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Emerald Group Publishing Limited
Copyright © 2000, MCB UP Limited
Keywords: Automation, Cybernetics, Research, Technological developments
The requirement that computer systems communicate with each other at greatly increased speeds is becoming one that is taxing researchers worldwide. As a result of this demand four of the world's major "telecom companies" are investing some C$20 million (£9 million) to develop new technologies that, they hope, will enable computers to communicate with each other at what they describe as "previously unheard of speeds". The Canadian semiconductor company Hyberchip is to receive this investment to carry out this ambitious project.
The telecom companies: Lucent, Cisco, Nortel and Juniper are to supply the investment capital and they are combining to assist Hyperchip to produce switches that will be capable of transferring data at 1,280 trillion bits per second. Readers will recall that current domestic telephone lines carry data at 28,000 bits per second. The need for such increased speeds is now quite apparent as the world's industrial and commercial concerns concentrate their communications systems on e-commerce operations.
In the UK an innovative "electronic eye" is being used in a number of applications. The most unusual appears to be its use by the horseback division of Cleveland's Police Force. The electronic eye is a system called Argus Rego, which is a tiny camera that can store information onto digital tapes. In the Cleveland application the Argus Rego becomes a helmet mounted video camera. It is claimed to be barely visible and has a centrally placed lens and a high resolution digital tape system. The tapes are capable of recording 90 minutes of continuous footage. The police believe that it is particularly suitable for use in football or other crowds and, of course, in large disturbances. The police force claim it is the first force in the world to fit officers with such a system. Recordings from the "eye" are, they say, admissible as evidence.