How do you fund a bunch of researchers, given that little of their work will be readily marketable and the real breakthroughs will often benefit your competitors more than yourself?

Through the years, different funding models have come and gone. At the end of the 19th century there was what I'll call the Marconi model. Marconi was an amateur tinkerer when he invented radio. He went on to become a legendary entrepreneur, creating a number of companies to implement his invention. Benz, Birdseye, Sikorsky...a lot of innovators started companies on the Marconi model. Sadly, it doesn't work very well today. Amateurs have been outclassed, and teams have mostly replaced individuals.

Keep Reading ↓Show less

This article is for IEEE members only. Join IEEE to access our full archive.

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 →

If you're already an IEEE member, please sign in to continue reading.

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

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
Vertical
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.

Keep Reading ↓Show less
{"imageShortcodeIds":[]}