AI/Fiber-Optic Combo Poised To Improve Telecommunications

September 7, 2023 | NEC Labs America | News | Tags: fiber-optics, AI

Distributed fiber optics sense everything everywhere all at once. Paired with artificial intelligence and machine learning, it can act as an interface between the physical and digital worlds. Existing underground fiber-optic telecommunications cable networks that can be accessed through street manholes are helping a team at NEC Labs America improve wireless communications systems and the Internet of Things (IoT).

“Hundreds of millions of fiber-optic cables are already there for communications purposes,” says Shaobo Han, a researcher at NEC Labs America who focuses on the design and development of machine learning and signal-processing techniques for real-world sensing applications. “We’re turning it all into a ‘thinking’ device, using the same cable that’s already there.”

AI Fiber Optic Combo Poised To Improve Telecommunications

Using the existing cable networks, Han’s team can monitor and track the path of almost any object above ground without installing additional sensors or connecting to wireless networks. The fiber sensing system provides optical as well as acoustic information by using thin-film optoelectronics as an integrator that sends out optical power from lasers to the optical fiber. By analyzing its scattering, information about physical parameters such as acoustical aberration and temperatures can be found.

The story was based on a technical paper in Optica on Ambient Noise-Based Weakly Supervised Manhole Localization Methods Over Deployed Fiber Optic Networks.

Check out the full article in Laser Focus World which provides additional details on practical use cases for this technology, including tracking the movements of objects on city streets.

Read More Blog Posts

Summer Intern 2024

Apply for a Summer 2024 Internship

Our exciting internship opportunities for this Summer 2024 are now available. We are looking for students pursuing advanced degrees in Computer Science and Electrical Engineering. Internships are typically 3 months long in duration. The benefits of working for us include the opportunity to quickly become part of a project team applying cutting-edge technology to industry-leading concepts. We have opportunities in Data Science & System Security, Integrated Systems, Machine Learning, and Optical Networking & Sensing.
Unearthing Nature's Orchestra How Fiber Optic Cables Can Hear Cicada Secrets

Unearthing Nature’s Orchestra – How Fiber Optic Cables Can Hear Cicada Secrets

Our Sarper Ozharar, Yue Tian and Yangmin Ding and Jessica L. Ware from the American Museum of Natural History have discovered that fiber optic cables equipped with distributed acoustic sensing (DAS) can pick up the sounds of Brood X cicadas. DAS technology, typically used to monitor seismic activity, can detect the vibrations caused by the loud sounds of cicadas, which live underground for years until they come up to mate.