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The Lead

Have a safe and happy New Year!

December 23, 2014 3:30 pm | by Jon Dipierro, Multimedia Production Specialist | Videos | Comments

Your friends at ECN and Advantage Business Media would like to wish you and yours a wonderful holiday and a safe and happy New Year! We have lots to look forward to in 2015 — the second annual ECN IMPACT Awards, the very first Young Mind Awards ...

Drones afoot: It’s going to be a very unmanned 2015

December 23, 2014 11:37 am | by Jason Lomberg, Digital Editor, @JasonECNMag | Blogs | Comments

Drones, drones, and more drones. It’s going to be a very merry, very unmanned 2015. OK, and...

Engineering Update #91: Controlling a robotic arm with your thoughts

December 22, 2014 2:48 pm | by Jon Dipierro, Multimedia Production Specialist | Videos | Comments

You might remember a few years ago when scientists discovered that, by inserting an implant in...

Report: The F-35 and competitors are "equally capable"

December 16, 2014 10:04 am | by Jason Lomberg, Digital Editor, @JasonECNMag | Blogs | Comments

You may have heard that the F-35 is unpopular. To say the least. It’s also chronically over-...

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Engineering Update #90: The Army's drone airport

December 15, 2014 10:00 am | by Jon Dipierro, Multimedia Production Specialist | Videos | Comments

The Army isn’t normally associated with drones — or Unmanned Aerial Systems, as they prefer them to be called. The popular Predator and Reaper models are operated by the Air Force from Creech Air Force Base, Nevada. But the Army has a host of fully armed ...

Engineering Update #89: The newest solar power plant

December 11, 2014 10:37 am | by Jon Dipierro, Multimedia Production Specialist | Videos | Comments

The tulip concentrating solar power plant is officially opening its first commercial site in Ethiopia. This will be the third tulip site to be created. There is one in Israel and one in Spain, but the previous operations have been focused on research and ...

Bra stops sexual assault with 3,800 kilovolt electric shock

December 10, 2014 8:49 am | by Jason Lomberg, Digital Editor, @JasonECNMag | Blogs | Comments

I’ve seen numerous devices and ideas for empowering women — pepper spray, tasers, self-defense courses, firearms — but I can honestly say I’ve never seen a bra used as a weapon. Engineering students Manisha Mohan, Niladhri Basu Bal, and Rimpi Tripathi ...

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This is why you shouldn’t fly drones indoors

December 9, 2014 9:04 am | by Jason Lomberg, Digital Editor, @JasonECNMag | Blogs | Comments

Flying drones indoors is rarely a wise decision. Flying large drones indoors near innocent bystanders is asking for trouble. So when TGI Friday’s mistletoe-toting drones injured someone in a cramped restaurant in Brooklyn, well, we should’ve seen this coming....

Engineering Update #88: Lockheed Martin’s supersonic commercial aircraft

December 4, 2014 11:20 am | by Jon Dipierro, Multimedia Production Specialist | Videos | Comments

Let’s face it — we’re no longer impressed by the ability to travel from New York to Los Angeles in five hours in a cramped 737. Doesn’t two and a half hours sound much better? Lockheed Martin thinks so, too, so they’re working on an aircraft for commercial ...

Why the Navy hasn’t discovered the Holy Grail of energy independence

December 3, 2014 1:02 pm | by Jason Lomberg, Digital Editor, @JasonECNMag | Blogs | Comments

A while back, the Navy announced plans to turn seawater into fuel, thereby eliminating our dependence on fossil fuels — and despotic regimes — and discovering the Holy Grail of energy independence. And no one’s talking about it. Well ... turns out ...

Smartgun system calls for police backup in dire situations

December 2, 2014 3:55 pm | by Jason Lomberg, Digital Editor, @JasonECNMag | Blogs | Comments

Previous smartguns have focused on personalization options that restrict the weapon to authorized users or require a companion bracelet or other trinket to operate it. But Yardarm Technologies is taking a slightly different approach — a tracking module ...

Engineering Update #87: Virtual reality beach vacations

December 1, 2014 8:13 am | by Jon Dipierro, Multimedia Production Specialist | Videos | Comments

Last week, we talked about a system of targeted advertising very similar to the film Minority Report, based on the short story by Phillip K. Dick. And this time, we shine the spotlight on a famous hotel chain — rhymes with “chariot” — that’s introducing ...

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More “lady brains”: Barbie is a lousy engineer

November 24, 2014 12:11 pm | by Jason Lomberg, Digital Editor | Blogs | Comments

Let’s be honest — Barbie has never been a shining beacon of progressive thought. Her figure looks more like Jessica Rabbit than Jane Doe, and her physics-defying measurements would kill an ordinary girl. That said, her latest fictional adventure ...

Engineering Update #86: A biodegradable drone

November 20, 2014 10:10 am | by Jon Dipierro, Multimedia Production Specialist | Videos | Comments

A team of students from Stanford, brown, and Spelman college have created a biodegradable drone. The drone is made from fibrous mycelium, which is a root-like material found in fungi. The material is covered in cellulose and all the circuits are ...

Why a federal ruling could stymie the drone industry

November 19, 2014 1:18 pm | by Jason Lomberg, Digital Editor | Blogs | Comments

A new ruling from the National Transportation Safety Board is rocking the commercial drone industry to its core.The ruling states that unmanned aerial vehicles are, in fact, aircraft, which places them within the purview of the Federal Aviation Administration and ...

This maglev passenger train goes 501 km/hr

November 18, 2014 8:50 am | by Jason Lomberg, Digital Editor | Blogs | Comments

You’ve probably heard of maglev technology — or magnetic levitation — where trains float above the tracks and are propelled by magnetic fields. This solves the problems traditionally associated with “normal” trains (like inclement weather), while floating ...

Chinese stealth fighter could displace the F-35 on world stage

November 17, 2014 8:39 am | by Jason Lomberg, Digital Editor | Blogs | Comments

By the time the US military rolls out the F-35 in full, it’ll face ample 5th-gen competition – and not just a potentially superior Russian Sukhoi T-50, but two Chinese stealth fighters. In an unprecedented show of transparency, China recently showed ...

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Engineering Update #85: Close-air support in only 6 minutes

November 13, 2014 9:37 am | by Jon Dipierro, Multimedia Production Specialist | Videos | Comments

Since the early days of aerial warfare, infantry has relied on close-air support to even the odds and save their proverbial bacon. But aerial backup often takes a while to arrive — 30-60 minutes on average — and that’s where Raytheon and DARPA ...

Iran clones American UAV, completes test flight (maybe)

November 12, 2014 1:00 pm | by Jason Lomberg, Digital Editor | Blogs | Comments

Back in 2011, Iranian forces captured a U.S. RQ-170 Sentinel UAV near Kashmar before parading the drone for the world to see on Iranian TV. While the U.S. initially denied foul play, stating that it had “lost control” of a drone (not an RQ-170 ...

Wearable device punishes you for slouching

November 10, 2014 2:29 pm | by Jason Lomberg, Digital Editor | Blogs | Comments

One of the first skills they teach you in the military — if you haven’t mastered it already — is correct posture. If you slouch, a loud, angry man with a Smoky Bear hat will give you a gentle reminder to stand up straight. But even the United States Military stops short....

Windowless planes could be the future of air travel

November 5, 2014 8:06 am | by Jason Lomberg, Digital Editor | Blogs | Comments

Those who hate flying or have any sort of general anxiety need not apply. A Paris-based design company, Technicon Design, has been touting its idea of a windowless airplane, and a UK tech innovation firm wants to bring it to life within 10 years....

Army "smartsuit" would augment strength and reduce injuries

November 3, 2014 8:18 am | by Jason Lomberg, Digital Editor | Blogs | Comments

DARPA is busy developing a smart undersuit to provide troops with a host of pertinent data and create a literal Army of super-soldiers. Harvard University’s Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering is taking the lead on the biologically inspired smartsuit....

3D-printed gun includes the Declaration of Independence

October 30, 2014 8:36 am | by Jason Lomberg, Digital Editor | Blogs | Comments

3D-printed guns are the vanguard of a political movement which rejects any and all attempts at gun control. They’re as much a political statement as an engineering marvel. So if you want to speak loudly and carry a big stick, why not inscribe the Declaration of Independence on the grip?

What it’s like to fly the "world’s worst airline"

October 27, 2014 8:30 am | by Jason Lomberg, Digital Editor | Blogs | Comments

I hate flying. I’m not scared, mind you. I hate the hassle — arriving early, checking in, and trudging through the security checkpoints. So the prospect of riding the “world’s worst airline” — Air Koryo from North Korea — sounds as appealing as a hole in the head....

The thrill and challenge of aerial photography

October 23, 2014 3:57 pm | by Jason Lomberg, Digital Editor | Blogs | Comments

They’re the unsung heroes of the sky — the men and women flying alongside the studs piloting some of the most advanced aerial systems in the world. Their purpose? To take stunning aerial photography  ... though that meager description does them a disservice....

Our cups runneth over – the hoverboard is real!

October 21, 2014 4:10 pm | by Jason Lomberg, Digital Editor | Blogs | Comments

Ladies and gentlemen, the pinnacle of nerd fantasies has come true — the hoverboard is real! Next year is 2015, which means we’ve finally caught up to Back to the Future II — and its quasi-plausible vision of the future. How’d it do? Well, we don’t have flying cars....

"Big Brother" in the palm of your hand?

October 20, 2014 11:25 am | by Jason Lomberg, Digital Editor | Blogs | Comments

The new wave of implantables would combine tech like radio-frequency identification (RFID) with the convenience of ubiquitous computing. Contactless payment systems like ExxonMobile’s Speedpass or the voluminous contactless credit cards ...

Navy’s new missile features autonomous targeting

October 15, 2014 11:45 am | by Jason Lomberg, Digital Editor | Blogs | Comments

The Naval Strike Missile (NSM) doesn’t have the sexiest name, but it more than makes up for it with its range, maneuverability, and automated targeting capabilities — the NSM can autonomously target specific sections of a ship based on its silhouette....

Watch a hawk attack a quadcopter ... and win

October 13, 2014 8:58 am | by Jason Lomberg, Digital Editor | Blogs | Comments

The US military may roam the skies with impunity in foreign lands, but in domestic airspace, an altogether different Predator enjoys aerial superiority. A hobbyist discovered that first-hand when his quadcopter came under attack by a hawk....

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