Facebook’s Fiber Optic Weaving Robot

The Latin word for silkworm is Bombyx and is now also the name of facebook’s latest robot. The company in collaboration with ULC Robotics designed a robot that can wrap fiber optic cable around medium voltage power lines and clear obstacles without the help of a human.

Facebook plans to use this device to reduce the cost of fiber optic installations, as well as, bring high-speed internet access to many areas of the world that don’t have it. Before Bombyx, the traditional method to install fiber was to lash a fiber cable to a pole. This process required a lot of preparation, large crews, and heavy equipment.

The key to the success of the robot is a thinner fiber cable. Facebook and its partners collaborated with veteran cable designer Wayne Kachmar to design and create a fiber optic cable that’s only 4 millimeters in diameter. To put that into perspective, typical fiber optic cabling is between 10-13 millimeters in diameter and weighs about 250 pounds per kilometer. Facebook’s cable only weighs 28 pounds.

With 5G networks switching on around the world, Bombyx could be a game-changer as all cellular networks require fiber optics as there backbone.

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World Record Internet Speed

Researchers from Monash, Swinburne, and RMIT universities have tested the world’s fastest internet speed. The team was able to achieve a data speed of 44.2 Terabits per second (Tbps) from a single light source.

This new technology can support 1.8 million high-speed simultaneous connections, and best of all this technology can be installed into existing infrastructure. The new device known as a micro-comb replaces 80 conventional lasers with a single piece of equipment.

The future goal for the research team is to make this technology low cost and compact that it can be installed for commercial use by the general public in cities around the world.

Researchers Create A “Smart Surface” That Boost Wifi Signal Strength And Data Rates

Do you experience poor signal strength or slow data transfers when using Wifi? Engineers at the University of California San Diego might just make all that a thing of the past, as they have developed a “smart surface”. In testing, the smart surface extended WiFi range from 98 feet to 147 feet, as well as, doubled its speed.

This surface is a 4″ x 12″ printed circuit board containing 48 small antennas. These antennas combine incoming WiFi signals from a router to create an entirely new path for signals to travel. This new path is just as strong as the original coming from the router. This technology also creates a second data stream that goes to your connected Wifi device. Not only do you get a connection in areas where you could not before, but you also get double the data rate where you already have connectivity.

This technology has a couple unique benefits, one is it’s extremely power efficient, it can last up to a year on a coin cell battery. Second is the technology can be mass-produced for $5 each.

In future studies, the researchers plan to combine multiple smart surfaces to see if they could possibly triple or even quadruple data rates and range.