I think that reports of the death of copper are greatly exaggerated. As an engineer working to validate 10GBase-KR backplane channels running over 30 inches of copper PCB laminate and two board to backplane connectors, I am writing to report that copper backplanes are still alive and well in 2010. This copper versus optical debate reminds me a bit of the semiconductor's optical lithography versus e-beam lithography debate. Design engineers have this habit of overcoming one obstacle after another and continuing to squeeze more performance out of systems than anyone expected. The IEEE 802.3ba committee and the OIF-CEI-25 committees both working on 25Gbps copper channels haven't thrown in their towels yet either.
Drones are, in essence, flying autonomous vehicles. Pros and cons surrounding drones today might well foreshadow the debate over the development of self-driving cars. In the context of a strongly regulated aviation industry, "self-flying" drones pose a fresh challenge. How safe is it to fly drones in different environments? Should drones be required for visual line of sight – as are piloted airplanes? Join EE Times' Junko Yoshida as she moderates a panel of drone experts.