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100 DESIGN007 MAGAZINE I JUNE 2021 which sends and receives data by means of a piezo transducer head. Other devices with Star Trek-like technology I helped build circuits for in the mid-1980s included the plasma opening switch for the Particle Beam Fusion Accelera- tor (PBFA) fusion power investigations at San- dia National Labs, and elements of early LED displays that were the precursors of today's flat- screen TVs—also a Star Trek technology. e artificial intelligence of voice-responsive com- puters (think Siri and Alexa) was once a pipe dream technology that now manifests itself, as well as voice recognition and translation. Circling back in time to Boeing in the late 1970s, our manufacturing technology group would be occasionally tapped to create odd interconnec- tion structures the purpose of which was both unknown and unknowable at the time, though we (or at least I) did have some fun speculating. It was an exhilarating time when we, too, were inventing processes on the fly. In summary, we owe a debt of gratitude to all the dreamers of new possibilities past, pres- ent, and future. Science fiction writers such as those who wrote for Star Trek, but also their predecessors such as Jules Verne, Isaac Asimov, Arthur C. Clark, and many others may not have had the technical skills to realize their visions, but they have inspired generations to pursue those visions. Nineteenth century Eng- lish poet Robert Browning wrote, "Ah, but a man's reach should exceed his grasp, Or what's a heaven for?" Keep reaching! FLEX007 Joe Fjelstad is founder and CEO of Verdant Electronics and an international authority and innovator in the field of electronic interconnection and packaging technologies with more than 185 patents issued or pending. To read past columns or contact Fjelstad, click here. Download your free copy of Fjelstad's book Flexible Circuit Technology, 4 th Edition, and watch his in-depth workshop series "Flexible Circuit Technology." Scientists from Heriot-Watt University have secured six-figure funding from Innovate-UK on a project led by BT to develop practical quantum key distribution (QKD) transmitter and receiver modules for short range terrestrial applications. QKD is an un-hackable, cutting edge technique for sharing encryption 'keys' between locations using a stream of encoded single photons (quan- tum bits). The project, called AIRQKD, combines BT's globally leading expertise in building quantum- secure networks using QKD with new techniques for applying quantum security to mobile devices. The Heriot-Watt team brings essential expertise of practical QKD by leading the design, testing, and construction of the QKD transmitter and receiver prototypes. The team will also support other project part- ners developing novel single-pho- ton source and detector technolo- gies for the commercial products. Dr. Ross Donaldson from Heriot-Watt University explains, "Our focus is on how to create a core to this system that will still operate in very tough con- ditions. Up to now, most quantum communication research has concentrated on the integrity of long- range signals, but this is about delivering a constant service at short distances through the broad range of weather conditions which can cause connection issues. Prof. Andrew Lord, BT's head of optical network research, said, "We are thrilled to have brought together leading UK partners from industry and academia in the AIRQKD project. This will pro- vide the essential security needed for future 5G applications such as autonomous vehicles." Other applications for the research will include connected cars, mass manufacturing and Internet of Things devices. (Source: Heriot-Watt University) Cutting the 'Key' to an Unhackable 5G Network

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