Friday, December 28, 2007

Boeing X-50A

Boeing X-50 Dragonfly, formerly known as the Canard Rotor/Wing Demonstrator, is a gyrodyne unmanned aerial vehicle that was being developed by Boeing and DARPA to demonstrate the principle that a helicopter's rotor can be stopped in flight and act as a fixed wing. The X-50A builds upon the work of the Sikorsky X-Wing program of the 1980s by designing the vehicle as a multi-mode aircraft from the ground up. The X-50A is one of two projects funded by DARPA in its "Heliplane" program.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Wide area network

A wide area network is a network where a wide variety of resources are deployed across a large domestic area or internationally. An example of this is a multinational business that uses a WAN to interconnect their offices in different countries. The largest and best example of a WAN is the Internet, which is a network comprised of many smaller networks. The Internet is considered the largest network in the world. The PSTN (Public Switched Telephone Network) also is an extremely large network that is converging to use Internet technologies, although not necessarily through the public Internet.

A Wide Area Network involves communication through the use of a wide range of different technologies. These technologies include Point-to-Point WANs such as Point-to-Point Protocol (PPP) and High-Level Data Link Control (HDLC), Frame Relay, ATM (Asynchronous Transfer Mode) and Sonet (Synchronous Optical Network). The difference between the WAN technologies is based on the switching capabilities they perform and the speed at which sending and receiving bits of information (data) occur.

For more information on WANs, see Frame Relay, ATM and Sonet.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Molecular nanotechnology

Molecular nanotechnology, sometimes called molecular manufacturing, is a term given to the concept of engineered nanosystems (nanoscale machines) operating on the molecular scale. It is especially associated with the concept of a molecular assembler, a machine that can produce a desired structure or device atom-by-atom using the principles of mechanosynthesis. Manufacturing in the context of productive nanosystems is not related to, and should be clearly distinguished from, the conventional technologies used to manufacture nanomaterials such as carbon nanotubes and nanoparticles.

When the term "nanotechnology" was independently coined and popularized by Eric Drexler (who at the time was unaware of an earlier usage by Norio Taniguchi) it referred to a future manufacturing technology based on molecular machine systems. The premise was that molecular-scale biological analogies of traditional machine components demonstrated molecular machines were possible: by the countless examples found in biology, it is known that sophisticated, stochastically optimised biological machines can produce.

Thursday, December 06, 2007

Cellular telephony

The most common example of a cellular network is a mobile phone (cell phone) network. A mobile phone is a portable telephone which receives or makes calls through a cell site (base station), or transmitting tower. Radio waves are used to transfer signals to and from the cell phone. Large geographic areas (representing the coverage range of a service provider) are split up into smaller cells to deal with line-of-sight signal loss and the large number of active phones in an area. In cities, each cell site has a range of up to approximately ½ mile, while in rural areas, the range is approximately 5 miles. Many times in clear open areas, a user may receive signal from a cell 25 miles away. Each cell overlaps other cell sites. All of the cell sites are connected to cellular telephone exchanges "switches", which in turn connect to the public telephone network or another switch of the cellular company.

As the phone user moves from one cell area to another, the switch automatically commands the handset and a cell site with a stronger signal (reported by the handset) to go to a new radio channel (frequency). When the handset responds through the new cell site, the exchange switches the connection to the new cell site.