-fi culture and its early industrial designs, to distinguish the brand from the rest of the industry. The new Legend design is optimised with cutting-edge thermal cooling technology to achieve and sustain overclocking power, improved AlienFX lighting, and ultra-thin screen borders. It also unveiled a new “three-knuckle hinge” design that reduces the overall dimension while creating a stronger assembly, all combining to yield a better gaming experience.
“We’re excited to come to this year’s CES with some truly groundbreaking products, next-gen software and strategic partnerships that will bring more people to experience PC gaming and advance the industry,” said Frank Azor, vice president and general manager of Alienware. “The legend design answers the call for more and better from our gaming community, and the new G Series laptops will make PC gaming even more accessible to those looking for high-performance gaming at a cost they can appreciate.”
Click here to read about Alienware Legend in action with the Area-51m and m-series laptops