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Living in the Future: 3D Digital Archaeology, Community-Fiber Cable & Phasers

This week on We are Living in the future: Archaeologists use 3D imaging and printing to reconstruct priceless artifacts, an area of rural Britain installs Fiber cable themselves, and scientists design a “phaser” which uses sound waves instead of light waves.

One of the challenges of Archaeology has traditionally been that in order to access ancient artifacts, one must dig through layers that disturbs the placement of those artifacts, losing valuable data in the process. Today, using underground sensing technology, 3D models can be developed of archaeological sites… and of specific artifacts. Using 3D imaging along with 3D printing, archaeologists have recreated the shape of ancient artifacts long thought unretrievable, offering greater insight – and doing so without touching the fragile artifacts themselves.

Tired of waiting for fiberoptic cable to reach your community? So were rural farmers in the UK, who were frustrated time and time again by company’s lack of desire to bring high-speed internet to them. So instead, they banded together and bought the cable, digging the trenches across their own land, and saved a great deal of money in the process. The network ended up costing about $1,500, not including the physical labor, and the community offers Gigabit internet speeds for less than $50 a month. Other communities in Britain and the US are looking carefully at this model of Community Supported Internet – possibly the first steps to reducing the stranglehold of ISPs over who gets high-speed internet service, and when.

Scientists in Japan have designed a device that organizes soundwaves into coherent waveforms – doing with sound what Lasers do with light. Playing off of sciencefiction terminology, they’ve chosen the name “phaser” for this device, as it forces coherency across “phonons” instead of “photons”. Because of the limitations of sound, the phaser works within one medium at a time – which offers possible uses of the technology as a measuring device. Phasers have been developed before, but usually by bootstrapping sound to a laser – this device is the first to use sound alone. This first design runs at 170 KHz, well above human hearing, but it is possible that it might be designed later to ultrasound frequencies for efficient medical imaging. Just as lasers were invented before uses for them – other uses for the phaser will come as time passes.