Smart material prototype challenges Newton's laws of motion

For more than 10 years, Guoliang Huang, the Huber and Helen Croft Chair in Engineering at the University of Missouri, has been investigating the unconventional properties of "metamaterials"—an artificial material that exhibits ...

Mushrooms and their post-rain, electrical conversations

Certain fungi play a critical role in the ecological sustenance of forest trees. Ectomycorrhizal fungi are one such example. Commonly found on pine, oak, and birch trees, ectomycorrhizal fungi form a sheath around the outside ...

Researchers design new self-powered ultraviolet photodetector

Ultraviolet (UV) light detection can revolutionize industries such as civil engineering, military defense, aerospace exploration, and medical research. The future of electronics relies heavily on energy-efficient devices ...

A new way to share secret information, using quantum mechanics

Quantum information is a powerful technology for increasing the amount of information that can be processed and communicated securely. Using quantum entanglement to securely distribute a secret quantum state among multiple ...

Calcium sensor helps us to see the stars

Using cryo-electron microscopy and mass spectrometry, researchers from PSI have deciphered the structure of an ion channel found in the eye while it interacts with the protein calmodulin—a structure that has eluded scientists ...

How space storms miscue train signals

In July 1982, train signals in Sweden misfired and erroneously turned red. The culprit, believe it or not, was a space storm that started 150 million kilometers (93 million miles) away.

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Signal (electronics)

In the fields of communications, signal processing, and in electrical engineering more generally, a signal is any time-varying or spatial-varying quantity.

In the physical world, any quantity measurable through time or over space can be taken as a signal. Within a complex society, any set of human information or machine data can also be taken as a signal. Such information or machine data (for example, the dots on a screen, the ink making up text on a paper page, or the words now flowing into the reader's mind) must all be part of systems existing in the physical world – either living or non-living.

Despite the complexity of such systems, their outputs and inputs can often be represented as simple quantities measurable through time or across space. In the latter half of the 20th century, electrical engineering itself separated into several disciplines, specializing in the design and analysis of physical signals and systems, on the one hand, and in the functional behavior and conceptual structure of the complex human and machine systems, on the other. These engineering disciplines have led the way in the design, study, and implementation of systems that take advantage of signals as simple measurable quantities in order to facilitate the transmission, storage, and manipulation of information.

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