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Coral Gables’ Smart-City Strategy

IEEE senior member helps the Florida municipality serve its citizens with a mobile app

3 min read
Photograph of Coral Gables’ Community Intelligence Center, where information, visualization, BI and data analysis are gathered from multiple smart city technologies.
At the Coral Gable’s Community Intelligence Center, information from visualization and data analysis from multiple smart-city technologies is aggregated.
Photo: Chris Cowen

THE INSTITUTECoral Gables, located just outside Miami, calls itself The City Beautiful. And it’s no wonder. The city boasts tropical tree–lined streets, sparkling beaches, and Mediterranean architecture. But it’s also becoming known for something else: a smart-city success story.

One of the first planned communities in the country, Coral Gables recently unveiled its Smart City Hub. The open-data platform—which uses a combination of analytics, apps, sensors, and other technologies—provides citizens with a wealth of information and services. They can access public police records, renew a parking permit, find electric-vehicle charging stations, and report a pothole using their mobile device.

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Economics Drives Ray-Gun Resurgence

Laser weapons, cheaper by the shot, should work well against drones and cruise missiles

4 min read
In an artist’s rendering, a truck is shown with five sets of wheels—two sets for the cab, the rest for the trailer—and a box on the top of the trailer, from which a red ray is projected on an angle, upward, ending in the silhouette of an airplane, which is being destroyed

Lockheed Martin's laser packs up to 300 kilowatts—enough to fry a drone or a plane.

Lockheed Martin

The technical challenge of missile defense has been compared with that of hitting a bullet with a bullet. Then there is the still tougher economic challenge of using an expensive interceptor to kill a cheaper target—like hitting a lead bullet with a golden one.

Maybe trouble and money could be saved by shooting down such targets with a laser. Once the system was designed, built, and paid for, the cost per shot would be low. Such considerations led planners at the Pentagon to seek a solution from Lockheed Martin, which has just delivered a 300-kilowatt laser to the U.S. Army. The new weapon combines the output of a large bundle of fiber lasers of varying frequencies to form a single beam of white light. This laser has been undergoing tests in the lab, and it should see its first field trials sometime in 2023. General Atomics, a military contractor in San Diego, is also developing a laser of this power for the Army based on what’s known as the distributed-gain design, which has a single aperture.

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