Don’t Let Innovation Languish

The world’s economy depends on innovation rates that are faster than they were for most of human history—and faster than they are today

3 min read
Don’t Let Innovation Languish

There's a theory making the rounds that technological innovation is slowing down and thus can no longer support the economic growth we've come to expect. It's not normally the sort of thing IEEE Spectrum would cover—we write about innovation rather than its absence. And indeed, as we cast about for examples of promising tech developments that will make news in 2012, the only problem we faced was in deciding which ideas not to include in the issue.

But the possibility of a tech slowdown that rattles the global economy can't be dismissed. Look, for instance, at the dearth of fundamentally new drugs coming down the development pipeline. Or consider that the speeds at which we travel are no better, and are in some cases worse, than they were in the 1960s.

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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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