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F-35 won’t provide sufficient close-air support until 2022

March 13, 2015 8:39 am | by Jason Lomberg, Digital Editor, @JasonECNMag | Blogs | Comments

Officials with the Joint Strike Fighter program recently announced that the F-35 won’t be able to utilize the military’s top close-air support bomb, the Small Diameter Bomb II (SDB II), until 2022, five years after the SDB II enters service in 2017....

Engineering Update #101: Air traffic control for drones

March 12, 2015 1:35 pm | by Jon Dipierro, Kasey Panetta, Jason Lomberg, & Janine E. Mooney | Videos | Comments

When the FAA ruled that drones had to be kept in line sight of the pilots, it put a definite damper on the UAV jubilee, but it wasn’t long before people started coming up with creative ideas to get around the draconian law. These ideas included things like a potential loophoop in onboard real time cameras ...

Virtual reality helps soldiers cope with PTSD

March 11, 2015 12:55 pm | by Jason Lomberg, Digital Editor, @JasonECNMag | Blogs | Comments

We’ve come a long way in our treatment (and understanding) of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). During WWI, a soldier exhibiting signs of PTSD — be it mental or physical trauma — was “shell-shocked.” If he was lucky, he was pulled off ...

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Solar plane takes off for historic round-the-world flight

March 9, 2015 12:33 pm | by Jason Lomberg, Digital Editor, @JasonECNMag | Blogs | Comments

The achievement will be as much human ingenuity as a technical wonder, but the Swiss-made solar-powered aircraft that took off early Monday morning will make history. Harnessing the power of the sun ...

Engineering Update #100: The world’s first 3D-printed jet engine

March 5, 2015 10:13 am | by Jon Dipierro, Kasey Panetta, Jason Lomberg, & Janine E. Mooney | Videos | Comments

To date, we’ve seen 3D-printed drones, 3D-printed model airplanes, and while major airlines like Airbus are exploring the idea of futuristic, 3D-printed passenger jets, we haven’t seen rapid prototyping applied on so large a scale — until now.

This Star Wars drone might be the coolest thing ever

March 4, 2015 12:15 pm | by Jason Lomberg, Digital Editor, @JasonECNMag | Blogs | Comments

Forget military UAVs. For my money, there’s nothing cooler than sweet DIY projects like a chocolate drone or a custom-built quadcopter that looks like a TIE Interceptor from Star Wars. The intrepid creator — who goes by the social media handle “Olivier C” ...

Could Iran achieve human spaceflight by 2016?

March 4, 2015 9:20 am | by Jason Lomberg, Digital Editor, @JasonECNMag | Blogs | Comments

From the same country that brought us the smallest “stealth fighter” of all time, a “time machine”, and a “drone” held together with duct tape comes an (overly) ambitious plan to send humans into space by 2016. Iran loves to tout its “indigenous” quasi-realistic military technology....

F-35B can’t fit full weapons load because of design flaw

March 3, 2015 12:58 pm | by Jason Lomberg, Digital Editor, @JasonECNMag | Blogs | Comments

The hits just keep on coming for the Joint Strike Fighter, the problematic 5th-gen personification of “requirements creep.” The latest blow — the most flawed version of a thoroughly flawed program can’t fit all its weapons because of a design flaw....

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F-35's helmet-mounted display system will cost a small fortune

March 2, 2015 7:47 am | by Jason Lomberg, Digital Editor, @JasonECNMag | Blogs | Comments

You’ve probably heard that the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter will cost a few shekels. But we don’t usually talk about the other money pit sucking up taxpayer dollars — the F-35’s helmet-mounted display system (HMDS), pegged at an absurd $770,000 apiece....

Could pilots fly aircraft using their minds?

February 27, 2015 8:12 am | by Jason Lomberg, Digital Editor, @JasonECNMag | Blogs | Comments

The BRAINFLIGHT project has an ambitious goal – complete control over aircraft (or a significantly reduced workload) using nothing but your mind. The team from Tekever and a collection of European researchers recently demonstrated their brain-computer interface (BCI) ...

Engineering Update #99: An exoskeleton without a power source

February 26, 2015 8:44 am | by Jon Dipierro, Kasey Panetta, Jason Lomberg, & Janine E. Mooney | Videos | Comments

Most wearable exoskeletons are heavy duty contraptions with ravenous power requirements. Lockheed Martin’s Human Universal Load Carrier, or HULC, was a battery, hydraulic-powered load carriage platform designed to carry up to 200 pounds....

Company refuses to ship milling machine for 3D-printed firearms

February 25, 2015 8:03 am | by Jason Lomberg, Digital Editor, @JasonECNMag | Blogs | Comments

Ever since Cody Wilson started toying with the idea of perfecting a completely 3D-printed gun, he’s given potential business partners – including 3D-printer manufacturers – the heebie jeebies. Some have outright refused to have their name associated with 3D-printed firearms....

This drone delivery service is less efficient than Amazon’s

February 23, 2015 8:37 am | by Jason Lomberg, Digital Editor, @JasonECNMag | Blogs | Comments

So if the FAA regulates your business from existence, the answer is to make it even less efficient? Huh? In case you haven’t heard the news (or saw the firestorm on this site), the FAA belatedly released its suggested rules for domestic drones....

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Building a perpetual-flight drone with Stanford’s UAV Club

February 19, 2015 2:59 pm | by Jason Lomberg, Digital Editor, @JasonECNMag | Blogs | Comments

Welcome to this week's edition of STEM Student of the Week. This week, Digital Editor Jason Lomberg shines the light on Stanford's UAV Club and an enthusiastic new member, Natalie Muenster. Her goal is to help create a perpetual-flight UAV as a proof-of-concept....

Engineering Update #98: The FAA’s proposed rules for commercial drones

February 19, 2015 12:10 pm | by Jon Dipierro, Multimedia Production Specialist | Videos | Comments

Domestic drones represent a potential goldmine – quite possibly the greatest business opportunity since the automobile – and a plethora of different companies have proposed various commercial applications. But one of the biggest roadblocks to any sort of mass deployment ...

Russia's new fuel allows cruise missiles to exceed Mach 5

February 19, 2015 9:51 am | by Jason Lomberg, Digital Editor, @JasonECNMag | Blogs | Comments

The Cold War may be over, but don’t tell Russia. They’ve just taken the lead in a brand new hypersonic arms race with a fuel that allows cruise missiles to fly 5x the speed of sound. The fuel would allow specially designed cruise missiles ...

FAA's proposed rules would cripple domestic drone industry

February 17, 2015 5:34 pm | by Jason Lomberg, Digital Editor, @JasonECNMag | Blogs | Comments

Domestic drones represent a potential goldmine. But the FAA's proposed rules for domestic drone operation could thwart a promising business opportunity in its infancy. The FAA's regulations would flat out kill Amazon Prime Air....

This website creates a no fly zone for drones

February 13, 2015 10:23 am | by Jason Lomberg, Digital Editor, @JasonECNMag | Blogs | Comments

Hate drones so much that you’d rather shoot them down than tolerate their presence on your property? NoFlyZone.org has a safer solution than spraying buckshot into the air. No Fly Zone, a consortium of seven drone manufacturers, allows ...

Top Navy officer: Stealth is "overrated"

February 11, 2015 11:00 am | by Jason Lomberg, Digital Editor, @JasonECNMag | Blogs | Comments

Military and civilian leaders are pulling out all the stops to promote the F-35, including tarring A-10 proponents — who speak to Congress — with charges of treason. Which makes it particularly disturbing ...

Air Force accused of cooking the books to smear the A-10

February 10, 2015 1:07 pm | by Jason Lomberg, Digital Editor, @JasonECNMag | Blogs | Comments

The A-10 has become the face of the F-35 hullabaloo, and the tumult is about to get uglier. Mere weeks after Gen. James Post warned officers that praising the A-10 to politicians amounted to “treason,” a watchdog group accused the Air Force of fudging casualty data to make ...

Chinese company limits drone flights over Washington after crash

February 10, 2015 8:02 am | by Jason Lomberg, Digital Editor, @JasonECNMag | Blogs | Comments

Apparently, FAA regulations weren’t enough. Shenzhen-based Da-Jiang Innovations (DJI), which designed the drone that crashed on White House grounds, has designed a software update that will prohibit its “Phantom” drone from flying anywhere near ...

Laptop bag lets your electronics "float" above the ground

February 9, 2015 4:24 pm | by Jason Lomberg, Digital Editor, @JasonECNMag | Blogs | Comments

One of the more intriguing items I saw at this year’s Consumer Electronics Show wasn’t some new technology or widget but something to hold those items — a backpack with a “floating pocket” to protect your sensitive electronics from harm. STM designed “The Drifter” ...

Navy's electromagnetic railgun launches projectiles up to Mach 7

February 9, 2015 9:15 am | by Jason Lomberg, Digital Editor, @JasonECNMag | Blogs | Comments

The Office of Naval Research (ONR) unveiled its electromagnetic railgun for the first time at the Naval Future Force Science & Technology EXPO last week. And with the ability to launch a hyper-velocity projectile (HVP) up to Mach 7 in less than a second, it’s a doozy....

Engineering Update #96: China's drone delivery service

February 4, 2015 4:26 pm | by Jon Dipierro, Multimedia Production Specialist | Videos | Comments

While we struggle with domestic drone regulations, China’s e-commerce giant, Alibaba, is moving forward with a similar service as Amazon’s vaunted drone delivery system. Ya know, the difference being that Alibaba isn’t mired in seemingly endless red tape and regulatory hurdles....

British Army uses old Soviet tactics with "Facebook Warriors"

February 3, 2015 8:44 am | by Jason Lomberg, Digital Editor, @JasonECNMag | Blogs | Comments

The British Army is creating a battalion of "Facebook Warriors" who will spread disinformation and propaganda through social media. Seriously, the definition of “warrior” is changing by the minute. The “Facebook Warriors” will take their cue ...

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