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Light Speed
Today, we can send messages instantly to just about anyone, anywhere on the globe. "Light Speed" tells the story of fiber optics -- the intricate system of glass and light that carries enormous amounts of information around the world -- and traces the history of communications from telegraph to telephone to the discovery of lasers used in today's high-tech systems. Find out more about this episode or get the video.
Special Report
Photo of a patient undergoing telesurgery
Remote Surgery
How Canadian surgeons operate over the Internet
A patient is prepped for surgery, but one critical person is missing -- the surgeon. In fact, he's not even in the same hospital, or on the same continent! He's performing surgery from thousands of miles away in a room with dimmed lights, multiple television monitors, a surgical console, and a computer that connects him via a high-speed fiber-optic link to robotic arms in the operating room. It's called telesurgery -- a technology with far-reaching implications.

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At left, new technology in the operating room brings remote surgeons to their patients' bedsides.


Tom Standage, technology editor at The Economist and series producer Jared Lipworth discuss the impact of fiber optics on long distance communications.

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The Explosive Growth of Fiber Optics The Explosive Growth of Fiber Optics
Photo of copper cables compared to fiber optics - Click for video Video Clip

Tiny glass fibers light a revolution of sight and sound.

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Though long distance surgery is not yet approved by the FDA, few critics argue with its potential for serving remote populations.
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