Why Your GPS Receiver Isn’t Bigger Than a Breadbox

Bradford W. Parkinson shepherded the first GPS constellation to launch, and pushed for civilian access

11 min read
Photo of Bradford W. Parkinson.
Photo: Gregg Segal

As I drive through the vineyard-covered hills of San Luis Obispo, Calif., the tiny Global Positioning System receiver in my phone works with Google Maps to alert me to upcoming turns. The app reassures me that I'll arrive at my destination on time, in spite of a short delay for construction.

How different this trip would have been in the pre-GPS era, when the obscured road sign at one intersection would likely have sent me off track. I have a weak sense of direction, and getting lost—or worrying about getting lost—was a stressful part of my life for a long time.

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Mayo Clinic Researchers Pump Up Wearable ECG Functions With AI

Single-lead ECG can detect ventricular dysfunction

3 min read
A closeup image of a person about to touch an apple watch screen showing a health app with their finger.
Istockphoto

Mayo Clinic researchers have developed an artificial intelligence algorithm that can detect weak heart pump functioning from a single-lead electrocardiogram (ECG) on the Apple Watch. They say early results indicate it is as accurate as a medically-ordered treadmill stress test, but could be performed anywhere.

The single-lead AI algorithm was adapted from an existing algorithm that works by analyzing ventricular pumping data from a 12-lead ECG already in clinical use under an Emergency Use Authorization from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

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Engineers Are Working on a Solar Microgrid to Outlast Lunar Nights

Future lunar bases will need power for mining and astronaut survival

4 min read
A rendering of a lunar base. In the foreground are rows of solar panels and behind them are two astronauts standing in front of a glass dome with plants inside.
P. Carril/ESA

The next time humans land on the moon, they intend to stay awhile. For the Artemis program, NASA and its collaborators want to build a sustained presence on the moon, which includes setting up a base where astronauts can live and work.

One of the crucial elements for a functioning lunar base is a power supply. Sandia National Laboratories, a research and development lab that specializes in building microgrids for military bases, is teaming up with NASA to design one that will work on the moon.

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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