Special Coverage

Technique Provides Security for Multi-Robot Systems
Bringing New Vision to Laser Material Processing Systems
NASA Tests Lasers’ Ability to Transmit Data from Space
Converting from Hydraulic Cylinders to Electric Actuators
Automating Optimization and Design Tasks Across Disciplines
Vibration Tables Shake Up Aerospace and Car Testing
Supercomputer Cooling System Uses Refrigerant to Replace Water
Computer Chips Calculate and Store in an Integrated Unit
Electron-to-Photon Communication for Quantum Computing

How 3D Printing Began, Layer by Layer

In 1983, Chuck Hull worked for a small California-based company that used ultraviolet light to turn liquid polymers into hardened, or cured, coatings. Inside the firm’s lab on his nights and weekends, Hull found a way to make UV-curable materials the basis for his Stereolithography Apparatus, patented the following year.

Tech Briefs spoke with Hull about the future of his invention, the 3D printer.

Posted in: News, Consumer Product Manufacturing, Manufacturing & Prototyping, Rapid Prototyping & Tooling
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The 3D Printing Landscape: Then and Now

Frequently used as a design validation and prototyping tool in its early days, the 3D printer now supports a much wider range of applications, from shape-conforming electronics to the creation of printed living tissue. Tech Briefs spoke with industry expert Terry Wohlers about 3D printing's emerging possibilities.

Posted in: News, News, News, Aerospace, Consumer Product Manufacturing, Custom & Contract Manufacturing, Manufacturing & Prototyping, Rapid Prototyping & Tooling, Implants & Prosthetics
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Researchers Sculpt Optical Micro-Structures

Materials scientists at the Harvard John A. Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences (SEAS) and the Wyss Institute of Biologically Inspired Engineering used a new framework to grow sophisticated optical micro-components, including trumpet-shaped assemblages that operate as waveguides.

Posted in: News, Manufacturing & Prototyping, Optical Components, Optics
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Magnetic Fields Enable New Soft Robots

Researchers from North Carolina State University have a found a new way to control robots. The team used magnetic fields to remotely manipulate microparticle chains embedded in soft robotic devices.

Posted in: News, Joining & Assembly, Drug Delivery, Automation, Robotics
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Is Pluto a Planet? Scientists Seek New Definition

In 2006, the International Astronomical Union demoted Pluto to "non-planet" status. Johns Hopkins University scientist Kirby Runyon led a group of six researchers to draft a new definition of "planet" — one that includes more than 100 other celestial bodies, including Pluto. The proposal was presented at the Lunar and Planetary Science Conference, hosted in Houston, Texas on March 21.

Posted in: News, Cameras, Imaging, Physical Sciences, Propulsion
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Hybrid Tractor-Trailers Take the Road

A prize-winning hybrid technology puts a Toyota Prius-like spin on the tractor trailer.

Posted in: Homepage, News, Automotive, Energy, Energy Efficiency, Energy Harvesting, Energy Storage, Renewable Energy
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Origami-Inspired Robot Can Ride with a Rover

The Pop-Up Flat Folding Explorer Robot (PUFFER) that’s in development at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, CA, was inspired by origami. It travels with a rover, and its lightweight design can flatten itself, tucking in its wheels and crawling into places rovers can’t fit.

Posted in: News, Motion Control, Robotics
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Non-Toxic Material Generates Electricity Through Heat, Cold Air

Imagine a body sensor powered by one's jewelry, or a cooking pan that charges a cell phone in a few hours.

Using a combination of the chemical elements calcium, cobalt, and terbium, University of Utah researchers created an efficient, inexpensive and bio-friendly material that generates electricity through a thermoelectric process involving heat and cold air.

Posted in: News, Materials, Sensors
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Silk Sensor Finds Composite Flaws

Researchers from the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) have developed a way to embed a nanoscale damage-sensing probe into a lightweight composite made of epoxy and silk.

Posted in: News, Detectors, Sensors
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Corrective 'Eyeglasses' Created For X-Ray Research Facilities

Even when an X-ray beam is steered and focused with advanced mirrors and other optics, abnormalities can creep in. These problems have names familiar to those with imperfect vision, such as “astigmatism” or “coma” and “spherical” errors. And just like our eyes, an X-ray beam can lose power and focus when its alignment isn’t perfect. To address this challenge with X-rays, researchers designed and built special spectacles, or corrective phase plates, for use at light sources that use high-intensity X-rays to probe matter in fine detail.

Posted in: News, ptb catchall, Imaging, Optical Components, Photonics
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