Special Coverage


Secure Software Flashing

More and more devices in our modern world come with a multitude and variety of embedded systems. An obvious example of this trend is today’s vehicles, which have dozens of electronic control units (ECUs) that control everything from the air conditioning and electric windows to the engine and brake system. Several ECUs allow downloading of updated program and data code via a boot loader. Such software might be a control unit firmware update for fixing bugs, for improving features, or for downloading data such as additional multimedia files. The first case is also called a software download or simply flashing (since flash memory is updated). The download might be performed directly over a diagnostic channel or another available communication channel such as Bluetooth and GSM.

Posted in: Articles, Articles


Cloud Computing: What Are the Networking Implications?

The growth of data centers and the concept of infrastructure as a service is leading to significant focus on cloud computing architectures. Pundits have proclaimed cloud computing as the ultimate merger of information technology with communication. The promise of cloud computing is immense — it aims to create a virtual world of applications, giving the user an unparalleled computational power using a simple front-end and a decently fast broadband connection.

Posted in: Articles, Articles


NASA Energy Concept Could Harness the Power of Ocean Waves

NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) researchers who developed a new way to power robotic underwater vehicles believe a spin-off technology could help convert ocean energy into electrical energy on a much larger scale. The researchers hope that clean, renewable energy produced from the motion of the ocean and rivers could potentially meet an important part of the world’s demand for electricity.

Posted in: Features, Articles, Hydroelectric Power, Renewable Energy


Designing the First Fully Sustainable Block in the U.S.

In the near future, a crumbling parking lot in downtown Dallas, Texas will be the location of the first fully sustainable, urban square block in the United States. Re:Vision Dallas is the sixth competition in a series from the San Francisco, California-based organization, Urban Re:Vision – a group of people focused on changing the urban landscape by re-imagining the components which make up a city block.

Posted in: Building Technologies, Features, Articles, Geothermal Power, Renewable Energy, Solar Power, Wind Power, Remediation Technologies


NASA Study Shows How Oil Production Impacts Climate

When and how global oil production will peak has been debated, making it difficult to anticipate emissions from the burning of fuel and to precisely estimate its impact on the climate. To better understand how emissions might change in the future, Pushker Kharecha and James Hansen of NASA’s Goddard In stitute for Space Studies in New York considered a wide range of fossil fuel consumption scenarios.

Posted in: Climate, Features, Articles


Lithium-Ion Batteries Fuel the Future of Automotive Design

In 1924, General Motors president Alfred P. Sloan Jr. devised annual model-year design changes in order to maintain unit sales. Body shapes faced cosmetic changes every year, whether or not the underlying automobile had changed. This breakthrough strategy had widespread effects on the automobile business, automotive design, and eventually the United States economy. In recent years, amongst a worsening economy and a struggling auto industry, the underlying automobile has changed rapidly, with emphases on efficiency and environmental friendliness.

Posted in: Features, Articles, Batteries


"Create the Future" Sustainable Technologies Category Winner

The 2008 NASA Tech Briefs "Create the Future Design Contest," presented by SolidWorks, recognized innovation in product design in six categories: Consumer Products, Machinery & Equipment, Medical, Safety & Security, Sustainable Technologies, and Transportation. Here is the winner of the Sustainable Technologies category, along with the two honorable mentions.

Posted in: Features, Articles, Energy Efficiency, Renewable Energy, Wind Power