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Adrian Cheok: Making a Huggable Internet

An inventor builds gear to transmit touches, tastes, and more

3 min read
photo of Adrian Cheok with chicken
Photo: Adrian Cheok

Adrian David Cheok, the first person to hug a chicken via the Internet, has some advice for creative engineers trying to make their own mark on history. Rule one: Embrace your idiosyncrasies. Rule two: Get your hands dirty. Rule three: Don’t worry about the critics.

His 2005 Poultry Internet project showcased all these strategies. Cheok, then an associate professor of electrical and computer engineering at the National University of Singapore, was fascinated by the notion of transmitting not just multimedia but also sensations over the Internet. He decided to start with haptics, the technology of touch, by building a system that would let pet owners send their lonely animals a pat during a busy workday at the office.

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Asad Madni and the Life-Saving Sensor

His pivot from defense helped a tiny tuning-fork prevent SUV rollovers and plane crashes

11 min read
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Asad Madni and the Life-Saving Sensor

In 1992, Asad M. Madni sat at the helm of BEI Sensors and Controls, overseeing a product line that included a variety of sensor and inertial-navigation devices, but its customers were less varied—mainly, the aerospace and defense electronics industries.

And he had a problem.

The Cold War had ended, crashing the U.S. defense industry. And business wasn’t going to come back anytime soon. BEI needed to identify and capture new customers—and quickly.

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