Doing Well by Doing Good

Jim Fruchterman dreams of a world where kids don’t get blown up by land mines, human rights don’t get trampled, and everyone can read—and he thinks engineers can make that happen

15 min read
Doing Well by Doing Good
Photo: Joson; Styling: Danieie

img Photo: Joson; Styling: Danieie

In his aerie atop a mortgage broker and a massage therapy center on California Avenue in Palo Alto, Calif., Jim Fruchterman seems like the prototypical Silicon Valley electrical ­engineer–entrepreneur. He’s in his late 40s, with close-cropped brown hair, a white cotton dress shirt, and khaki chinos. He’s nursing a sprained thumb from too much foosball.

Keep reading... Show less

Stay ahead of the latest trends in technology. Become an IEEE member.

This article is for IEEE members only. Join the world’s largest professional organization devoted to engineering and applied sciences and get access to all of Spectrum’s articles, podcasts, and special reports. Learn more →

Membership includes:

  • Get unlimited access to IEEE Spectrum content
  • Follow your favorite topics to create a personalized feed of IEEE Spectrum content
  • Save Spectrum articles to read later
  • Network with other technology professionals
  • Establish a professional profile
  • Create a group to share and collaborate on projects
  • Discover IEEE events and activities
  • Join and participate in discussions

Engineers Are Working on a Solar Microgrid to Outlast Lunar Nights

Future lunar bases will need power for mining and astronaut survival

4 min read
A rendering of a lunar base. In the foreground are rows of solar panels and behind them are two astronauts standing in front of a glass dome with plants inside.
P. Carril/ESA

The next time humans land on the moon, they intend to stay awhile. For the Artemis program, NASA and its collaborators want to build a sustained presence on the moon, which includes setting up a base where astronauts can live and work.

One of the crucial elements for a functioning lunar base is a power supply. Sandia National Laboratories, a research and development lab that specializes in building microgrids for military bases, is teaming up with NASA to design one that will work on the moon.

Keep Reading ↓ Show less

Trilobite-Inspired Camera Boasts Huge Depth of Field

New camera relies on “metalenses” that could be fabricated using a standard CMOS foundry

3 min read
Black and white image showing different white box shapes in rows

Scanning electron microscope image of the titanium oxide nanopillars that make up the metalens. The scale is 500 nanometers (nm).

NIST

Inspired by the eyes of extinct trilobites, researchers have created a miniature camera with a record-setting depth of field—the distance over which a camera can produce sharp images in a single photo. Their new study reveals that with the aid of artificial intelligence, their device can simultaneously image objects as near as 3 centimeters and as far away as 1.7 kilometers.

Five hundred million years ago, the oceans teemed with horseshoe-crab-like trilobites. Among the most successful of all early animals, these armored invertebrates lived on Earth for roughly 270 million years before going extinct.

Keep Reading ↓ Show less

Optimize Your Lab for Hybrid Learning

Set up a hybrid teaching lab that offers professional-grade tools with seamless connectivity and productivity

1 min read

As an engineering educator, you want to enable your students with the best skillsets for success in the real-world. This means giving them hands-on experience. Now, you can empower your students to test, analyze, and share results collaboratively — whether they are in the lab or not. Download now!

See what it takes to set up a productive teaching lab that offers:

Keep Reading ↓ Show less