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The Lead

Should we retire the A-10 Warthog?

September 17, 2014 2:44 pm | by Jason Lomberg, Digital Editor | Blogs | Comments

The short answer is "no," we shouldn’t. But the ongoing efforts to scuttle the A-10 in favor of the F-35 expose a sick culture in Washington that’s divorced from fiscal and military realities. The F-35 Joint Strike Fighter will form, to quote Lt. General ...

A new sensor development could aid those suffering from Alzheimer’s

September 17, 2014 9:23 am | by A.J. Watts, Editorial Intern | Blogs | Comments

SmartThings is a DIY home automation system that connects sensors and smart devices with a...

This V2V technology could change driving forever

September 15, 2014 3:59 pm | by Kasey Panetta, Managing Editor | Blogs | Comments

The average American has a 25.4 minute commute to work. That doesn’t seem too bad until you...

ECN Time Warp: December 2002

September 15, 2014 8:33 am | by Chris Warner, Executive Editor | Blogs | Comments

Some old covers of ECN Magazine have been making the rounds, and we thought it would be fun to...

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Why I’m not buying the Apple Watch (my beef with redundant functionality)

September 12, 2014 3:37 pm | by Jason Lomberg, Digital Editor | Blogs | Comments

The Apple Watch is redundant functionality, kitschy, overpriced, and everyone will buy it. Seriously, I could marshal a wealth of facts and present a detailed analysis (and I will) of the watch’s functionality, but a broad swath of consumers ...

Why I'll be buying an Apple Watch

September 12, 2014 8:13 am | by Kasey Panetta, Managing Editor | Blogs | Comments

Technologically-advanced watches are a hard sell on a few levels. They’re generally poorly designed aesthetically and functionally, they’re way too expensive, they don’t look good on the wrist, and they don’t really do anything. I was all prepared to hate the Apple watch....

Technological changes in the next five years

September 11, 2014 8:51 am | by David Mantey, Editor-in-Chief | Articles | Comments

For the last five years, I’ve had the pleasure of traveling to Austin, TX at the peak of southern summer heat for the engineering geek fest that is National Instruments’ (NI) global conference on graphical system design, or NIWeek. More than 3,200 ...

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Google Glass could detect, diagnose emotion

September 8, 2014 3:40 pm | by Jason Lomberg, Digital Editor | Blogs | Comments

Well, there you go. Google Glass is more than just an ostentatious gadget for filming things, augmented reality, and generally freaking everyone out within a 50-yard radius. Actually, medical applications like BioGlass could finally move this $1,500 widget....

ECN Time Warp: May 1999

September 8, 2014 12:18 pm | by Chris Warner, Executive Editor | Blogs | Comments

Some old covers of ECN Magazine have been making the rounds, and we thought it would be fun to have a look back at ECN covers through the years. This week’s cover goes back to May 1999. That month, a major change in the way we communicate was born with the announcement of Bluetooth 1.0....

Could the new iPhone kill credit cards for good?

September 8, 2014 8:10 am | by A.J. Watts, Editorial Intern | Blogs | Comments

Experts are predicting that the highly anticipated iPhone 6 will include an internal NFC chip that will make the device scannable at checkout counters everywhere. The idea of no longer fishing through your wallet or sorting through ...  

Radar systems of the future

September 5, 2014 1:19 pm | by Chris Warner, Executive Editor | Articles | Comments

The United States Navy is generally regarded as invulnerable to defeat at sea thanks to its formidable fleet and electronic warfare capabilities. Still, one enemy tactic that can potentially make some high-value targets such as aircraft carriers vulnerable is a barrage of incoming missiles....

This is what happens when drone videos go terribly wrong

September 4, 2014 8:10 am | by Kasey Panetta, Managing Editor | Blogs | Comments

Drones are, in some respects, the future. They're pretty helpful in the military, for discouraging poaching, search and rescue missions, delivering things and even some prototyping. On the other hand, when used in an annoying manner, drones can be a perfect example of why the luddites have it right....

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Why "killer robots" are nothing to worry about

September 3, 2014 1:32 pm | by Jason Lomberg, Digital Editor | Blogs | Comments

It seems like every new development in artificial intelligence and autonomous systems dredges up the same tired (and slightly paranoid) fears of “killer robots” run amok — the product of a steady diet of dystopian literature and Hollywood blockbusters starring a certain Austrian bodybuilder....

Infographic: Where are all the women in STEM?

September 3, 2014 8:00 am | by Kasey Panetta, Managing Editor and Eileen Whitmore, Art Director | Blogs | Comments

When it comes to women in STEM (science, technology, engineering, mathethmatics) the numbers just don’t add up. Even though the number of women majoring in STEM (and attending college) has increased in the past few decades, the number of women who actually enter the fields has barely increased at all....

ECN Time Warp: March 1997

September 2, 2014 8:40 am | by Chris Warner, Executive Editor | Blogs | Comments

Some old ECN Magazine covers have been making the rounds, and we thought it would be fun to have a look back at ECN covers through the years. This week’s cover goes back to March 1997. Around the time this issue went to the printer, we learned that ...

Fly in the cockpit of the Blue Angels

September 2, 2014 8:35 am | by Kasey Panetta, Managing Editor | Blogs | Comments

The Blue Angels are basically the cream of the crop of stunt pilots from the US Navy and Marine Corps. They are an exhibition team that participate in airshows all over the place and showcase the intense skills required to fly a jet. There are a total of 16 officers on the team at any time with three tactical jet pilots...

When blinding someone with a laser is better than killing them

August 27, 2014 2:57 pm | by Jason Lomberg, Digital Editor | Blogs | Comments

Sometimes, it’s better to shine a bright light in someone’s face than riddle them with bullets (shocking, I know). And for troops in a warzone following very specific Escalation of Force (EOF) procedures, not killing someone is always the best possible outcome....

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This is what it's like to be in the cockpit of an F-16

August 27, 2014 8:29 am | by Kasey Panetta, Managing Editor | Blogs | Comments

The title says it all here, but this is ridiculous. The video was taken from the cockpit of a Royal Danish Air Force F-16 as it was flying, quite low, over an ice sheet in Greenland.  There isn't too much information available, but after take off (hold on to your stomach) you'll first see the ice rim (located east of Kangerlussuaq, Greenland)....

Traffic lights are insanely easy to hack into

August 25, 2014 8:40 am | by A.J. Watts, Editorial Intern | Blogs | Comments

Have you ever sat at a traffic light that takes forever to change, and wish you could just change it yourself? Certain disreputable parties might have the ability to do that. Researchers say, “anyone with a radio hooked up to a laptop can ...

ECN Time Warp: April 1994

August 22, 2014 9:43 am | by Chris Warner, Executive Editor | Blogs | Comments

Prior to the Web, news delivery was not so instantaneous. New product news was delivered each month to our engineering audience through ECN’s print edition. Some old covers of ECN Magazine have been making the rounds, and we thought it would be fun to have a look back at ECN covers through the years....

Experts: 90% of medical records are vulnerable to hackers

August 21, 2014 10:47 am | by A.J. Watts, Editorial Intern | Blogs | Comments

Many tech-savvy people take major precautions to guard themselves against hackers by encrypting their personal data and protecting their Wi-Fi at home. Sadly, hospitals and clinics haven’t taken those same precautions and are under attack by data breaches and hacking. They are being hit harder than any other industry, even more than the banking and military industries combined....

This is what a solar-powered sailboat would look like

August 21, 2014 8:43 am | by Kasey Panetta, Managing Editor | Blogs | Comments

Just when you think designers can’t design anything you’ll enjoy more than a 3D-printed violin, they came up with a solar-powered sailboat. The Kira Sail Yacht is designed to “bridge the gap between the sail and motor yacht” and it is gorgeous....

UAV and F/A-18 land on carrier together

August 20, 2014 12:01 pm | by Jason Lomberg, Digital Editor | Blogs | Comments

While unmanned aerial vehicles won’t replace the manned variety anytime soon, UAVs could operate alongside conventional air power in the very near future. Case in point: The Navy recently executed a carrier landing with the F/A-18 and the X-47B unmanned combat air vehicle....

Mini-camera separates suicide bombers from citizens

August 19, 2014 10:45 am | by Kasey Panetta, Managing Editor | Blogs | Comments

If you're ever in China for business (or vacation), you had better hope that you don't have a particularly stressful day because new technology might flag you as a suicide bomber. Security fears and attacks in public places have Chinese authorities turning to less traditional means of detecting potential killers before they act....

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” ...

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....

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