Karl Baker, Delaware News Journal
If a team at the University of Delaware has its way, a baseball-sized chunk of ceramic riddled with microscopic tunnels will help your car talk to stop lights and your toaster converse with electrical grids.
Their goal: Figure out how to program an inkjet 3D printer with 12,000 nozzles so its layers of liquid ceramic create a mass that resembles a microscopic waffle grid, through which signals can flow.
Designed by UD Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering Mark Mirotznik, the resulting ceramic lens, in effect, will be a series of tiny antennas designed to shoot out high-frequency beams of WiFi, radar or cellphone signals.
Finding an efficient way to control such signals — a phenomenon called beam steering — has been among the greater hurdles facing the worldwide build-out of superfast internet infrastructure, called 5G.