Ancient trading system a notable achievement
By Mark Langdon
Researchers have discovered that ocean-going sailing rafts plied the waters of the equatorial Pacific long before Europeans arrived in the Americas. Rafts carried trade goods for thousands of miles all the way from modern-day Chile to western Mexico, according to new findings by researchers at Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
Details of how the ancient trading system worked more than 1,000 years ago have been reconstructed largely through the efforts of former MIT engineering student Leslie Dewan, working with professor of archaeology and ancient technology Dorothy Hosler, of the Center for Materials Research in Archaeology and Ethnology.
Their work supports earlier evidence that the two great centres of pre-European civilisation in the Americas - the Andes region and Mesoamerica - had been in contact with each other and had long-standing trading relationships. This was based on an analysis of very similar metalworking technology used in the two regions, as well as evidence of trade in highly prized spondylus-shell beads.
Early European accounts of the Andean civilisation include descriptions and even drawings of the rafts, but provide little information about their routes or the nature of the goods they carried. To gain a better understanding of their possible uses, Dewan and other students in Hosler's class built a small-scale replica to study its seaworthiness and handling, testing it on the Charles River in 2004.
Dewan later carried out a detailed computer analysis of the size, weight and cargo capacity of the rafts to arrive at a better understanding of their use for trade along the Pacific coast. "It's a nontrivial engineering problem to get one of these to work properly," explained Dewan. Although the early sketches give a general sense of the construction, it took careful study with a computerised engineering design program to work out details of dimensions, materials, sail size and configuration, and the arrangement of centreboards.
The centreboards were used in place of a keel to prevent the craft from being blown to the side, and also provided a unique steering mechanism by selectively raising and lowering different boards from among two rows of them arranged on each side of the craft.
In 1947, Thor Heyerdahl famously sailed from Peru to Polynesia on a primitive raft of balsa wood and bamboo with a small shelter, relying on the prevailing wind and ocean current to bring him to the islands.
Dewan told E&T: "We did look at Heyerdahl's Kon-tiki, but a raft with a fixed square sail is only capable of sailing directly downwind. This was no problem for Heyerdahl's application (except for his difficulties landing the craft), but a raft with this type of sail wouldn't have the manoeuvrability to sail between Ecuador and Mexico, given the wind and water conditions there. Heyerdahl himself discusses the Kon-tiki's lack of manoeuvrability in a 1955 paper."
Hosler said the MIT analysis is "the first paper of its kind" to use modern engineering analysis to determine design parameters and constraints of an ancient watercraft and thus prove the feasibility of a particular kind of ancient trade in the New World.
Electrical industry fights fakes
By Lorna Sharpe
Four electrical industry associations have agreed to work together to stop the spread of fake and sub-standard products in the UK market.
The presidents of BEAMA, the EDA (Electrical Distributors Association), ECA (Electrical Contractors Association) and SELECT (Scotland's electrotechnical trade association) have signed the Electrical Industry Installation Charter, which commits their members "to fight together against the 'trade' in counterfeit electrical products and the proliferation of products not complying with standards".
BEAMA CEO Dave Dossett said: "Counterfeiting affects all sectors. The electrical products business is not immune. All those in the supply chain must beware - if you're offered products at 'too good to be true' prices they're likely to be inferior-quality fakes or products that don't comply with the relevant standards.
"The Charter confirms the electrical products industry's will to encourage the development of concrete actions between members of all signatories - surveillance and intelligence-led anti-counterfeiting networks, for example. We're sure other associations will also sign the Charter, and that eventually such a commitment could form part of contract conditions between companies."
Manufacturers too are fighting against the spread of products that undermine both their sales and their reputations. Schneider Electric recently issued an open letter warning of "fake products arriving, mostly from the Far East, that are seriously and potentially life threatening".
Paul Canning, techno-commercial manager of Schneider's Building Systems & Solutions division, said: "In the worst example, we found an MCB (miniature circuit breaker) that had no protective components at all within it. A single copper braid bridged the two poles - effectively rendering the device as nothing more than a potentially dangerous switch."
Products bypassing authorised distribution chains may be 'grey market' imports (genuine products, but usually without manufacturers' warranties), copies of legitimate products or dangerous fakes with serious safety flaws.
Canning said: "Everyone in the trade - wholesalers and stockists, contractors and electricians - should check very carefully the origins of any equipment they purchase. They will do well to consider that it is they, the suppliers and installers, who carry the legal responsibility if a counterfeit product fails."
The counterfeiting issue received a further publicity boost with the launch of a new micro-site from Voltimum, the electrical industry Web portal. The site provides advice for electrical distributors, contractors, manufacturers and specifiers, and includes a copy of the Charter.
Cargo scanner assists aviation security
A scanner combining neutron technology with X-ray screening is set to provide the next generation of air cargo security. Australian research body CSIRO and Chinese security business Nuctech have formed a joint venture to commercialise the technology.
Normal X-ray scanners detect objects based on density and shape but not composition; combining X-ray and neutron data will create material-specific coloured images, ranging from blue (metals) to red (organic materials). This will help the operator to detect anomalies. CSIRO says scanning an air freight container should take less than one minute.
Tiny switch gets data pulse racing
By James Hayes
Transporting data within a computer chip using light pulses instead of electrons has taken a step forward with what's claimed to be the tiniest nanophotonic switch developed to date.
Researchers at IBM's TJ Watson Research Centre are describing the silicon broadband optical switch as a key component required to enable high-performance multi-core computer chips which transmit information internally using pulses of light travelling through silicon instead of electrical signals on copper wire.
Once the electronic signals have been converted into optical ones, the switching device performs the role of directing traffic within the network, ensuring that messages from one processor core can travel efficiently to any of the other cores on the chip.
IBM says the nanophotonic switch is about 100 times smaller than the cross-section of a human hair: "As many as 2,000 would fit side-by-side in an area of one square millimetre," says Yurii Vlasov, manager of silicon nanophotonics at IBM, "easily meeting integration requirements for future multi-core processors."
The new device is able to route huge amounts of data, since many different wavelengths of light can be switched simultaneously. With each wavelength carrying data at up to 40Gbit/s, it is possible to switch an aggregate bandwidth exceeding 1Tbit/s - a requirement for routing large messages between distant cores.
As importantly, IBM has demonstrated that the optical switch can operate within a realistic on-chip environment, where the temperature of the chip itself can change drastically in the vicinity of so-called 'hot-spots': these move around depending upon the way the processors are functioning at any given moment.
Subsea 'cats' eyes' could save dolphins' lives
By Dominic Lenton
Whales and dolphins might avoid being inadvertently trapped in fishing nets if a marker developed for the Ministry of Defence (MoD) can win commercial backing.
Scientists at the Defence Science and Technology Laboratory have completed sea trials of the device, which can be used to identify the location of high-value underwater objects such as oil field equipment and cables to sonar systems. It could also be detected by creatures that use sonar to navigate.
Described as a nautical version of 'cat's eye' road markings, the spherical units, in which an elastomer core is surrounded by a rigid shell of glass-reinforced plastic or steel, reflect tuned sonar signals at specific frequencies depending on their composition. Unlike existing location devices used by oil and cable companies that continually pulse a signal, however, it is a passive system that only returns a signal when an attempt is made to identify it. And because it doesn't require a battery, DSTL says maintenance costs are significantly reduced.
Historically, passive devices have relied on chlorofluorocarbons housed in metal discs. The DSTL system's physical properties mean it doesn't need the potentially harmful chemicals.
As well as being used to locate valuable assets, DSTL says the units could be attached to fishing nets so that whales and dolphins picking up the signal could avoid the area. Marine scientists estimate that nearly a thousand dolphins, porpoises and whales die every day as a result of being caught unintentionally by fishing equipment.
Subsea Asset Location Technologies, a company set up to commercialise the technology, is seeking venture capital funding to complete the development phase and bring a product to market. "This is another example of DSTL technology being directed outside its original military application and making a difference to industry," said the laboratory's head of technology transfer, David Harris.
Moving in the opposite direction, the MoD wants to help small-scale inventors to develop products that could benefit Britain's armed forces. It is setting up a Centre for Defence Enterprise, based at the Harwell Science and Innovation Campus in Oxfordshire, which will act as a business incubator - finding financial support for good ideas by pairing scientists and academics with investors.
The centre's staff will select proposals that they believe have the potential to meet current and future operational requirements, although the MoD is stressing that it will not become involved in resulting joint ventures itself.
A pilot phase lasting six months will be followed by a review of how successful the centre has been.
Taiwan foundry claims a process first
By Chris Edwards
TSMC has started the rollout of what the company has called a 40nm 'half-node' process - making it, in principle, the most advanced chipmaking process available. However, it was described at the International Electron Device Meeting (IEDM) as a 45nm process.
The Taiwanese foundry said the 40nm technology is a 'shrink' of the 45nm process, reducing the key dimensions and pitches by about 10 per cent. The company claimed that the 40nm process offers a gate-density improvement of 2.35 times over chips made using the 65nm technology. However, the 45nm process described at IEDM was claimed by TSMC to be 2.4 times denser than its 65nm technology.
The pitch of the first metal layer has been reduced to 126nm, said JC Huang, technical manager in the advanced process division at TSMC, the same as the 45nm covered at IEDM. TSMC later confirmed that the processes are based on the same design rules, which are broadly similar to those of Intel's own 45nm process, described at the same conference.
TSMC said it now has the smallest SRAM cell size, measuring 0.242µm2. At IEDM, TSMC said it had managed to build SRAM cells as small as 0.202µm2. Huang said the size of the SRAM cell in customer designs would depend on their requirements for minimum supply voltage and yield expectations: smaller SRAM cells are expected to have lower yield because of the effects of statistical variability. To improve yield in high-speed memory arrays, TSMC is offering libraries with more robust eight-transistor cells as well as conventional six-transistor designs.
TSMC is continuing to use immersion lithography for the 40nm process. The move to double exposure, which Intel has already applied with dry lithography at 45nm, is expected to come with the launch of the 32nm process late next year.
Nature embraces complexity in control
By Chris Edwards
Recent research into the systems that control cell behaviour has revealed that, in the design of the control loops themselves, nature favours complexity where engineers might choose simpler structures. The reason, claim scientists, is that control loops that involve multiple positive and negative feedback loops seem to evolve more readily and are more robust in the face of environmental changes.
At the Genomes to Systems conference held in Manchester last month, Stanford University researcher Professor James Ferrell used the cell division cycle of the carnivorous frog Xenopus to show how nature has harnessed interlocking control loops. "It is the most clock-like cell cycle that we know of," Ferrell claimed. "It seems to be driven by an autonomous clock, with a division taking place every 25 minutes. The simplest way we could build this kind of oscillator, that can get into the groove regardless of starting conditions, is a negative-feedback loop."
A key part of the cell-division cycle in Xenopus, however, uses not just one negative feedback loop but two positive feedback loops each mediated by a set of proteins. "Why build the oscillator with a positive feedback loop in the first place when it works with one negative feedback loop?" Ferrell asked. "Positive feedback is a recurrent theme in biology. But what is the performance advantage?"
Experiments performed by Ferrell's group indicate that the use of positive feedback makes it possible to build a switching action into the control system: the use of discrete states can be used to suppress noise. "Perhaps it is harmful for cells to have intermediate states," Ferrell speculated. "Maybe it is easier to evolve."
To test the speculation, the Stanford researchers built computer models to evolve a set of control structures. "To get 500 working negative-feedback oscillators, we needed 130,000 parameter sets," said Ferrell. To get just over 500 working positive- and negative-feedback oscillators fewer than 10,000 parameter sets were needed.
Work by Andrew Millar at the University of Edinburgh found similar results with the circadian clocks of plants, where light is used to modify their growth patterns. "The advantage of multiple loops lies in increased flexibility," said Millar, who noted that simpler analogues were less able to maintain control as the temperature changed.
Professor Béla Novák of the University of Oxford described how the cell-division cycle calls for a number of feedback loops to prevent processes from going backwards if the process is stopped. "It is very important for the cell that, if anything goes wrong, the cell can stay at that level until the problem is corrected. The cell can never move backwards in time.
"The cell cycle uses many, many positive feedback loops and mutual antagonism to stop the clock and create checkpoints," said Novák. Although it makes the work of analysing cellular cycles much more difficult, he said it underlines the need to look at them from the perspective of a full system: "The best option is to view every biological problem from a systems biology perspective. Forget about reductionism."
Biology looks to electronics to solve diagram mess
Biologists want to represent processes in living organisms in a way that looks more like electronic circuit diagrams so they can combine research from around the world more readily.
Hiroaki Kitano, director of the Sony Computer Science Laboratories in Japan and president of the Systems Biology Institute, is working on a graphical language that he hopes will make it possible to make 'Google Maps' for cellular processes.
Kitano said the Systems Biology Markup Language - established ten years ago as a textual way to represent mathematical models of reactions in a cell - has become a 'de facto' standard. "Now what we need to standardise is the visual representation," he declared at the Genomes to Systems conference last month.
The problem is that without a common visual language, ambiguity reigns in biological diagrams. Kitano explained: "There would be no electronics industry without circuit diagrams. There is no ambiguity in the circuit diagram: that is something we want to achieve."
Kitano said one spin-off benefit of what is a much more complex visual language than the ad hoc representations used today should be more rigorous diagrams: "It will force biologists to think twice of what they are talking about.
"The initial reaction to this was that it was too verbose and too complicated. But, after training, they start to understand why they need it. By being forced to write at this level they are forced to think about the reaction they are talking about."
He used one classic diagram to show how arrows were used to represent seven different types of process, illustrating problems with today's representations. By adopting a common diagram style with something like the Systems Biology Graphical Notation (SBGN), Kitano hopes to make it easier to find research that relates to each cell process.
The Systems Biology Institute is building an online community called Payao that is based around SBML and the CellDesigner diagram editor, which provided the basis for some of SBGN's proposed notation. Payao will let resear-chers 'tag' processes with papers they have written or used.
Letting the train take the strain is getting easier
By Pelle Neroth
The British press has been very positive about the opening of St Pancras as Eurostar's London terminal following completion of the high-speed link to the Channel Tunnel, but it has tended to miss the bigger picture, which is that it's part of a greater revolution.
With a few exceptions, such as Eurostar, high-speed rail services in Europe have had difficulty connecting with other national systems. For example, French TGV travellers couldn't easily book connections with high-speed trains in Germany; or take a TGV from, say, Montpellier to Barcelona.
Now that is set to change. Last July, seven high-speed operators got together to form Railteam, to facilitate the creation of a single high-speed network across much of western Europe. Modelling itself on airline alliances, Railteam will offer a common reservations system, greater coordination of schedules to reduce layover times, and a frequent-traveller programme.
On shorter routes, such as London-Paris, Eurostar now has 70 per cent of the market, while Thalys has forced the closure of a Paris-Brussels air link. It will still take six hours to get from London to the Mediterranean, but it's comfortable and classy and, if you book ahead, the fares will become competitive. In addition, you avoid the increasingly tedious and burdensome security checks that have ruined any pleasure in flying.
Importantly, the carbon footprint of a rail passenger is a tenth of that of an air traveller going to the same destination. The TGV and Eurostar are run on the French nuclear grid.
That's not the only change in rail travel. As well as cooperation, there will also be greater competition. Last year the European parliament approved legislation that will require national networks to open up their tracks to operators from other countries, so we could see SNCF competing with Eurostar on the Brussels-London route, or Deutsche Bahn running trains from Cologne to London or Paris.
Dirck Sterckx, a Belgian Liberal MEP who piloted through the laws, thinks that British liberalisation has, contrary to received wisdom even in Britain, led to greater efficiency, better service, and fewer delays. "Europe invested a lot in infrastructure, but the train operators have grown complacent through their monopolies," he told me from a Belgian train that was 20 minutes late because of a local strike.
At the moment, international competition will only take place on international routes. National services were also to be included - Paris to Toulouse, run by Portuguese State railways for instance, or SNCF trains linking Liverpool and Manchester - but for a technicality: an absolute majority for this particular measure failed because the vote in the Strasbourg parliament was held on a Thursday, when most MEPs go home early. Ironically, they do so because of poor transport links from Strasbourg that could have been ameliorated had the changes they were due to vote on already taken place.
Next year, said Sterckx, the legislation to allow foreign operators on domestic lines will probably be reintroduced. After all, unpassed European legislation promoting greater European integration has a habit of coming back again on schedule, if MEPS missed the train first time round.
Tram-train technology to be tested in uk
By Lorna Sharpe
A new form of public transport is coming to Britain: the tram-train. Trials are planned on a railway line in Yorkshire from 2010. Tram-train services already exist in parts of Europe, running on conventional railway lines in rural areas and on-street tram lines in towns. The British trial will initially be confined to the rail network but may be extended later.
Five tram-trains will replace conventional trains on the 37 mile (60km) Penistone Line between Huddersfield, Barnsley and Sheffield, serving 17 stations. They will be lightweight units, powered by diesel engines on the non-electrified line but also equipped for future 750V DC tramway operation. Their width will be determined by the requirements of both systems. Most British tramways are built to the standard rail track gauge of 1,435mm, so that will pose no problems.
Because the vehicles weigh less than standard rolling stock, they use less fuel and cause less wear and tear on tracks, so less maintenance is needed and assets last longer, improving the economics of lightly-used lines. With faster acceleration and deceleration rates they can also offer passengers better journey times.
The project is a partnership between the Department for Transport, train operator Northern Rail and infrastructure owner Network Rail. The two-year trial will evaluate the environmental benefits, operating costs and technical suitability of the tram-trains as well as testing how popular they are with passengers on the route.
Northern Rail will run a competition for manufacturers to build the vehicles, which it will then lease. Network Rail will spend £15m on track improvements and alterations to stations as part of the trial, and DfT will contribute £9m to fund its operation. Northern will bring experience from Europe through its part-owner Ned Railways, which operates tram-trains in The Netherlands.
Likely changes to the infrastructure include enhancing the track to give a smoother ride, as well as platform extensions to accommodate the lower-floored vehicles. There will be no changes to the signalling, and the tram-trains will be equipped with TPWS (train protection and warning system), which will stop them passing red signals.
Talks are still under way about a possible second phase, which would see the services extended into the heart of Sheffield on the Supertram network. That would provide an opportunity for on-street tests of the vehicles and the concept, including an assessment of whether city-centre running would persuade people to switch from private car use.
However, people involved with the project are talking very cautiously about the prospects for phase two. One issue is finding a suitable location for building a new link between the heavy rail and tramway networks, while a media briefing document says other limitations "may include the meeting of safety requirements and the progress of phase one".
The Penistone Line, one of the most successful Community Rail Partnerships, has been chosen for the trial because it offers the chance to test the tram-trains on a route that in part is for passenger services only and in part for passenger and freight trains.
UAVs survey the antarctic
Scientists have successfully used autonomous unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) for the first time to gather data in Antarctica, opening up a new technique for studying remote and harsh environments.
The programme is a collaboration between British Antarctic Survey (BAS) and the Technical University of Braunschweig (TUBS), Germany.
Dr Phil Anderson of BAS said: "This is a huge technological achievement for BAS and TUBS. Apart from take-off and landing, when the UAVs are controlled by radio, the aircraft are completely autonomous, flying on their own according to a pre-programmed flight plan. Each flight lasts for 40 minutes, covering around 45km and taking 100 measurements a second, so waiting for the UAV to return safely after its research mission was very exciting. Seeing the first UAV come back successfully was a real heart-in-the-mouth moment."
Following trials during the southern winter of 2007, the UAVs successfully completed 20 flights between October and December 2007, including four over the Weddell Sea. They were fitted with instruments to record the exchange of heat between the lower atmosphere and sea ice. During the Antarctic winter, the Weddell Sea freezes, and because of its bright white colour, the ice reflects heat and helps to cool the planet.
However, sea ice is a major unknown feedback mechanism in the Earth's climate system and scientists need to discover more about it and its sensitivity to climate change.
Among the physical and technical challenges the team faced were learning to keep batteries operating at very low temperatures and to operate radio controls for take-off and landing in thick gloves and mitts.
Each UAV has a wingspan of 2m and weighs 6kg. They are electric-powered, using state-of-the-art lithium ion polymer (LIPo) battery packs. Take-off is by catapult and landing by skis onto snow. A modified Tucker Sno-Cat is used as 'mission control'.
Indonesian airline grounded
By William Dennis in Jakarta
Indonesia's Ministry of Transport (MOT) has banned low-cost airline Adam Air from flying, following a series of accidents.
The most recent was on 3 March, when one of the carrier's Boeing 737-400s overshot the runway at Hang Nadim Airport in Batam after landing in a violent storm. There were no casualties but the aircraft was badly damaged.
Budhi Mulyawan, MOT's director general for air transport, said the agency was left with no alternative but to revoked Adam Air's air operating certificate.
"This should be a deterrent to other Indonesian airlines. We have to take drastic steps to warn the carriers that the government means business in ensuring the safety of passengers' lives and of aircraft," Mulyawan said. Adam Air has three months to appeal against MOT's decision. Its fleet of 15 737-200/300/400s - most of them leased - are parked at several airports across the country. The airline had a network covering 20 domestic destinations and Singapore.
Last year Adam Air had two accidents including one on New Year's Day which killed 102 passengers and crew. It also failed two maintenance audits carried out by the local civil aviation authorities in March and June. It was one of the 51 Indonesian carriers banned from flying into the 27-nation European Union bloc.
In February 2007 the US Federal Aviation Authority downgraded Indonesia's civil aviation safety from Category 1 to Category 2. Most Indonesian airlines are operating with aircraft between 20 and 25 years old. Last year MOT introduced a new ruling that bars local carriers from acquiring or leasing B737-200s, which were last made in 1988. This has neither been implemented nor enforced.
Smart films are key to smaller phones
By Dominic Lenton
Thin coatings developed for 'cloaking' applications in the defence sector could help shrink mobile phones by creating the illusion that resonating circuits used to generate microwaves are larger than they really are.
Metamaterials - composites engineered to manipulate the behaviour of electromagnetic waves - have been proposed as a possible way of achieving 'invisibility'. Now researchers at the US National Institute of Standards and Technology believe the same technology can be used to create films that allow devices to be reduced in size.
The breakthrough is described in a paper in the March 2008 issue of Propagation' reporting work by scientists from NIST, the University of Pennsylvania and the University of Colorado on what they have dubbed 'metafilms'.
Their calculations deduced the effects of placing a film across the inside centre of a resonant cavity, which is used to tune microwave systems to radiate or detect specific frequencies. To resonate, the cavity's main dimension must be at least half the wavelength of the desired frequency. Other research groups have shown that filling with bulk metamaterials allows devices to be shrunk beyond this size limit by making microwaves adjust their phase to reach stable resonance conditions. The NIST team showed the same effect can be achieved with a metafilm coating that traps energy locally in the same way but consumes less space.
BAE backing Britain
By Bob Cervi
BAE Systems has insisted that Britain will remain the hub of its global activities, despite its expansion into the US market and pressures to outsource to low-cost economies.
The aerospace group says that, while it has reduced its UK workforce after shifting from aircraft manufacture to focus on defence work, it has expanded its 'high-value' research and development activities in Britain.
Julian Scopes, BAE's head of government relations, told E&T that the UK's skills base would help Britain remain as the company's global hub.
"Most of our export success tends to come from UK rather than from American intellectual capital," he said. "This will keep us rooted in the UK in the longer term, but this is also dependent on a continuing appetite in the UK to invest in high-technology defence skills and equipment for the Armed Forces."
A new report on BAE in the UK says it trains more skilled engineers than any other company. Its main employment focus is in north west England and Scotland.
Putting Scotsman back on track
Engineering apprentice Matthew Ellis is one of the team working on a total refurbishment of the iconic Flying Scotsman locomotive at the National Railway Museum in York.
Tool company Makita has provided a kit of professional power tools for the duration of the four-year project, which is intended to bring the engine back to full certification standard, enabling it to return to British rail lines from summer 2009.
News in brief
The John Lewis Partnership (JLP) and Cenex, an industry-led centre of excellence for low-carbon and fuel-cell technologies, have challenged the UK commercial-vehicle supply chain to produce low-carbon vehicles that the store and supermarket chain can put into real fleet usage over the next two to three years.
The Challenge covers four vehicle categories: 3.5-tonne refrigerated van; 7.5-tonne vehicle; 38-tonne trailer and semi-trailer refrigeration unit. It is intended to help JLP and other fleet operators assess how the vehicles can save carbon and lifecycle costs.
E.On says it will enter the UK Government's carbon capture and storage competition, based on its proposed Kingsnorth power station in Kent. It now wants a decision on the Kingsnorth planning application to be deferred until later in the year, after completion of the government's consultation into what will be required to make a coal-fired power station CCS-ready.
Motorola is to split its business into two, creating separate and independent companies for mobile devices and for broadband and mobility solutions, though the process is unlikely to be completed before 2009.
The mobile handset division's performance has been disappointing recently, and is not expected to improve until new products reach the market.
Tetra (terrestrial trunked radio) technology has now been adopted in 100 countries around the world, following the award of a contract in Namibia. Tetra is a suite of digital trunked radio standards for professional mobile radio users, such as emergency services and utilities.
Artevea is supplying a Tetra network to the Namibian Government. It will operate initially in the Windhoek region but eventually cover the whole country.
Osram is claiming a major breakthrough in the development of organic light-emitting diodes for lighting applications. In the laboratory it has demonstrated OLEDs in warm white with an efficiency of 46lm/W, a brightness of 1,000cd/m2 and a life of over 5,000 hours. It has not previously been possible to improve efficiency and life simultaneously.
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