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Special Reports

Despite the impressive technological strides made over the years, human lives still depend very much on the natural environment. Fortunately, technology can now be used to help address critical environmental concerns in air quality, soil condition, and weather events.
The old adage "you are what you wear" is taking on an entirely new meaning as smart watches, fitness trackers, and a rapidly expanding array of other wearable devices flood onto the market, enabling users to monitor their exercise progress, retrieve critical health data, and accomplish a wide range of other useful and informative tasks.

A new generation of exponentially more intelligent and capable robots is on the way, helped along by talented and imaginative engineers and heavy doses of signal processing. In fields spanning almost every aspect of human professional and personal life, robots are ready to perform tasks faster, better, and more efficiently than their human counterparts. Even major sports organizations are now looking into the possibility of replacing human referees and umpires with robot arbiters.

In an increasingly networked world, signal processing is leading the way to innovations that promise to raise data throughput and capacity to levels scarcely dreamed of a decade ago.

This is an age of mobility. Phones, tablets, notebook computers, smart watches, and various other devices now supply people around the world with instant communication capabilities that were only dreamed of a generation ago. Mobility technologies are also transforming medicine, helping to improve the quality of care for people at all stages of life, giving both patients and healthcare providers deeper...

The world is moving faster, and signal processing is helping to lead the way, making mobile technologies faster, safer, and more functional on land and even under the sea. At the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), engineers have created an algorithm that allows autonomous underwater vehicles (AUVs) to weigh the risks and potential rewards of exploring unknown deep-sea sites in real time. 

Signal processing has played a foundational role in the consumer electronics revolution of the past several decades. Mobile devices, smart-home technologies, digital cameras, and countless other cutting-edge products have benefited from signal processing-enabled innovations.

Speech, the expression of thoughts and feelings by articulating sounds, is an ability so taken for granted that few people bother to think about how complex and nuanced the process actually is. Yet, as more devices gain the ability to listen to and interpret what speakers are saying, speech and audiology technologies are attracting the interest of a growing number of academic researchers. Signal processing is now playing a critical role in making speech detection and recognition more accurate, flexible, and reliable for use in a wide range of research and everyday applications.

The Internet of Things (IoT ) refers to the wireless connection of ordinary objects, such as vehicles, cash machines, door locks, cameras, industrial controls, and municipal traffic systems, to the Internet. Research firm BI Intelligence predicts that 22.5 billion devices will be connected to the IoT in 2021, compared to 6.6 billion in 2016.

As the size and speed of many conventional electronics technologies begin reaching their practical limits, a growing number of researchers is turning their attention to photonics and related optical-based approaches to continue the push toward smaller, faster, cheaper, and more innovative computer and communication devices.

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