Practical Application: The Uses of Fiber Optics and Their Importance

How can fiber optics be used?

†††††††††† The possibilities for fiber optics are nearly endless because they are very flexible and durable, even under extreme conditions, and the signal cannot be easily distorted. They also donít require much power and are efficient. Today, they are used mostly in telecommunications, such as in cable TV and internet.

 

How do they compare to the old-fashioned metal wires?

†††††††††† -Fiber optics are thinner and more flexible; therefore they are lighter and take up less space.

†††††††††† -They can carry more information. For example, you can get more channels on your awesome new HDTV!

†††††††††† -They use less power and are more efficient because they donít degrade as much over time.

†††††††††† -They are better suited to carrying digital signals (i.e. computer information).

†††††††††† -There is no electricity passing through them, so you wonít burn your house down.

 

Okay, thatís all well and good, but what are they doing for us besides being more effective than the old fashioned way?

†††††††††† Because fiber optics are flexible and can effectively transmit light, they can be used in digital cameras like in the medical field, such as bronchoscopes. For the same reasons, they are also used for inspecting pipes and engines, including those in cars, airplanes, and even space shuttles.

 

Awesome! Now tell me a fun fact about fiber optics.

†††††††††† If you were to make a phone call to Europe, traditionally the signal would go up to a satellite and then back down to Europe. That process can create distortion and echoes. With fiber optics, if the call is transmitted through a transatlantic fiber optic cable, there is a direct connection, so your call will be more clear!