What do wearable technology, robotics, computer tablets and unmanned aerial vehicles all have in common? Here are some hints: George and Jane Jetson, Mr. Spock and Captain Kirk. If you guessed “The Jetsons” and “Star Trek,” you’re no doubt a sci-fi guru who knows their stuff. But were you aware of how these iconic television shows inspired some of today’s most popular technological innovations?

This month, Vaughn College is taking a fun look back on how the cool gadgets and gizmos used in these shows from the 1960s—and beyond—went from futuristic technologies to current day realities.

The Jetsons

Today’s generation may not be familiar with “The Jetsons,” but they are more than likely familiar with some of the cool technology that was adapted from this animated comic sitcom that premiered in 1962. To get you caught up, the Jetsons were a middle-class family who lived in the future. George and Jane Jetson had two children—Judy and Elroy—and a robot maid named Rosie and their beloved dog, Astro. Here is a flashback to “The Jetsons” and how this show proved to be ahead of its time by predicting some of our everyday technology:

  • Skype, Zoom and FaceTime—When characters on the show made a phone call, they would see the person they were calling on a television screen. Who ever thought back then that we could have face-to-face chats via Skype, Zoom and FaceTime?
  • Roomba—Rosie the robot maid was way ahead of her time. Let’s face it. Who wouldn’t want a robot maid? Rosie cleaned the house by gliding across the floor on wheels, much like the way the Roomba is designed. Today, the Roomba is literally making sweeping strides in today’s market, as this autonomous robotic vacuum cleaner can clean multiple rooms, detect obstacles and sense steep drops. (Sorry, it doesn’t do windows!)
  • Unmanned Aerial Vehicles—Jane and Elroy didn’t have to worry about missing the school bus. They flew to school in their own personal pods!
  • 3D Printed Food—Cooking was easy for the Jetson family. (No slaving over the stove for Jane.) Their favorite foods were just a touch-of-a-button away. Did you know some of today’s 3D printers allow you to “print” food, too!

  • Smart Watches—Can you believe the Jetsons used watches that incorporated video? Just like our smart watches of today, we can watch videos and do other cool things, such as answer phone calls, send text messages and track fitness goals, among so many other tasks!
  • Capsule Endoscopy—This one will really blow your mind. On one episode, George’s doctor had him swallow a camera as part of his physical exam. Today, doctors use a procedure called “capsule endoscopy,” where the patient swallows a pill-sized camera. This camera travels down the patient’s digestive track and takes thousands of pictures and transmits them to a recorder. Talk about being ahead of the times!
  • Doggie Treadmill—We can’t forget about Astro. After all, they say a dog is a man’s best friend. George Jetson kept his Astro in shape by having him take a walk on the treadmill. Today, we have treadmills to help keep our dogs healthy and fit.

Star Trek

“Trekkies” (which is the nickname for die-hard “Star Trek” fans, just in case you were wondering) will be the first ones to tell you of how the “Star Trek” franchise has inspired some of the most innovative and widely-used technology today. We may not be at the “beam me up, Scotty” phase at the moment—but one never knows, as technology is surprising us at every turn. Here are some amazing similarities to the gadgets used on the starship U.S.S. Enterprise when compared to what we are using here on Earth today.

  • Voice Translators—We may not have the need to translate Klingon (or any other alien language) as they did on the Enterprise, but the invention of today’s voice translators has revolutionized the way we communicate with those who speak foreign languages. This breakthrough technology can be viewed as a decoder of sorts that’s similar to the universal translator used on the show. There’s even an app for that! Trekkies will recall how in later shows, the universal translator was integrated into communication badges. Today, this wearable technology is used in a variety of locations, including hospitals, where communication in real time is critical.
  • Lasers—One can’t think of “Star Trek” without thinking of the fictional phasers the crew used on the show. From stunning an enemy to slicing through materials, one could surmise that phasers may have inspired the invention of laser technology. Some of today’s most widely used electronics and weaponry uses lasers, which stands for Light Amplification by Stimulated Emission of R Examples of real-world devices that use lasers include laser pointers, handheld laser cannons and CD and DVD players. Did you know Lockheed Martin designed a prototype laser weapon known as ATHENA (Advanced Test High Energy Asset System) to defeat low-value threats such as drones, improvised rockets and small boats? Now that’s futuristic technology at work!
  • Natural Language Queries: Apple’s Siri and Google Now—Of all the far-fetched gadgets found on early sci-fi shows, the use of artificial intelligence (AI) to understand verbal commands may be one of the coolest. Who would have ever imagined having a conversation with a computer, let alone a mobile phone? Today, we turn to Apple’s Siri or Google Now for real-time answers to a plethora of questions, queries and even directions!
  • Tablet Computer—Tablets are so commonplace today that some of us may not realize how futuristic this technology really was on the show. We may not be entering coordinates for the next star system, but the crew also used their PADDs (Personal Access Data Devices) to listen to music and play videos, just as we do today.

Vaughn programs turn science fiction into science fact

As a leading institution in engineering and technology, management and aviation, Vaughn offers programs that meet today’s demands head on. As we discovered in our journey back to sci-fi programming from years ago, technology that seemed unattainable is now part of our daily lives. Vaughn offers programs that are built around this technology. Here’s a snapshot of how they match up:

  • Robotics (Rosie, the Robot Maid)—Our award-winning robotics team is the perfect example of mechatronic engineering at its best. Read about their success at last year’s VEX World Robotics Competition and see how Vaughn graduate Jefferson Maldonado ’16 landed his dream job in the field of mechatronic engineering.
  • Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) (Personal Flying Pods)—George Jetson may not have had an aviation degree, but you must admit the futuristic concept of flying cars was not far-fetched. Vaughn’s UAV club and drone courses take aviation and engineering to a higher level. Read all about last year’s International Drone Day celebration, hosted by the engineering and technology department and Vaughn’s own Adjunct Professor Loretta Alkalay, who teaches a drone law course at Vaughn—the only one of it’s kind in the country. Alkalay brings years of experience as an aviation attorney and former regional counsel for the Federal Aviation Administration.
  • 3D Printing—The world of 3D printing technology comes to life at Vaughn College, thanks to a 3D prototyping innovation center. They may not be printing lunch just yet, but the numerous 3D printers and scanners provide students with hands-on opportunities to transform their concepts into physical objects. Read how 3D printers are revolutionizing the world of prosthetics, as well as how Vaughn graduate Kirei Watson ’18 said having the knowledge of 3D printing helped her land her dream job as a mechanical design engineer.

We hope you enjoyed this technology journey through time. Are you interested in a futureproof career? Discover all that’s possible with an engineering and technology from Vaughn College. Apply today.

With the fall semester in full swing, today’s college students are settling into their academic grooves as many continue to learn virtually in response to the coronavirus pandemic. Maintaining a healthy lifestyle through it all is an important part of keeping the body and mind in balance to ensure a successful and productive learning experience.

Did you know that your eating, drinking and sleeping habits have a big impact on how you feel throughout the day? If you’re thinking you could use a boost, you’re not alone. You may just need to tweak a few things in your schedule.

As part of Vaughn College’s ongoing commitment to our students’ success and well-being, we have outlined some beneficial lifestyle tips to help you wake up feeling great, boost your energy and bring you an overall sense of well-being. Think of it as a wellness check up—with no doctor visit required!

Wake up feeling great

Let’s face it. Unless you’re a morning person, waking up early is not fun. If you’re someone who has hit the snooze button one too many times, you know all too well how sleeping-in can throw off your day, causing you to then rush and stress out. Here are some habits to try that may help you wake up feeling great and ready to conquer your day:

  • Stretching—You don’t have to know yoga to reap the benefits of stretching. Setting aside about 15 minutes in the morning can provide positive energy and leave you feeling like a new person.
  • Relaxing “me” time—Enjoying a relaxing morning where you’re doing something that makes you happy is critical to setting a positive tone for the day.

(Just be sure to give yourself enough time. This may mean going to bed, and waking up earlier.)

  • Getting enough sleep—This can be easier said than done, but getting enough sleep can make or break your day. Set a sleep schedule and stick to it. Experts say to avoid certain things before bedtime, such as caffeine, heavy meals and checking your phone or emails.

Drink this, not that

Experts agree: The first beverage you drink in the morning may have a lasting effect on how you get through your day—not to mention encouraging hydration and maintaining healthy blood pressure. If you’re a coffee drinker, relax. You won’t have to give up your coffee. Here are some beverages that our experts give a thumbs-up to, as well as what you should avoid drinking in the morning:


  • Water—Drinking water first thing in the morning can help you stay hydrated throughout the day.
  • Coffee—Nutritionists agree morning coffee can boost productivity and contribute to a positive morning routine.
  • Tea—Tea, like coffee, has a similar effect with added benefits. Drinking tea has been known to help with diabetes management and prevention.

Don’t drink

  • Soda or energy drinks—These highly-processed beverages contain large amounts of sugar and can lead to a mid-morning sugar crash.
  • Fad drinks and detoxes.
  • High calorie or high caffeinated drinks—These beverages can make your body crave them all day long, thus causing you to possibly experience a sugar crash.

Food to fuel your mornings

They say breakfast is the most important meal of the day. But if you’re like some people, eating breakfast may come later in the morning or not at all. Did you know that eating the right kind of food in the morning has an energizing effect that can last all day long? Here are some foods to try that can provide you with the morning boost you’re looking for:

  • Oats—Before you say, “boring” give oatmeal another chance. Adding milk, fruit or honey to your oats is a delicious way to enjoy oatmeal again while getting the added benefit of fiber, antioxidants and an added boost of energy.
  • Greek yogurt—This protein-packed food is a smart alternative to regular yogurt. Add fresh fruit, honey, oats or cereal to make it even more delectable.
  • Honey—You may think honey is only good when you have a sore throat or you’re not feeling well. But did you know honey is a delicious way to sweeten your breakfast naturally without using sugar? Try adding it to your oatmeal or yogurt. Honey will not only give you a lasting energy boost, but it will also help prevent a sugar crash.
  • Eggs—This one may not come as a surprise. Eggs contain protein and B vitamins that are known to maintain your energy level more efficiently. Additionally, they are versatile and can be prepared many ways. Try switching them up to give your meals more variety.
  • Salmon—You may not think of salmon as a breakfast food, but maybe it’s time you should. Salmon is a great alternative to more traditional sugary breakfast items. It’s nutrient-packed and helps boost your energy levels as you fight off fatigue.

Self-care tips to de-stress and stay focused

Social distancing and learning virtually may not be what you expected this semester. We understand it may be challenging at times. The good news is there are easy and inexpensive ways to offset your daily routine by adding fun activities to your daily lifestyle. The smallest distractions can lead to the biggest impacts on your mental health and well-being. Here are some fun things to consider that will help you take a break from your routine:

  • Watch your favorite shows, and try adding a comedy to your mix. Laughter is one of the best ways to bring positive vibes to your day.
  • Compile a mix of your top tunes. Music has a therapeutic affect on our emotions and can bring much needed stress relief after a long day.
  • Take a break from social media.
  • Get up and exercise. Remaining active helps to relieve stress, tension and built-up energy. Additionally, the release of endorphins can be a good mood-booster!

For more lifestyle tips, read our blog: “Is Distance Learning Closing in on You? Try These Mood-Boosting Tips.”

If you need help adjusting to distance learning or have other questions or concerns, you can find more resources, contact information and regular coronavirus updates on our website at https://www.vaughn.edu/about/coronavirus/. Remember, we are moving forward together!

Vaughn Professor Draws from Years of Experience

Today’s young engineers are entering an unprecedented market, as their skills are in high demand due to the specific industry needs resulting from the coronavirus pandemic. It therefore comes as no surprise that with high demand comes a competitive climate. So, what does it take for young engineers to edge out the competition and land the job?

This month, we turned to Dr. Shouling He, engineering professor, adviser and program coordinator for the mechatronic engineering program at Vaughn College, for her advice and tips on how young engineers can become top contenders in today’s hottest engineering market.

Build from the basics

Dr. He began by reinforcing the basic building blocks for anyone with a passion for engineering. She said in order for students to be successful in the field, their work ethic must be deeply rooted in these fundamental elements:

  • Being a practical problem solver
  • Ensuring the solution to the problem makes sense, and particularly paying attention to units and the order of magnitude in engineering design and analysis
  • Breaking a complex problem into smaller and manageable pieces, and then solving them step-by-step
  • Ability to work in teams and being a good project planner

Top skills for today’s market

Today’s engineering market is fast-paced and changing before our eyes. Dr. He explained that for young engineers to capitalize on this trend, they should have a broad range of knowledge. She said Vaughn’s mechatronic engineering program is the perfect fit for today’s ever-changing market. The program focuses on mechanical, electrical and computer engineering, which are considered among the top skills that companies are seeking today. Were you aware that Vaughn’s mechatronic engineering program is one of only four mechatronic programs in the country accredited by the Engineering Accreditation Commission (EAC)? This distinction signifies the rigor of the program and is a reflection of Vaughn’s dedication of giving students the education and tools they need in order to have successful careers in the field of engineering.

Landing the job

In today’s COVID-19 era, competition may be more prevalent than ever. Competition can, however, be a good thing. It drives one to up their game and demands them to fine-tune their skills. Dr. He advises her students to focus on both their personal qualities as well as their professional ones. Here are some tips she offers young engineers to gear up for the job market:

Things to do during a job search:

– Read the job postings carefully

– Fine-tune résumés and prepare best samples from your course projects and labs

– Research the company


Key qualities to edge out the competition:

– Focus on strengths and do not feel intimidated

– Be an excellent communicator and share your thoughts and opinions

– Have confidence in your abilities

– Have hands-on experience

– Have a positive attitude and be willing to work in a team

In addition to the tips listed above, Dr. He emphasized the importance of students attending engineering conferences and job fairs hosted by Vaughn. Even in today’s climate, conference and fairs can be attended virtually. Did you know that more than 164 companies recruited at job fairs hosted by Vaughn last year? Vaughn students have landed jobs with industry leaders that include Lockheed Martin, Boeing Company and Daimler Trucks North America, just to name a few. Read the success story about recent Vaughn graduate, Atif Saeed ’20, and how his degree in mechatronic engineering landed him a job as a mechanical engineer at Lockheed Martin.

Attending conferences has proven to play a vital role in standing out among the competition. Read more about how attending these conferences can set you apart from the competition in our blog, “Top Conferences to Attend as an Aviation or Engineering Student.”

Standing above the competition

Will you be graduating soon? Earning your degree is a milestone and one to be proud of. Combining your knowledge with your unique personal strengths can prove to be a winning combination to a successful career. Here are some additional tips that Dr. He believes can position you for a chance to land your dream job:

  • Be willing to work hard
  • Complete tasks on time
  • Accept there will be challenges to face as technology changes rapidly
  • Have excellent oral and written communication skills
  • Have the capability to learn new things—and be prepared to learn them yourself

Dr. He’s Vision

With almost 35 years of experience in the fields of aerospace engineering and artificial intelligence, among others, Dr. He brings a host of knowledge to Vaughn and her students. During her nine years at Vaughn, she said nothing has made her happier than seeing her students follow their passion for engineering. As a woman engineer herself, she is proud to see more female students wanting to enter the field. “As a mostly male-dominated field, we are seeing women having an advantage over men in some aspects of engineering,” Dr. He explained. “Women pay more attention to detail and tend to be more consistent—especially when it comes to computer programming.”

As the world continues to change, Dr. He said one thing remains constant. “We give our students the knowledge and skills they can build on throughout their lives,” she said. “The exciting part is seeing how they will use them to develop and design new concepts and new products for our future.”

Discover all that’s possible with an engineering and technology degree from Vaughn College. Apply today. You can read more about the latest surge in demand in our recent blog, “Demand for Engineers and Technologists Surge Amidst Coronavirus Pandemic.”