News Feature | March 9, 2023

Back Channel — Using Radar To Predict Falls, The Dark Side Of The Moon, Name The Mascot!, And More

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By John Oncea, Editor


Back Channel presents the most captivating news and innovations in RF and microwaves. This week, Keysight Technologies acquires Cliosoft, AOC opens registration for Cyber/Electronic Warfare Convergence 2023 Conference, how RF can bring cheap internet to Kenya, and more.

In a bid to digitally transform design-test workflows and meet the productivity requirements of next-generation electronic product development lifecycles, Keysight Technologies announced it has acquired Cliosoft and will be adding the company’s line of hardware design data and intellectual property (IP) management software tools to its portfolio of electronic design automation (EDA) solutions. Niels Faché, Vice President and General Manager of Keysight EDA, said, “We see a tremendous opportunity in the PDM space to leverage Cliosoft’s current capabilities combined with our design-test solutions expertise. Adding PDM solutions to the portfolio is a natural progression of our open EDA interoperability strategy to deliver best-in-class tools and workflows in support of increasingly complicated product development lifecycles.”

Researchers at Chalmers University of Technology (go Chalmerists!)  in Sweden have developed a method for predicting fall accidents and cognitive illnesses such as Alzheimer’s disease by reading a person’s walking pattern with the aid of a radar sensor. The small sensor can be attached to furniture, walls, and ceilings, both in the home and in a healthcare setting. “Our method is both precise and easy to use. It can help healthcare staff to carry out a more reliable risk analysis and tailor interventions to achieve a significant effect early on. Hopefully, it can help to solve a growing challenge for society,” says Xuezhi Zeng, who is a researcher in biomedical electromagnetics at Chalmers. The method is based on an off-the-shelf radar sensor and therefore commercial development is feasible shortly. In the short term, Zeng hopes that it can be used by the elderly at home and provide healthcare staff with objective and valuable decision-support data. She also hopes that in the future the method can facilitate clinical research on the elderly and establish more connections between a change in gait and the development of other illnesses.

Our friends at The Association of Old Crows are inviting all EMSO professionals to join them at the Cyber/Electronic Warfare Convergence 2023 Conference in Charleston, SC, June 6-8. The theme for the event is “Challenges and Benefits of Integrating Into JADC2. “Each service is working to integrate tactics, techniques, procedures, and capabilities into JADC2 to enable this force multiplier for all services and agencies,” notes AOC. “At this conference, we will advance that effort by gathering the best minds and decision-makers in their fields to discuss plans, objectives, successes, and challenges with this transformational move in strategic planning and mission execution.”

The moon could be the last refuge for radioastronomers and, for now, all is good. “But an upcoming boom in lunar exploration could put that at risk,” according to Nature. “In the next ten years or so, the Moon will be the target of hundreds of orbiters and landers, each of which could create radio noise.” This is important because, “The lunar far side has enormous potential for many fields, but it holds unique promise for cosmology. Astronomers have mapped the sky using much of the spectrum of electromagnetic waves, from microwaves to visible light and γ-rays. But cosmic radio waves at frequencies below about 100 megahertz are extremely challenging to measure from Earth, because of the planet’s noise. And anything below 30 megahertz is completely off-limits because it is absorbed in the ionosphere — the zone where Earth’s atmosphere meets space. These low-frequency waves, however, carry a treasure trove of information about the first billion years or so of the Universe’s history.”

Radio frequencies may be the key to cheap internet, according to People Daily. Citing a report – Gap Analysis Study on Spectrum Sharing-Kenya 2022 by @iLabAfricaStrathmore University (go Leos!) and Dynamic Spectrum Alliance (DSA) – People Daily writes “utilizing RF spectrum known as Spectrum Sharing (SS) or DSA is another way of boosting internet access for rural Kenya.” Currently, nearly 60% of Kenya’s population is unable to connect to the internet. “Spectrum sharing means to make more spectrum available for services whose growth is in the national interest, without upsetting too much the existing users of the spectrum. DSA ensures that such sharing is organized among users and the allocation can change in time depending on the demands of the systems that are sharing,” reads the report.

The U.S. and other western countries are trailing China in 37 of 44 tracked areas a year-long study found, according to The Guardian. The findings, based on an Australian Strategic Policy Institute report, found the U.S. was the leader in just seven technologies such as vaccines, quantum computing, and space launch systems while China leads in fields including electric batteries, hypersonics, and advanced radio-frequency communications such as 5G and 6G. “Our research reveals that China has built the foundations to position itself as the world’s leading science and technology superpower, by establishing a sometimes-stunning lead in high-impact research across the majority of critical and emerging technology domains,” the report said. “The critical technology tracker shows that, for some technologies, all of the world’s top 10 leading research institutions are based in China and are collectively generating nine times more high-impact research papers than the second-ranked country (most often the U.S.).”

Finally, do you have an idea for an IEEE MTT-S mascot? The IEEE Microwave Theory and Technology Society (MTT-S) is looking for a mascot to help showcase the society and its new name.” If you are a great artist, submit your artwork. If you are not a great artist but have a great idea, tell us about it,” writes MTT-S. “The mascot should embody what it means to be a part of the MTT-S and reflect not only the name change but our tagline ‘MHz To THz Community.’” You must be a current MTT-S member to enter and entries must be submitted by midnight Hawaii time on April 1. I’ve got dibs on MTT-S McMTT-Sface.