The December 2022 issue of IEEE Spectrum is here!

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Registration is now open for EVO 2.0, IEEE-USA's third and final virtual event of the year, taking place on 3 November. The free half-day conference features all-new speakers, with a continued focus on emerging technology, future perspectives, and career-enhancing tips.

SNEAK PEEK

Enjoy a fireside chat with Nichol Bradford, cofounder and executive director of the Transformative Technology Lab, an international nonprofit. The organization works to improve people's health, happiness, and potential by catalyzing new visions, opportunities, and well-being technologies. Bradford, who says she is fascinated by human potential, adds that she has always been interested in how technology can help individuals go beyond their perceived limits.

John Yaglenski, IEEE-USA's director of communications and IT, is set to host the chat with Bradford. Yaglenski also plans to host a panel that explores where technology is today, where things are headed, and the future of engineering careers. Scheduled panelists include Amy Peck, founder and CEO of EndeavorVR; Maxim Jago, filmmaker, screenwriter, and chief futurist at GameFace Labs; and James Finlay, senior director of engagement and enablement at WorkBoard.

PAST EVENTS

The first IEEE-USA EVO virtual event, EVO 1.0, focused on career development and technology trends. More than 1,000 people registered for it. The opening keynote speaker was rocket scientist Natalie Panek. She spoke about the power of perseverance, how she continued to follow her dreams despite setbacks, and how she is working on the next generation of robotics for space explorations.

Following her keynote, Panek stayed on for a fireside chat with Paige Kassalen, who helped develop the first solar-powered plane to circumnavigate the globe. Kassalen talked about her career and what lies ahead in space technology.

Then attendees tuned into a panel hosted by Yaglenski with Peck and Nikki Gordon-Bloomfield, founder of content-creation company Transport Evolved, which focuses on green transportation. They discussed artificial intelligence, autonomous cars, and other technologies.

Keynote speaker Nate Ball, Emmy-winning TV host and chief executive of Atlas Devices, wrapped up the event with a talk about innovation and inventions.

Building on the success of EVO 1.0, the professional-level EVOPro more than doubled registrations, to more than 2,000 people.

The opening keynote speaker, career coach Ashley Stahl, brought her perspective on uncovering opportunities.

Joe Grand, founder of the Grand Idea Studio, discussed computer hardware and cybersecurity.

Jago also hosted a panel on the future of technology and its impact on society, sponsored by the IEEE Computer Society. Jago and panelists Tom Conte, Forrest Shull, and Yolanda Gil explored what technology could look like in the years to come and how it might change lives. Conte is associate dean for research at Georgia Tech's College of Computing. Shull is IEEE Computer Society president. Gill is a director at the University of Southern California's Information Sciences Institute, in Los Angeles.

EVO 1.0 and EVOPro are available on demand on IEEE-USA's YouTube channel.

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Economics Drives Ray-Gun Resurgence

Laser weapons, cheaper by the shot, should work well against drones and cruise missiles

4 min read
In an artist’s rendering, a truck is shown with five sets of wheels—two sets for the cab, the rest for the trailer—and a box on the top of the trailer, from which a red ray is projected on an angle, upward, ending in the silhouette of an airplane, which is being destroyed

Lockheed Martin's laser packs up to 300 kilowatts—enough to fry a drone or a plane.

Lockheed Martin

The technical challenge of missile defense has been compared with that of hitting a bullet with a bullet. Then there is the still tougher economic challenge of using an expensive interceptor to kill a cheaper target—like hitting a lead bullet with a golden one.

Maybe trouble and money could be saved by shooting down such targets with a laser. Once the system was designed, built, and paid for, the cost per shot would be low. Such considerations led planners at the Pentagon to seek a solution from Lockheed Martin, which has just delivered a 300-kilowatt laser to the U.S. Army. The new weapon combines the output of a large bundle of fiber lasers of varying frequencies to form a single beam of white light. This laser has been undergoing tests in the lab, and it should see its first field trials sometime in 2023. General Atomics, a military contractor in San Diego, is also developing a laser of this power for the Army based on what’s known as the distributed-gain design, which has a single aperture.

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