One of life’s great temptations is when you know something exciting has happened, but you can’t talk about it.

Sweet relief came this week when Popular Science named its 2014 Brilliant Ten, an elite group containing none other than Nicole Abaid, an assistant professor of Biomedical Engineering and Mechanics in the College of Engineering.

Abaid looks at how bats communicate so they don’t crash into each other as they exit a cave, for example. Radar can jam in planes, but echolocation gives bats unequaled precision, and the bats may even be sharing signals. From that biological system, Abaid will figure out how to build sensors to improve communication among robots and unmanned aircraft, commonly called drones.

Popular Science’s executive editor Jennifer Bogo said today on Morning Joe that the magazine selected candidates who are making groundbreaking changes in their careers already, and who are poised to go on to change the world in substantial ways to make it a better, smarter, safer place. If you watch, Bogo drills down on Abaid’s work at about the 3:30 time stamp.

Careful readers of the Virginia Tech Research blog @VTresearch may have noticed a hint that something cool was about to happen nestled in a routine announcement (a hint vector, if you will) and people should pay attention to Virginia Tech News today.

This time, we’ll be more direct: Look for more about bats in the fall-winter edition of Virginia Tech Research, the university’s namesake research magazine. It’ll be batty.

One last thing. This is two year’s running for Virginia Tech in the Brilliant 10. Last year, David Schmale, an associate professor in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, was in the list. And he works with drones, too. Do we see a pattern here?