Soon to be adopted by your favorite U.S. airline? The U.S. Navy has patented a two-part device that uses a detector and a jammer to protect aircraft from attack by infrared homing missiles. As described in U.S. Patent No. 6873893, the device has a rotating housing and detects and tracks the incoming missile with a camera. A high-power infrared laser beamed through a fiber-optic cable to the rotating housing sends a highly energetic signal to confuse the missile.

Illustration: David Rodriguez

Microprocessors overheat more easily at lower environmental pressures. Since peripatetic laptoppers spend a lot of time on airplanes, this possibility is worth worrying about. BenQ Corp., in Taoyuan, Taiwan, has received U.S. Patent No. 6873929 for a smarter cooling system that features a fan and two thermal sensors to keep your laptop from overheating. One sensor measures the temperature of incoming air, while the other measures the temperature of air after it has passed over the microprocessor. The signals from both sensors are monitored by a microprocessor that revs up the fan if a safe temperature differential between the inlet and the outlet is not maintained, a situation that can happen as pressure drops. The concept is also intended for video projectors and other "hot" hardware.

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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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