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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....

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....

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 ...

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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 ...

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”....

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....

Haptic device simulates the feel of breasts

June 10, 2014 8:57 am | by Jason Lomberg, Technical Editor | Blogs | Comments

Check those smirks. This doesn’t concern a certain less-than-reputable industry (banking $100 billion+ annually) or Japan’s general proclivity for weirdness. Actually, the ability to simulate the tactile sensation of soft breast tissue could have important medical applications....

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iPhone case military drop-tested and editor-approved

May 28, 2014 3:36 pm | by Jason Lomberg, Technical Editor | Blogs | Comments

Like most people, I can be a tad … careless with my baby, aka, my iPhone 4S, but I can’t imagine life without it. Amazing that I grew up without the newfangled idea of portable phones. So finding suitable protection for what can only be described as my lifeblood is a top priority....

Watch kids react to old computers

May 28, 2014 1:26 pm | by Jason Lomberg, Technical Editor | Blogs | Comments

On the order of cheesy, manipulative internet memes, watching children befuddled by legacy technology ranks just above cat videos and duckfaces. And here’s another one. And let’s face it: Kids these days are spoiled. Kids are lucky to live in such an advanced technological age....

DoD plans for the zombie apocalypse (seriously)

May 23, 2014 11:44 am | by Jason Lomberg, Technical Editor | Blogs | Comments

You probably suspected that the Department of Defense has a plan for every possible contingency, so a land war with China? Totally covered. A nuclear war with a renewed Soviet Union? Covered. But a zombie apocalypse? Not the first (or 10th) contingency that springs to mind....

Kim Jong-un rides unicorns, defeats United States military

May 19, 2014 3:25 pm | by Jason Lomberg, Technical Editor | Blogs | Comments

Political statements take many forms. Sometimes, they’re a modest sit-in, a protest, or an op-ed agitating for change. And sometimes, they’re a farcical video game starring North Korea’s “glorious leader,” Kim Jong-un, singlehandedly taking down the United States with the help of unicorns and Dennis Rodman. Seriously....

Solar-powered UAS provides “silent operation”

May 13, 2014 3:51 pm | by Jason Lomberg, Technical Editor | Blogs | Comments

Imagine a flying Prius with all the blather of a mime and you’ve got the Silent Falcon sUAS. This solar-powered small unmanned aerial system (sUAS) was one of the cooler wares on display at the Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International (AUVSI) 2014 in sunny Orlando, Florida....

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Former Air Force Major General headlines ECN IMPACT Awards

May 6, 2014 8:58 am | by Jason Lomberg, Technical Editor | Blogs | Comments

The ECN IMPACT Awards celebrate innovation across the design engineering landscape, and the awards ceremony’s keynote speaker could teach us all a lesson or two on leadership. Formerly a Major General in the United States Air Force, Steve Sargeant parlayed his impressive military career into a top leadership role with a prestigious test and measurement company....

Russian official: The US should use trampolines to get to space

April 30, 2014 9:45 am | by Jason Lomberg, Technical Editor | Blogs | Comments

Back when Russia first began “acquiring” Ukraine, NASA immediately cut all ties with the Slavic republic, except for efforts related to the International Space Station (the US relies on Russian spacecraft to get to the ISS). And now, after a fresh round of US sanctions, a Russian defense official has a helpful suggestion — the US should use trampolines to get into space....

Think tank: Russian stealth fighter is superior to the F-35

April 23, 2014 1:00 pm | by Jason Lomberg, Technical Editor | Blogs | Comments

Air Power Australia is no fan of the F-35. Let’s get that out of the way. For years, they’ve been panning the Joint Strike Fighter, praising the F-22, and warning about emerging threats from Russia and China — threats that could best the F-35 in single combat....

Astronaut pee could help get us to Mars

April 21, 2014 8:16 am | by Jason Lomberg, Technical Editor | Blogs | Comments

Stop me if you’ve heard this before: Urine, made up of more than 95% water, is one of the cleanest fluids in the human body. And on a protracted space mission lasting more than a year (one-way) — to Mars, for example — that fact becomes critically important....

Solar-powered plane can "fly forever"

April 16, 2014 8:25 am | by Jason Lomberg, Technical Editor | Blogs | Comments

Aviation pioneers Bertrand Piccard and Andre Borschberg — who previously had circumnavigated the globe in a balloon — plan to make history again with the Solar Impulse 2, which will undertake the first solar-powered flight around the world....

Military plans to use drones as flying Wi-Fi hotspots

April 11, 2014 10:38 am | by Jason Lomberg, Technical Editor | Blogs | Comments

For civilians, a dearth of Wi-Fi is a minor inconvenience. First-world problems. But for our troops in the field, a lack of connectivity can kill you. No connection means no close-air support and no reinforcements. Hence the military’s push to turn drones into mobile Wi-Fi hotspots....

Watch an engineer deal with moronic requests from marketing

April 8, 2014 10:34 am | by Jason Lomberg, Technical Editor | Blogs | Comments

This sketch provides a decent approximation of what meetings feel like for engineers — or anyone with a technical job, really — as they try to interpret the vague, confusing, and otherwise bizarre requests from non-technical people. I’m sure I’ve been guilty of this on occasion....

Samsung dupes Obama: Why “selfie advertising” needs to stop

April 4, 2014 2:05 pm | by Jason Lomberg, Technical Editor | Blogs | Comments

What do President Obama, Brad Pitt, and Jennifer Lawrence have in common? They’ve all become unwitting props in a viral Samsung advertising campaign that relies on spontaneity, selfies, and tricking people — including the most powerful man in the world — into becoming brand ambassadors....

TSA deploys drones to watch you from space

April 1, 2014 8:47 am | by Jason Lomberg, Technical Editor | Blogs | Comments

Citing the ongoing domestic terrorist threat (aka, the “most dire threat to national security since Grandma Betty at the airport”), the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) has deployed a fleet of drones with the ability to destroy dangerous contraband like baby formula and remotely monitor “shady individuals” like 10-year-olds and grandparents....

Stop the madness! Facebook’s purchase of Oculus won’t trigger Armageddon

March 31, 2014 8:56 am | by Jason Lomberg, Technical Editor | Blogs | Comments

The alternate title for this piece could’ve been “The Internet entitlement mentality” (part II), because that’s what Facebook’s acquisition of Oculus has triggered in millions of disgruntled techies and industry analysts. On Tuesday, March 25, Facebook acquired Oculus VR for approximately $2 billion....

This giant crab robot is straight out of your nightmares

March 25, 2014 10:04 am | by Jason Lomberg, Technical Editor | Blogs | Comments

Picture the most horrifying crustaceans on planet Earth (or Science Fiction), toss in some H.G. Lovecraft, and you’ve got the Crabster CR200 autonomous underwater vehicle — the creepiest robot since that female droid from Metropolis (but without the sex appeal and with a healthy dose of *%^& your pants)....

Who will win the wireless power dogfight?

March 21, 2014 10:37 am | by Jason Lomberg, Technical Editor | Blogs | Comments

It’s like Betamax and VHS. The United States and the Soviet Union. Tom and Jerry. The furious tussle between direct induction and resonant magnetic induction played out at the 2014 Applied Power and Electronics Conference (APEC). This is a desperate fight that’ll determine the future of wireless power....

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