While the term World Wide Web has come to represent having the world at our finger tips through the Internet, there is in fact a web of optical fibers that have spread world-wide. These optical cables encircle our world in its web, taking the internet to every corner of the world. Currently all internet / network traffic travels over this world wide web of optical fiber. It’s not a smooth journey for these bits of information though. During a trip around the world every bit is converted from light to electricity and back again hundreds of times.
In an effort to make life easier for the bits flying around the world scientists from the University of Southampton’s Optoelectronics Research Centre (ORC), in collaboration with Penn State University, have developed a short cut. In an outstanding example of a thinking outside of the box scientists have manufactured electronics directly into optical fibers. Creating simple circuits initially, it is hoped that this technology will eventually be able to direct traffic without having to travel through the special hardware that is currently required.