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More Treasured Texts

From the 1940s to the 1980s, these books led engineers all the way to semiconductors and the Information Age

12 min read
More Treasured Texts

computing calculator

The HP 9100A computing calculator allowed users to enter programs with a magnetic program card. From Computer Structures: Readings and Examples by C. Gordon Bell and Allen Newell.

It’s a cloudy night on the Isle of Wight. The year is 1940, and a soldier sitting in an underground command center is peering intently at the glow of a cathode-ray tube. Suddenly, echo pulses appear on the screen, as they have almost every night for the past two months. Leaping for the radiophone, the soldier alerts his commanding officer. In minutes, Spitfire and Hurricane fighters are dispatched to intercept the incoming bombers over the English Channel.

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Paying Tribute to 1997 IEEE President Charles K. Alexander

The Life Fellow was a professor at Cleveland State University

4 min read
portrait of man smiling against a light background
The Alexander Family

Charles K. Alexander, 1997 IEEE president, died on 17 October at the age of 79.

The active volunteer held many high-level positions throughout the organization, including 1991–1992 IEEE Region 2 director. He was also the 1993 vice president of the IEEE United States Activities Board (now IEEE-USA).

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Robot Learns Human Trick for Not Falling Over

Humanoid limbs are useful for more than just manipulation

3 min read
A black and white humanoid robot with a malfunctioning leg supports itself with one arm against a wall

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

Humanoid robots are a lot more capable than they used to be, but for most of them, falling over is still borderline catastrophic. Understandably, the focus has been on getting humanoid robots to succeed at things as opposed to getting robots to tolerate (or recover from) failing at things, but sometimes, failure is inevitable because stuff happens that’s outside your control. Earthquakes, accidentally clumsy grad students, tornadoes, deliberately malicious grad students—the list goes on.

When humans lose their balance, the go-to strategy is a highly effective one: use whatever happens to be nearby to keep from falling over. While for humans this approach is instinctive, it’s a hard problem for robots, involving perception, semantic understanding, motion planning, and careful force control, all executed under aggressive time constraints. In a paper published earlier this year in IEEE Robotics and Automation Letters, researchers at Inria in France show some early work getting a TALOS humanoid robot to use a nearby wall to successfully keep itself from taking a tumble.

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This Gift Will Help Your Aspiring Engineer Learn Technology

Know someone that is hard to shop for? We have the perfect gift for you.

4 min read