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‘People’s Choice’ highlights: Light in communication


Nearly all communication depends on optics and optical technology. Thanks to optical fibers, which are thin flexible fiber made of silica or plastic, we can transmit texts, media, and the internet through light signals over long distances. The internet allows people around the world to feel connected in a way that has never before been possible. Whether originating from mobile phones or modems, almost 100 percent of all telecommunications land on an optical fiber network.

In the photo above, Ebrahim Elmoly illustrates how humans rely on telecommunications to capture historic moments like the Egyptian Revolution of 2011. During the Arab Spring riots and demonstrations in Cairo and Alexandria lead to the overthrow of Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak and dissolution of the parliament. The word  “لحرية” on flag means "freedoms" in Arabic.

Elmoly is is one of 32 contestants for the People’s Choice Award competition in the SPIE International Year of Light Photo Contest. Judges have already chosen three winners, but now it's your turn to choose one more. SPIE is providing a prize of US $500 to the People's Choice winner. Online voting continues through 15 August.

This blog post features entries illustrating light in communication, including Elmoly’s, above, and two others, below.

Born in Alexandria, Elmoly is a freelance photographer and studying at the Faculty of Commerce, Cairo University. While working for NGOs, Elmoly focuses on social, and cultural issues and has won two golden medals from National Geographic Egypt.

For more information about the photographer, see Elmoly’s portfolio.

As mobile devices proliferate, stored data increases and computers of all types add more capabilities, the world is seeing a dramatic growth in the amount of energy needed for data processing. Among those working on solutions is Volker Sorger at George Washington University. He described his work in a recent video interview with the SPIE Newsroom.

Another researcher, Vurii Vlasov of IBM Thomas J. Watson Research Center, described in a plenary talk at SPIE Photonics West in February how the technology to carry communications into the future is moving from fundamental science to manufacturable technology.

While much of the world's communication occurs over fiber-optic networks, information can even travel through space. A team from the German Aerospace Center and ViaLight Communications GmbH,  Florian Moll, Christian Fuchs, and Joachim Horwath, reported in the SPIE Newsroom last month about the successful transfer of large data sets across a laser link between a jet and a ground station.

This week, the industry marked an important milestone toward next-generation communication on the announcement of a $110 million funding award in the USA for a consortium to establish a new Integrated Photonics Institute for Manufacturing Innovation (IP-IMI) in New York State. The IP-IMI is intended to advance the state of the art in the design, manufacture, testing, assembly, and packaging of complex photonic integrated circuits that combine a variety of photonic and electronic components to achieve functionality.

Other People’s Choice finalists who depicted light in communication in their photography are:
"Light-based Technology," by Romado Javillonar, Marikina City, Philippines, 22 June 2013. The internet allows us to communicate with our loved. Light-based technology has impacted the entire world intellectually, morally, and emotionally. 
"The Reflection of Light in Life," by Jiraporn Saenjae, Nakhon Ratchasima, Thailand. Saenjae captured this photo near the restaurant A Cup of Love in Nakhon Ratchasima, Thailand, 21 September 2014.

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