AM signals: Encryption, ADAS test, BUFF flying fossil refuses to die

Dec. 7, 2015

The New York Times has a fascinating article on the B-52, 60 years on. Writes Dave Philipps, “The B-52 is an Air Force plane that refuses to die. Originally slated for retirement generations ago, it continues to be deployed in conflict after conflict. It dropped the first hydrogen bomb in the Bikini Islands in 1956, and laser-guided bombs in Afghanistan in 2006. It has outlived its replacement. And its replacement’s replacement. And its replacement’s replacement’s replacement.” The article is accompanied with video interviews of modern B-52 crew members and support personnel, who have recently appended their notes and signatures to those left by long-ago crew members. An additional piece looks at the B-52’s evolution from top-secret marvel to flying fossil, also referred to by what the Times calls the “colorful acronym” BUFF.

Danny Yadron in a Wall Street Journal blog post takes a look at encryption and terrorism. There’s not much new here, except I hadn’t known that ISIS apparently issues guidelines on which social apps are most secure. Nevertheless, Yadron presents the issues in a clear, concise Q&A format, interspersed with videos—of Tim Cook presenting the tech industry’s position and Adm. Michael Rogers, head of the National Security Agency, making the government’s case. Some lawmakers are proposing a “Blue Ribbon” committee including experts from industry and government. That seems to suggest no resolution is coming soon.

University of Illinois roboticist Naira Hovakimyan wants to have drones perform household tasks for older and frail adults, and she has received a $1.5 million National Science Foundation grant to explore the possibility. The New York Times quotes her as saying, “I’m convinced that within 20 years drones will be the today’s cellphones.” As for outside the home, the Times quotes roboticist Rodney Brooks, former director of the MIT Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory, as saying, “Driver assistance will turn cars into elder-care robots in a very positive sense.”

Dewetron is highlighting its advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS) test capabilities. The crucial feature, the company says, is to ensure synchronization of all signal sources from two or more cars or moving objects, and certain robotic system tests require reproducibility. The company describes systems including autonomous emergency brake (AEB), adaptive cruise control (ACC), forward collision warning (FCW), and lane-support lateral control systems. Relevant tests include the Euro NCAP test for AEB and FCW tests defined by NHTSA. Visit Dewetron for more.

Keysight Technologies has released Keysight Command Expert 1.5, a productivity software application that allows fast and easy instrument control within PC application environments. This new update adds support for Microsoft Windows 10 and Microsoft Office 2016; MATLAB 2015a and 2015b; LabVIEW 2015; and Python 3.2, 3.3, and 3.4 plus 64-bit Python for all supported versions. Visit Keysight for more.

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