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The one thing engineers regret about their careers

August 18, 2014 10:09 am | by Kasey Panetta, Managing Editor | Blogs | Comments

If only they knew then what they know now, who knows what would have happened? It’s a lamentable thought, but, short of the invention of some sort of time machine, the best engineers can do is offer their advice to the younger generation. It might be nice to go back and make a few changes, but considering over half of you consider engineering “your home” and made it very clear you’d do it all over again...

Navy to deploy vehicle-based laser weapon

August 14, 2014 11:45 am | by Jason Lomberg, Digital Editor | Blogs | Comments

The U.S. Navy recently awarded an $11 million contract to Raytheon to develop a vehicle-based, short-range laser weapon capable of defeating low-flying threats like enemy drones. Raytheon’s directed-energy weapon will comply with the Office of Naval Research (ONR)....

In technology we trust

August 12, 2014 3:19 pm | by David Mantey, Editor-in-Chief | Articles | Comments

Within twenty years, hands-free driving will be a reality. The prediction (at least for freeway driving), from Jim Toal, senior manager of product marketing, Vishay Optoelectronics has me in a state of skeptical excitement. While I’m ready for the day when I can hit “Home” ...

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Career advice from the ECN engineers

August 12, 2014 10:23 am | by Kasey Panetta, Managing Editor | Blogs | Comments

A few months ago, we asked our engineers (that’s you guys) a few questions about how you felt about retirement, engineering, and the future of the industry. (Check out the infographic or the Whiteboard in our August issue.) While we learned a lot from our experienced engineers (turns out most are happy with their careers), we also asked for some advice for engineers in the future.

Satisfying our power hunger

August 11, 2014 10:27 am | by David Mantey, Editor-in-Chief | Articles | Comments

Design engineers continue to push the low-power envelope, particularly in mobile devices. Low power was a common theme at Sensors Expo 2014, held for the final time at the Donald E. Stephens Convention Center in Rosemont, IL from June 24th to the 26th....

Self-assembling robot walks in minutes

August 11, 2014 9:49 am | by Kasey Panetta, Managing Editor | Blogs | Comments

There have been major advances in robotics in the past couple years as far as personification and an expansion of applications. Some robots are even being designed to carry gear in active warzones (and look creepy as hell doing it.) This tiny robot from Harvard microrobotics engineers Sam Felton and Robot Wood brings something else entirely to the table....

Why Russia’s anti-blogger law should terrify you

August 11, 2014 7:26 am | by Jason Lomberg, Digital Editor | Blogs | Comments

In case you missed it, Russia isn’t exactly copasetic with the whole “democracy” thing. Case in point: Vladimir Putin recently turned bloggers into vassals of the state. The law destroys online anonymity and makes bloggers responsible for third-party users on their sites....

Don’t let ‘selfies’ define your self-worth

August 8, 2014 9:49 am | by A.J. Watts, Editorial Intern | Blogs | Comments

Don’t get me wrong:  I like taking an occasional selfie every once in a while. Everyone likes to use their front camera when there isn’t a nearby mirror, just to check themselves out a little bit from time to time. There is absolutely nothing wrong with a selfie, but people are getting a little carried away with these DIY pictures....

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Is technology making our youth dumber?

August 8, 2014 8:09 am | by A.J. Watts, Editorial Intern | Blogs | Comments

I have little 2-3 year-old cousins that have the ability to use and comfortably navigate their way around a smart phone or a tablet. It is incredible to see how technology that takes older adults a longtime to figure out comes so natural to them. Just witnessing how much things have changed since I was younger is mind-blowing....

Is our own government turning privacy into a myth?

August 6, 2014 10:57 am | by A.J. Watts, Editorial Intern | Blogs | Comments

Even though I am in my early 20’s, I can still remember a time where there was a distinct separation between private and public information. Sadly, privacy seems to be a thing of the past in today’s technologically innovative culture. CNN reports that, “even if you power off your cell phone, the U.S. government can turn it back on....

Listen to the world’s first 3D-printed saxophone

August 6, 2014 7:26 am | by Kasey Panetta, Managing Editor | Blogs | Comments

It’s official. We can now 3D-print anything. At this point, we’ve had 3D-printed skulls, some candy, and a few odds and ends, but Olaf Diegel has created the world’s first 3D-printed saxophone. Instruments are particularly difficult to print because so much of the sound requires the perfect usage of air....

What engineers think about retirement

August 5, 2014 8:00 am | by Kasey Panetta, Managing Editor and Eileen Whitmore, Art Director | Blogs | Comments

Retirement, that Golden Age of relaxation and hard-earned rest where you get to prop up your feet on the porch and yell at the neighborhood kids to get off your lawn. ECN wanted to know what our engineers had planned for their golden years, but as it turns out most of you are pretty happy to be working.

The F-35 will cost a fortune

August 4, 2014 8:02 am | by Jason Lomberg, Digital Editor | Blogs | Comments

Captain Obvious? Is that you? I’m sure this comes as no surprise, but the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter is expensive. Very expensive. So expensive that, according to one estimate, the money spent on the program could buy every ...   

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New apps smooth out your nighttime smartphone addiction

July 31, 2014 10:02 am | by A.J. Watts, Editorial Intern | News | Comments

My smartphone and I have built up a pretty special bond. I’m an Apple junkie, myself, but I understand why people love their “crackberries” – my iPhone almost feels like a part of me. That being said, a smartphone can also make it impossible to fall asleep sometimes....

This first-aid kit is a must-have

July 31, 2014 8:55 am | by Kasey Panetta, Managing Editor | Blogs | Comments

The Clever Medkit is a first-aid kit to end all first-aid kits. This over-the-top technologically advanced kit is technically designed for businesses, but I would consider this for a home purchase because I am a germaphobe and hypochondriac. (Yesterday, I used a Lysol wipe on my pens.) So, let’s walk through the process of injuring yourself and using this bad boy.

This helmet lets fighter pilots ditch their night vision goggles

July 28, 2014 9:41 am | by Chris Warner, Executive Editor | Blogs | Comments

Military jobs are synonymous with stress, but one of the most stressful jobs even by military standards is that of the jet fighter pilot. Not only are they required to process a lot of operational information very quickly, they must do it while wearing headgear that can strain the head and neck the faster the plane flies....

This Army helicopter can fit in your pocket

July 25, 2014 8:36 am | by Jason Lomberg, Digital Editor | Blogs | Comments

It weighs 16 g, can fly for up to 20 minutes, and fits in the palm of your hand. It’s the Prox Dynamics PD-100 Black Hornet, a mini helicopter which uses embedded cameras and a digital data link to provide real-time video for ground troops. Information is king on the battlefield....

This is what a fireball in space looks like

July 23, 2014 9:22 am | by Kasey Panetta, Managing Editor | Blogs | Comments

This mission on the International Space Station has been full of social media adventures, including the very first Space Vine! (Full disclosue: I coined the term Space Vine! and you probably won't see it anywhere else.)  Reid Wiseman is an American astronaut and naval aviator currently serving on Expedition 41 in the ISS....

Please don't 3D print me when I'm dead

July 23, 2014 8:49 am | by David Mantey, Editor-in-Chief | Blogs | Comments

When I die, please don’t grow pieces of me. Whether the practice is in the name of science, art, or engineering, after I’ve been harvested of all viable organs in my remaining vessel, do not reconstruct and 3D print any body part to be kept alive inside a case of "nourishing liquid"....

Why this remote-controlled birth control will be the next big thing

July 22, 2014 9:49 am | by Kasey Panetta, Managing Editor | Blogs | Comments

In the midst of the Hobby Lobby court case decision and other conversations about birth control, there has been an announcement about an advancement in contraceptive technology. This is a pretty unique technology that would allow the woman to turn the device on or off, depending on if she was looking to have a child or not....

Could robots reduce human rights violations?

July 22, 2014 9:27 am | by Jason Lomberg, Digital Editor | Blogs | Comments

Could automation actually help reduce reputed human rights violations? If Foxconn — one of the most infamous manufacturers of consumer electronics — succeeds in deploying its “Foxbots”, one of the biggest controversies in the tech world could disappear overnight....

Deployable renewable energy systems power critical equipment on the battlefield

July 14, 2014 4:31 pm | by Chris Warner, Executive Editor | Articles | Comments

The United States Department of Defense (DoD) is the largest consumer of energy in the United States. Much of that energy is consumed in harsh environments to power tanks, armored vehicles, fighter jets, generators, small hospitals, command outposts and operations centers out in the field. All of these applications are critical....

The first guided .50-caliber bullets

July 14, 2014 2:46 pm | by Jason Lomberg, Digital Editor | Blogs | Comments

Snipers have to take numerous factors into account, including the terrain, weather, wind-resistance, and over long distances, even the curvature of the Earth — at 1,000 yards, the Coreolis Effect will alter a bullet’s trajectory by about .5 moa (Minute of angle). But until now, we haven’t been able to intentionally alter the course of a bullet....

Kasey's Korner: This material could change solar cell history

July 8, 2014 8:49 am | by Jon Dipierro, Multimedia Production Specialist | Videos | Comments

While solar cells offer a great opportunity for alternative energy, they also contain cadmium chloride, which is a toxic substance. Unfortunately, it’s also a necessary substance that greatly improves solar efficiency in the panel materials allowing for a conversion efficiency of over 15 percent.

The Grim Reaper flies ... with help from a drone

July 7, 2014 10:54 am | by Jason Lomberg, Digital Editor | Blogs | Comments

You may have seen the viral video making its rounds — the mythical entity otherwise known as the Grim Reaper, the personification of Death, flies around, scaring the s*** out of unwitting bystanders. Is the Apocalypse nigh at hand? Is the Angel of Death here to claim human souls? Well, not quite....

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