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The Design and Engineering of Superheroes

Behind every man in tights stands an engineer

3 min read

Superheroes and scientists go way back in the comic-book business. Surely that tech association has helped the medium spread so far beyond the printed page. Today comics are a billion-dollar business encompassing movie blockbusters like Watchmen and The Dark Knight and TV’s Heroes, complete with merchandising, publishing, and conventions like the one next month in San Diego presented by Comic-Con International, which boasts an engineer on its board of directors.

”There’s been a long history of engineers and scientists creating all those gadgets that superheroes use, or use to become superheroes themselves or high-tech villains,” notes famed comic illustrator Bill Sienkiewicz. ”And by the mid-1970s you started seeing descriptions of how the gadgets worked and their viability in real life.”

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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
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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