Imagine using unattended ground sensors to provide continuous weather reports and surveillance of critical targets in enemy areas. The Defense Department thinks the idea is sound enough to pursue. The agency includes it among nine projects it will fund this fiscal year under its Advanced Concept Technology Demonstration (ACTD) program. The other projects are: a networked early warning system for biological threats, a method for detecting coordinated attacks on computer networks, a "joint continuous strike environment" using combined suites of weapons on targets, a system for moving weapons and other materiel from ship to shore in heavy seas, an interface between major tactical data links on the ground and in the air, an advanced forward looking infrared system for precise target location and identification, a markedly improved capability for precise counterfire at the battle-theater level, and a line-of-sight system for high-speed destruction of many tanks at once.
The engineers and inventors of the post WWII period turned their attention to advancements in electronics, communication, and entertainment. Breakthrough inventions range from LEGOs and computer gaming to the integrated circuit and Ethernet -- a range of advancements that have little in common except they changed our lives.
Neil Fromer is the executive director of the Resnick Institute, a program for energy and sustainability at the California Institute of Technology, working to develop new ideas and research technologies related to providing a sustainable future. He spoke to us about the severity of the current drought in California and how solar energy can help prevent such situations in the future.
Focus on Fundamentals consists of 45-minute on-line classes that cover a host of technologies. You learn without leaving the comfort of your desk. All classes are taught by subject-matter experts and all are archived. So if you can't attend live, attend at your convenience.