5 Things You Missed This Week at IEEE Spectrum: A Bio-Inspired Drone, ARPA-E's Energy-Saving Innovations, and More

Highlights from the week of 6 March 2017

Image: EPFL

1. This Hard-to-Destroy Drone Goes From Rigid to Flexible When It Crashes

Drone operators don’t wonder whether they’re going to crash their aircraft; it’s a matter of when, not if. With that in mind, designers are looking to nature for cues regarding how to make their drones take a licking and keep on ticking. One example is new quadrotor from the EPFL, in
Lausanne, Switzerland. It uses a flexible frame that locks in place with magnets. When a collision occurs, the frame breaks away from the magnets, and once the energy is dissipated, elastic bands pull the frame back together and it’s good to go.


2. SK Telecom Exec Talks 5G Tech, 2017 Trials

SK Telecom’s aggressive investments in 5G research may make it the first carrier to introduce the next-generation wireless networks. An executive gives hints about what 5G service will do, how it’ll work, and when SK Telecom customers can expect to see it.


3. ARPA-E: Self-Fluffing Fabrics and the World’s Coolest Paint Will Help Conserve Energy and Save You Money

Every year, the government’s home for blue-sky research projects related to the energy sector holds a big get-together in Washington, D.C., in order to show off all the latest government-funded technology innovations in its purview. This year’s big deal energy-saving inventions: fabric that autonomously adjusts its insulating ability in response to changes in temperature, so the thermostat doesn’t have to be; and paint said to be the best ever at keeping buildings cool on hot days.


4. A Guide to What Companies Will Pay Engineers Around the U.S. in 2017 

How much should employers pay U.S. electrical engineers in 2017? That’s a question recruitment firm Randstad tries to answer in its 2017 engineering salary guide, released in February. The answer? It depends on the region.


5. Single Atom Serves as World’s Smallest Magnet and Data Storage Device

Researchers have figured out a way to adjust and subsequently detect the polarity of a holmium atom, actions that let them “write” and “read” the ones and zeros of digital logic on individual atoms. The upshot: Each atom stores a single bit of data. To put this advance in context, think about it like this: With one bit per atom, it would be conceivable to store the iTunes music service’s entire library of 35 million songs on a device no bigger than a credit card.

Source: Spectrum Tech Talk 5 Things You Missed This Week at IEEE Spectrum: A Bio-Inspired Drone, ARPA-E’s Energy-Saving Innovations, and More