No matter which company’s gadgets we purchase, we always face some problem at some point of time. We could not claim that companies are bad at their work. But the answer to this uncertainty is possibly the interference caused by cosmic rays.
Cosmic rays are highly energetic atomic nucleus or other particle travelling through space at a speed equal to the speed of light. When these particles enter Earth’s atmosphere, they generate subatomic particles such as energetic neutrons, muons, pions and alpha particles, which fall on the surface, at the rate of millions per second.
Fortunately, these particles do not have any adverse effect on human body, but they cause damage to electronic chips, present in all electronic devices, almost everything that we like. This is experienced when our phone freezes and laptops crash down without any reason. But we think that this happens due to the manufacturer’s fault.
This process where the rays from the outer space interfere with the electronic devices present on earth is known as “a single-event upset” or “SEU.
Bharat Bhuva, professor of electrical engineering at Vanderbilt University in the US along with his team gave the presentation explaining the details. They said: “This is a really big issue, but it is generally invisible to the users.”
The problem is growing day-by-day as we are depending more on electronic devices for fitting all our sensitive data on a single chip. It is very tough to determine SEU, but many cases have been reported where these particles have caused serious damage. One of incident took place in the airplane, Qantas jet flying from Singapore to Perth, where SEU turned off the autopilot mode due to which it dove 690 feet in 23 seconds, causing harm to its passengers. In another scenario, SEU added 4,096 extra votes to a candidate in Schaerbeek, Belgium.
Still, in most of the scenario, these cases go unnoticed and manufacturers and airline companies are blamed.