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

Sensors Detect Disease Markers in Breath

Sensors were made from porous thin films of organic conductive plastics. (L. Brian Stauffer)

A small, thin square of organic plastic can detect disease markers in breath or toxins. The sensor chip can be used by patients and discarded.

Posted in: News, Detectors, Sensors
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One Plug-In Sensor Does Work of Many

The sensor board can be plugged in to a wall outlet, eliminating the need for batteries.

Researchers have developed a sensor package that monitors multiple phenomena in a room using machine-learning techniques. The prototype contained 19 different sensor channels, including sensors that indirectly detect sound, vibration, motion, color, light intensity, speed, and direction. The sensor board is plugged in to a wall outlet, eliminating the need for batteries.

Posted in: News, Sensors
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Sound-Off: How Can Organizations Ensure Security in the Cloud?

A reader asks: "How can organizations that use cloud services maintain security of customer data?" See our expert's response — and write one of your own.

Posted in: News, Data Acquisition
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‘Creating the Future’: Water Purifier Requires Only Sunlight

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 780 million people do not have access to clean water sources. The inventor of a water-purification technology hopes to change that statistic and offer an affordable and sustainable way of addressing the global water crisis.

Posted in: News, News, Energy Harvesting, Renewable Energy, Solar Power
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Wearable System Guides Visually Impaired Users

A new wearable system from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology will help blind users navigate through indoor environments.

Posted in: MDB, News, News, Imaging, Sensors
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Sound-Off: Will Vehicles Go from Metal to Plastic?

A reader asks: "In the next 5 years, which areas of the vehicle will see a conversion from metal to plastic?" Tech Briefs invites you to share your thoughts and “Sound Off!”

Posted in: News, Automotive
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Tech Briefs Q&A: Bringing Bioprinting to Life

A team from Northwestern University created bioprosthetic ovaries that ultimately led to the restoration of hormone production and fertility in mice.

Posted in: News, News, Implants & Prosthetics
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Modular Climbing Robot Splits into Multiple Explorer Bots

A prototype of the Detachable Compliant Modular Robot (DCMR).

Researchers from the Robotics Research Centre at the International Institute of Technology – Hyderabad (IIIT-H), have developed a stair and obstacle climbing robot that can disassemble itself into smaller robots, and then reassemble back into one device. As a composite system, the Detachable Compliant Modular Robot (DCMR) can climb steep obstacles and staircases, and explore uneven terrain. When it detaches into multiple robots, it can explore cramped spaces, traverse flat terrain, and behave as a Multi Agent System (MAS).

Posted in: News, Motion Control, Robotics
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Actuated Smartwatch Moves in Five Directions

The Cito prototype rotates, hinges, translates, rises, and orbits to add convenience for smartwatch users. (Credit: Jun Gong)

In an effort to make digital smartwatches more convenient for users, researchers at Dartmouth College and the University of Waterloo have produced a prototype watch face named Cito that moves in five different directions. With the ability to rotate, hinge, translate, rise, and orbit, the model improves functionality and addresses some of the limitations of today’s fixed-face watches.

Posted in: News, Motion Control
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Mechanical Actuators Bend as They “Breathe”

The equipment used for testing the new materials. (Credit: MIT)

Extreme temperatures can severely strain a mechanical component because its material may have trouble enduring the heat without degrading. To address the problem, researchers at MIT developed a new material that expands and contracts as it lets oxygen in and out. The result is a new way to make actuators that could be used in extremely hot environments.

Posted in: News, Materials, Mechanical Components, Motion Control
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