Dream Jobs 2010: Ronald Thomas, Engineer Versus the Volcano

Ronald Thomas tracks the weird and vivid bursts of lightning that accompany erupting volcanoes

4 min read
Photo of Ronald Thomas
Photo: Jen Judge

This profile is part of IEEE Spectrum’s Special Report on Dream Jobs 2010.

imgForce of Nature: Ronald Thomas turned a lifelong fascination with lightning into a career.Photo: Jen Judge

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Monitoring a Pregnancy at Home With a Smartphone

This wearable device provides real-time ECG monitoring of a fetus

3 min read
A smiling pregnant woman sitting on a couch and looking at her phone

This article is part of our exclusive IEEE Journal Watch series in partnership with IEEE Xplore.

Although a pregnancy is an exciting time for expecting parents, it can involve many trips to a doctor’s office to monitor the health of the fetus. Currently, the most common method for monitoring the heartbeat of a fetus is through an ultrasound test—which requires not only a visit to a doctor’s office but also the expertise of a trained technician.

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Zero-Energy Tech Heats When Cold and Cools When Hot

Dynamic device needs no power to switch between heating and cooling modes, saving energy

2 min read
A blue-gloved hand holds a grey square in front of a green plant.

Inspired by the leaves of the touch-me-not plant (Mimosa pudica), this device settles into an appropriate thermal-management mode depending on ambient temperature.

Quan Zhang

A new heat-management device senses temperature and in response changes its shape to heat up or cool down, all without using any external energy. By supplementing commercial heating and cooling technologies, the zero-energy device could cut down the year-round energy demand of building temperature control, its developers say.

Heating and cooling accounts for nearly half of global energy consumption. To bring down the greenhouse gas emissions from temperature management, researchers have recently sped up the hunt for high-performance technologies that can adjust temperatures without consuming much energy, if any.

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Get the Coursera Campus Skills Report 2022

Download the report to learn which job skills students need to build high-growth careers

1 min read

Get comprehensive insights into higher education skill trends based on data from 3.8M registered learners on Coursera, and learn clear steps you can take to ensure your institution's engineering curriculum is aligned with the needs of the current and future job market. Download the report now!