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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 ...   

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....

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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"....

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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.

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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....

Watch these drones fight to the death

June 30, 2014 8:04 am | by Kasey Panetta, Managing Editor | Blogs | Comments

In the world of drones, there exists an underground fight club where different UAVs go head to head trying to destroy each other. Alright, that’s a little dramatized, but the drones really do battle each other in a BattleBot-style arena. Marque Cornblatt, co-founder of the group Game of Drones, says it’s all about aerial combat and going drono a drono for victory....

Russians beat us to Holy Grail of drone pizza delivery

June 27, 2014 9:21 am | by Jason Lomberg, Technical Editor | Blogs | Comments

We won the Cold War and Space Race for this? We’ve discussed drones, the attendant privacy issues, and their commercial potential exhaustively, but a recent event serves as a cruel mockery of the freedoms we cherish. While the Federal Aviation Administration, politicians, and privacy advocates continue to squabble over domestic drone regulations ...

Too much of a useless thing

June 24, 2014 1:32 pm | by David Mantey, Editor-in-Chief | Blogs | Comments

I realize that my growing interest, and ongoing coverage, of the Internet of Things (IoT) is only exacerbating the massive attention on one of the greatest technological known unknowns, but the confusion and excitement surrounding the impending market shift provides a regular topic of conversation while on the road....

The F-35 was born of a "dumb piece of Air Force PR spin"

June 24, 2014 10:31 am | by Jason Lomberg, Technical Editor | Blogs | Comments

The F-35 doesn’t have a lot of fans these days, and one of her biggest critics is actually the co-designer of the F-16, Pierre Sprey. Calling the Joint Strike Fighter the product of “an exceptionally dumb piece of Air Force PR spin”, Sprey issues a scathing indictment of the F-35 in a viral Internet video that is gaining a ton of traction in the aerospace community....

You can borrow a drone at this library

June 23, 2014 10:01 am | by Chris Warner, Executive Editor | Blogs | Comments

The newly renovated University of South Florida library will have lots to offer students returning for the fall semester. There will be brand new furniture, a modern Smart Lab, and aerial drones to check out along with the books. No, really. In touting the school library’s recent renovations ...

Obama pets a giant, laughing robotic giraffe

June 19, 2014 9:40 am | by Kasey Panetta, Managing Editor | Blogs | Comments

While the Obama administration has been dealing with a lot of heavy topics lately, the White House also had time to push policy on innovation and creation. Part of the campaign was the White House Maker Faire, designed to celebrate “all things built-by-hand and designed-by-ingenuity.” It featured 30 projects from more than 100 students, engineers, creators and researchers from 25 different states.

This drone is made from chocolate

June 18, 2014 3:31 pm | by Jason Lomberg, Technical Editor | Blogs | Comments

Yes, someone actually built a chocolate quadcopter. And no, the DoD hasn’t investigated potential military applications (that I know of). A flying treat like this probably wouldn’t survive harsh environments (greater than 20°C) or soldiers’ stomachs, but it could redefine the “candygram”....

Can this car go 1000 mph?

June 16, 2014 3:53 pm | by Kasey Panetta, Managing Editor | Blogs | Comments

The Bloodhound SSC is a supersonic car built with the express goal of exceeding (or reaching) 1000mph. This is completely nuts.The Bloodhound is technically a car because it has four wheels and is under the full-control of a driver. It’s 44 feet long, just over 9 foot tall, and when it’s fully fueled it weighs in at a whopping 17,165 lbs.

These E Ink shelf labels could save retail

June 16, 2014 1:18 pm | by Jason Lomberg, Technical Editor | Blogs | Comments

E-commerce has many intrinsic advantages over brick-and-mortar, but the fundamental difference is similar to print vs. online journalism — the ability to make dynamic changes. One can, and one can't. Which makes electronic shelf labels — incorporating E Ink and similar technology — a paradigm shift for retail....

This is what it looks like when you play soccer in space

June 13, 2014 9:55 am | by Kasey Panetta, Managing Editor | Blogs | Comments

In recognition of the World Cup, the astronauts on the International Space Station got their own game of soccer going. Obviously, the rules and logistics are a little bit different when neither the ball nor the players are subject to the whims of gravity. The video stars U.S. astronauts Reid Wiseman and Steve Swanson and fellow German astronaut Alexander Gerst.

Down with pink: The rise of female STEM toys

June 12, 2014 3:09 pm | by Kasey Panetta, Managing Editor | Blogs | Comments

You may have noticed my habit of blogging occasionally about how gendered toys have the ability to affect children. Whether the topic is limiting the skills sets girls develop while playing or failing to introduce STEM as a career option because those are “boy’s” toys....

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