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Changing life as we know it: the Internet of Things and cyber-physical sensing

More than 20 billion Internet of Things (IoT) devices are expected to be deployed within the next few years; by 2025, this number may reach as much as 1 trillion connected devices. Driven by growth in cloud computing, mobile communications, networks of data-gathering actuators and sensors, and artificial intelligence with machine learning, this trend will change how we live our lives.
Already we live among connected devices in our homes.

Increasingly, we will also wear them, drive them, and monitor our health via the IoT. More businesses will build, ship, and design products and manage inventory with connected devices. In our cities, transportation, communications, and security infrastructure, and services such as water distribution and energy management will employ IoT applications. Farmers will find many uses, from insuring the health of livestock to increasing crop productivity.
Several conferences scheduled for SPIE Defense + Commercial Sensing 2018 (15 through 19 April in Orland…
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Hyperspectral imaging: defense technology transfers into commercial applications

Hyperspectral imaging, like many other of today's technologies, is moving into numerous commercial markets after developing and maturing in the defense sector. While still having a strong presence in defense applications, the technology is now used in chemical detection, food quality assurance and inspection, vegetation monitoring, and plant phenotyping, among others.
For more than 20 years, advances in spectral imaging have been on display at SPIE Defense + Commercial Sensing (DCS). The applications and capabilities of the technology have grown along with the conferences and exhibition at SPIE DCS.
The ability to see more than what is visible to the human eye has always been one of the goals of optical engineers. With hyperspectral imaging they have been able to achieve just that. By accessing the entire electromagnetic spectrum, the sensors are able to image a specific wavelength range, or spectral band, and combine images of multiple bands into one 3D scene.
Through analysis,…

Healthier crops, faster disaster relief, and more, with UAS technology

Unmanned autonomous systems (UAS) are testing the limits of people’s comfort with independent capabilities of technology — yet these technologies are also enabling more productive crops, faster and safer disaster relief, and other benefits across fields of healthcare, defense, transportation, agriculture, and security. While some among the nonscientific population might still be making up their minds about self-driving cars and other unmanned autonomous systems, industry, government, and academia are moving forward to look for more ways to improve and even save lives.
In the field
Among recent projects, Hands Free Hectare at Harper Adams University was developed to enable every part of the farming process to be done by robots, not humans: “Automated machines growing the first arable crop remotely, without operators in the driving seats or agronomists on the ground.”
Simon Blackmore, professor and head of engineering at Harper Adams, described in an interview with SPIE during SPIE Def…

Tiny CubeSats are making space more accessible for study ... in a big way

It’s a bird! It’s a plane! It’s a … CubeSat?
Small, boxy, cost-effective nanosatellites are helping to change the way we explore space. Not only are they making low Earth orbit (LEO) space exploration more accessible due to cheap production, but they can be used in both commercial and amateur projects, making applications versatile.
Originally, CubeSats were invented by researchers at California Polytechnic State University and Stanford University to “enable graduate students to design, build, test and operate limited capabilities of artificial satellites within the time and financial constraints of a graduate degree program,” Space Daily reported recently. This was accomplished by establishing a standard CubeSat dimension of 10x10x11 cubic units — small enough to speed up the process and ensure low costs.
(A search on CubeSats literature in the SPIE Digital Library provides insights into how the technology has developed.)

CubeSats in the 'ignorosphere'
Recently, CubeSats were…

Finding the technologies of the future

The future happens at SPIE Optics + Photonics
What will the future look like? For technologists, policy makers, and venture capitalists alike this is the million-dollar — really billion-dollar — question.
For scientists and engineers working on the technology that will fuel this future, the question is more about where to secure funding, where to publish, and where to present their research. SPIE’s Optics + Photonics symposium in San Diego this August is the choice of many of these top researchers to present their latest iterations on future-impacting technology.

The future of medicine
Technology will most certainly play a large role in the future of healthcare, from innovative imaging techniques and personalized medicine to further understanding of the brain and how it functions and malfunctions. While not a major focus of the symposium, many healthcare-enabling technologies will be presented.
A group of Italian researchers will be presenting their work utilizing machine learning to a…

Very wearable wearables usher in new paradigm in healthcare

Wearable devices, materials, and even temporary tattoos are entering healthcare and other markets, offering the potential for faster, more accurate, and potentially life-saving treatment.
Tracking and measuring activity in the 11 major organ systems in the human body systems is imperative for medical providers to quickly and accurately diagnose and treat patients experience trauma or other emergencies. But existing medical equipment may be uncomfortably bulky or take valuable time to set up.
Skin-like devices and other technologies can provide unobtrusive, comfortable, and precise alternatives for sensing what is happening inside the body.
In one development, researchers at the University of Texas at Austin are developing a skin-like temporary tattoo that takes measurements of electrical signals from the heart, muscles, and brain (see a video presentation in the SPIE Digital Library and a report in IEEE Spectrum).
Nanshu Lu and Deji Akinwande of the University of Texas at Austin have …

What does space technology have to do with medicine?