Fiber optics were invented for medical and military imaging more than half a century ago, and are still used for imaging, light guiding, and other applications. But their major use is in telecommunications, where the invention of the laser led to the discovery of a little problem with the air. Fog, haze, and weather could block the beam, and air turbulence could divert or distort it. Bell Labs eventually turned to hollow light pipes for terrestrial communications, modeled on hollow millimeter waveguides being developed for 60 GHz microwaves.
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