Imagine having been the person who first switched
on the signal for a commercial TV station in 1949, and then be the one to shut if
off again 60 years later! On June 12, 2009, 99-year-old WAGA engineer
Paul Cram did just that in a ceremony
marking the FCC-mandated switchover from analog to digital broadcasting.
Paul mentions how back in the day, a B&W TV with a 7" screen
cost $1,000. BTW, does the comment made by the reporter right after the signal goes
dead strike you as odd?
It will take a little more than simply downloading an app from the
Internet for your iPhone to pull this off. Researchers at Freie University of Berlin
developed the application seen controlling a specially equipped car. I hope there
was an emergency kill switch incorporated to remove any possibility that it could
run into that cool old airplane on the other side of the hangar ...the Rest of the story.
Remember when laser
power was measured in units of "Gillette power
(GP)," when rare earth minerals like ruby were the known medium for lasing? 1 GP
was the laser power needed to cut through a Gillette razor blade. That was in a
lab environment. We've come a long way, baby. This video shows the C-130-mounted
Advanced Tactical Laser targeting a 1-ft square area on a truck hood. It burns through
the hood and the engine... from a moving platform. Wicked.
The IEEE has produced a few videos in a series
called Thank an Engineer. This one is titled "Thank an Engineer: Notebook PC." Although some of the scenes are
a little hokey, I can remember loading a CRT and CPU tower onto a cart to wheel
it over to the meeting room as part of a presentation. By the time I left the corporate
world to go independent in the spring of 2007, it had gotten to the point where
everyone at meetings had a wirelessly connected notebook. They answered e-mail,
wrote reports, ran simulations, surfed, and occasionally listened to the speaker.
In 1971, Joe Hafele and Richard Keating conducted an experiment to
test the General Theory of Relativity's prediction of time dilation, aka The
Twin Clock Paradox. They synchronized two atomic clocks with a standard and
took one on a flight in a Boeing 747 while leaving the other behind. Einstein's
equations predicted a loss of about 40 ns in the W-E direction, and a gain of about
275 ns for E-W. Measured results were within the calculated uncertainty. Here, Dr.
DonZi explains away the "paradox" part of the Twin Clock Paradox.
to the 10100 (that number is a
googol, by the way),
is "a call for ideas to change the world by helping as many people as possible."
Google has committed $10M to implementation of winning ideas, which include the
following topics: community, opportunity, energy, environment, health. education,
shelter, & everything else. Call me a skeptic, but I consider all the money,
equipment, and labor volunteered by people of their own free will and then fume
over governments telling me it is never enough. There is a lot of money being made
by legislators pandering to activists.
It is time for the Christmas video assortment.
is an eclectic mix of Trans-Siberian Orchestra,
Bing Crosby / David Bowie singing a duet, and a
addition where Jack Bauer (24) interrogates
from RF Cafe!
Many companies are creating videos to pitch
their products. This short clip from DowKey Microwave demonstrates how to use their line of switches,
filters, power dividers, etc., to easily assemble switch matrices ranging from simple
to quite complex. What I would like to see is videos showing production processes
like how a lumped element filter is assembled and tuned, how coaxial connectors
are machined, how to automate testing of amplifiers, etc. Most of those tasks do
not qualify as trade secrets, so broadcasting them is not competitive a risk. It
could be a great public relations tool.
season is nearly here again in the northern hemisphere. It will be a few years before
you are sharing the slopes with robots, but work is underway at the
Jozef Stefan Institute in
Slovenia. This little dude uses GPS receiver and USB camera feeds into a microprocessor
to navigate the slalom course set before it. Bojan Nemec first presented this at the IEEE/RSJ International
Conference on Intelligent Robots and Systems.
Beginning in humble
Tibet (even though it was produced in the U.S.)
and zooming out to the very edge of the known universe (13.7 billion light years), this
video claims to contain an accurate 3D mapping of every cataloged object, including
gas clouds. A couple years ago there was a similar animation that began at the microscopic
scale and zoomed out to the cosmic level, but it was not based on a real mapping.
another example of a video produced by an RF component manufacturer to pitch its
products. Using engineer characters that are sort of a cross between a
South Park deviant, Giga-tronics created a storyline about reliability and flexibility
in their selection of signal generation and measurement equipment. Again I suggest
videos demonstrating component production processes like assembly, measurement,
Cal Poly claims in this video to be the only university with an
chamber for testing antennas. The Electrical Engineering department developed
this facility as part of their 'Learn by Doing' philosophy that gives students
an opportunity to get hands-on exposure to test set-ups and making measurements,
as well as an ability to check theoretical predictions against measured results.
Having such experience will be a nice resume enhancement.