March 2018

A report released this week revealed a spike in the adoption of metal additive-manufacturing systems – an increase due largely to a growing number of new companies.

A reader asks our expert: "How do road conditions impact vehicle-to-vehicle responses?"
Physical chemists at the Georgia Institute of Technology discovered an emerging class of semiconductors with some unexpected moves.

A technology not only allows wheels to know when and how to rotate, but also enables them to work together in interactive teams. Simply monitoring the data generated when the motors inside the wheels...

Question of the Week : Robotics, Automation & Control
Will social robots play a major role in keeping humans happy?

Our lead INSIDER story today featured a discussion of how robots may someday interact with humans.

Scientists have an idea to deflect Earth-bound asteroids: a 9-meter-tall, 8.8-ton spacecraft dubbed the HAMMER.

Thermoelectric devices generate power when one side of the device is a different temperature from the other. Instead of requiring two different temperature inputs at the...

Researchers at the University of Illinois at Chicago and Argonne National Laboratory have designed a new lithium-air battery that works in a natural air environment and still functioned after a...

By replacing the cam, a new valve technology may lead to more affordable — and more environmentally friendly — engines.
Blog : Robotics, Automation & Control
How to Understand Humanity Through Humanoids
Today's humanoid robots are being asked to have more brains than brawn.
Question of the Week : Energy
Will low-cost 'smart glass' catch on?

Our second INSIDER story today featured an achievement from University of Delaware engineers: liquid-activated panels that change from transparent to opaque.

The Olympic Games give elite athletes a chance at athletic triumph but also carry a risk of injury. When injuries occur, it’s critical that they be evaluated quickly. Onsite imaging...

Recent advances in brain imaging have enabled scientists to show for the first time that a key protein which causes nerve cell death spreads throughout the brain in Alzheimer's disease...

A new NYU Langone study offers the first solid evidence that functional MRI scans of brain entropy are a new means to understanding human intelligence. High-tech scans of the resting human brain...

Over the past decade, researchers have been working to create nanoscale materials and devices using DNA as construction materials through a process called DNA origami. A single long...

In 1988, a team at Pacific Northwest Laboratories built a mannequin robot. One of the original engineers talked with Tech Briefs about his time making "Manny."
A switchable window – one that transforms from a clear to tinted state – is not a new invention. What is new, however, is a “smart glass” that is low-cost.
Podcasts : Manufacturing & Prototyping
Here's an Idea: How 3D Printing Began

Every technology begins with an idea.

Question of the Week : Imaging
Will laser-based imaging help self-driving cars someday see around corners?

An autonomous-driving technology from Stanford University gives vehicles the capability to "peek" around corners. Tech Briefs spoke with the creators of the laser-based system. To make the technology road-ready, the team still needs to speed-up the data-acquisition...

A Tech Briefs reader asked our expert: What is the best data-processing architecture for truly autonomous, 'Level-5' vehicles?

Color Transmission Calibration Slide

Developed with input from bright-field microscopy experts, the IAM-9C-SECCAL color transmission calibration slide from APPLIED...

Stanford University is developing a laser-based imaging technology that allows cars to peek around corners.

A team led by engineers at the University of California San Diego has used data mining and computational tools to discover a new phosphor material for white LEDs that is inexpensive and easy...

New software developed by BGU researchers will enable standard cameras and smartphones to capture both hyperspectral images and video with a faster and more cost-efficient approach...

INSIDER : Sensors/Data Acquisition
Researchers Combine Light-Manipulation Technologies

Researchers have, for the first time, integrated two technologies widely used in applications such as optical communications, bio-imaging and Light Detection and Ranging (LIDAR) systems...

Question of the Week : Sensors/Data Acquisition
Will edible electronics catch on?

In this week's Tech Briefs TV video, Rice University scientists demonstrated an ability to embed graphene into paper, cloth, and even your breakfast. Why etch patterns into toast? James Tour, a chemist at Rice University, envisions never-before-seen applications, like embedding electronics as a self-cooking heat...

NASA robotics engineers react to Boston Dynamics' back-flipping robots.
Have a product design idea? The "Create the Future" Design Contest is now open for submissions until July 2, 2018.
Researchers from the University of British Columbia have developed a stretchable sensor that can be weaved into a fabric to detect a range of complex human movements, including finger gestures and heartbeats.
Products : Sensors/Data Acquisition
New Products: March 2018 Photonics & Imaging Technology

Optical Design Software

Lambda Research Corporation (Littleton, MA) announced the release of TracePro 7.8.3 and the Early Visibility release of its flagship TracePro software....

Application Briefs : Sensors/Data Acquisition
Sensor Networks — The Platform for a Connected Farm

Farming has not been untouched by the IoT revolution. The relationships among field conditions, crops, and strategies for planting, irrigating, and harvesting are complex, yet vital for...

Articles : Sensors/Data Acquisition
How to Secure Wireless Sensor Networks

The Internet of Things (IoT) promises to integrate all sorts of devices, near and far, into a connected web. This web is forecast to see exponential growth. But in the rush for companies to maximize...

Briefs : Sensors/Data Acquisition
Ultra-Sensitive Temperature Sensor

A temperature sensor with practically no effect at all on the temperature of the object measured has been created in the laboratory by researchers at the University of São Paulo (USP) and the University of Campinas (UNICAMP) and is awaiting a patent for commercial production.

In London's St. Paul's Cathedral, a whisper can be heard far across the circular whispering gallery as the sound curves around the walls. Now, an optical whispering gallery mode resonator developed by...

Briefs : Data Acquisition
Near-Zero-Power Temperature Sensor

A temperature sensor was developed that runs on 113 picowatts of power — about 10 billion times smaller than a Watt. The technology could enable devices that can be powered by harvesting energy from...

The market for smart security access systems is expected to grow rapidly, reaching nearly $10 billion by 2022. Today's smart security access systems mainly rely on traditional techniques...

Products : Sensors/Data Acquisition
New Products: March 2018 Sensor Technology

Digital Temperature Sensors

The ProSense® ETS series digital temperature sensors from Automation Direct (Cumming, GA) now include a precision RTD sensing element, measuring...

Researchers at Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL) have developed an inexpensive electrochemical sensing system that significantly improves the ability to rapidly and accurately detect heavy...

A low-cost sensor technology, called Chemical Identification by Magneto-Elastic Sensing (ChIMES), uses target response materials (TRMs) as actuators in magneto-elastic (M-E) sensors...

A new approach to time-of-flight imaging that increases its depth resolution 1,000-fold has been presented by the MIT Camera Culture group. That type of resolution could make...

Articles : Communications
Understanding Network Topology

Sensor networks are the backbone of the Internet of Things (IoT) and Industry 4.0. They provide the data that drives automated systems: both feedback for control loops and status information for all of the...

Panoramic irradiators are commonly used to disinfect and sterilize products such as medical supplies, cosmetic raw materials, food, food containers, and medical supplies. The irradiators...

Briefs : Sensors/Data Acquisition
Wearable Microneedles

A new painless and minimally invasive microneedle technology can extract large volumes of pure interstitial fluid for further study. Developed at Sandia Labs and the University of New Mexico, the microneedles are a few...

Briefs : Test & Measurement
Food Allergy Lab Fits on Your Keychain

Food allergies are extremely common. In the US, Federal regulations require packaged foods to disclose the presence of some of the most common allergens such as gluten, nuts, and milk products, which is...

Q&A : Communications
Q&A: N.C. State's Dr. Jingyan Dong Develops New Way to Directly Print Metal Circuits

Researchers from NC State have developed a new technique for directly printing metal circuits, creating flexible, stretchable electronics. The technique can use multiple metals and substrates, and is compatible with existing manufacturing systems that employ...

Spinoff is NASA’s annual publication featuring successfully commercialized NASA technology. This commercialization has contributed to the development of products and services in the...

Briefs : Electronics & Computers
Remote Detection of Electronic Devices

Non-Linear Junction Detection is a well-known technique for detecting electronics that utilize semiconductor (solid-state) junctions. The current state of the art for finding hidden electronics — such as electronic eavesdropping devices — using this technology has a maximum range of about 2 m, and more...

Advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS) are improving driver and pedestrian safety, providing vehicle capabilities such as pedestrian detection, lane departure warnings, collision avoidance,...

Researchers have found a versatile workaround to create chemical compounds that could prove useful for medical imaging and drug development. While studying chemical...

Terahertz radiation — the band of the electromagnetic spectrum between microwaves and visible light — has promising applications in medical and industrial imaging and chemical...

High-speed images of a common laser-based metal 3D printing process, coupled with newly updated computer models, have revealed the mechanisms behind material redistribution, a phenomenon that...

In October of 2017 the AXIe Consortium, VITA trade association, and six companies endorsed a new optical interface standard named Optical Data Interface, or ODI for short. The six companies were...

Articles : Imaging
Space Imaging

The term Space Imaging covers a wide variety of mission types and technologies.

It's difficult to see the details of atomic and topographical changes that lead to battery failure. However a team of researchers developed a method to see reactions leading to...

Articles : Test & Measurement
Learn to Trust Your Infrared Camera

It's tough to trust measurements from instruments when you don't have a clear understanding of how their sensitivity and accuracy are derived, and many times infrared cameras fall in this category. In...

Articles : Photonics/Optics
Trends in Thermal Imaging

Most manufacturers of uncooled amorphous silicon (AS) and vanadium oxide (VOx) microbolometer focal plane array (FPA) products have long been producing imaging devices with 17 μm pixel-pitch arrays. Currently, 320...

Application Briefs : Robotics, Automation & Control
Hyperspectral Imaging – Teaching Robots to See

Hyperspectral imaging is an exciting and promising new technology. When combined with modern machine learning software and actuators such as robots, air-jets, or flippers, hyperspectral...

How much gold remains to be mined on Earth? How about the lesser-known element, indium, necessary for computer and smartphone displays? With known sources of some essential metals facing...

NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center is building a small CubeSat that uses an 85-m2 solar sail deployed from a central location to capture the push of photons...

Articles : Sensors/Data Acquisition
5Ws of the Ultra-Thin Memory Storage Device

Who

Manufacturers of smaller and smarter computer chips for consumer electronics such as smartphones and tablets, and 3D chips for brain-inspired computing applications.

In designing a hand-actuated microspine gripper, a ratcheting locking mechanism was required that had discrete points of locking engagement. The mechanism had to actuate...

Located in Argonne, IL, Argonne National Laboratory (ARL) is a multidisciplinary science and engineering research center. Born out of the University of Chicago’s work on the Manhattan Project in...

Briefs : Propulsion
Flexible, Gravity-Fed Heat Pipe

The advent of cryocooler technology ushers in an era where a cryogenic environment is created and maintained locally. It is no longer necessary to transport cryogen from a factory where it is produced to the...

Briefs : Green Design & Manufacturing
Green Approach for Toughening Thermosetting Reactive Resins

Thermosetting reactive resin systems such as epoxy, bismaleimide, and polyimide classes of material are brittle. The origin of brittleness is attributed to the high crosslinking density that exists in the fully cured forms of these materials. Traditionally, the toughness of these resins...

Metamaterials with zero, or even negative refractive index for sound offer new possibilities for acoustic imaging and for the control of sound at sub-wavelength scales. The...

Briefs : Aerospace
NWRA AVOSS Wake Vortex Prediction Algorithm Version 3.1.1

The Northwest Research Associates (NWRA) Aircraft Vortex Spacing System (AVOSS) Prediction Algorithm computes trailing vortex trajectories and circulation decay in a plane perpendicular to the path of the aircraft that has generated the vortices. Underlying the algorithm are the following...

Although cars have been around for more than a century, the material they are made of (steel) has mostly stayed the same. It has only been in the past few decades that advanced materials...

Exciting new technological innovations are making the planet cleaner, people healthier, food more plentiful, transportation speedier, communication more accessible,...

A new type of mechanical instrument was developed to perform complex, minimally invasive procedures, also known as laparoscopic surgery. The technology could lead to less trauma for...

Briefs : Electronics & Computers
System and Method for Identifying Electrical Properties of Integrated Circuits

Integrated circuit (IC) design can be divided into three stages: circuitry as specified, circuitry as designed, and circuitry as manufactured. Circuitry as specified is a somewhat abstract circuit design made with knowledge of the latest state-of-the-art integrated...

Briefs : Medical
Cell Processing Cartridge for Miniature Cytometer

Portable flow cytometers, especially in handheld or briefcase sizes, have not been available. One reason is the need to support complex, high-pressure fluidics and process cells using a centrifuge and mixing device. A need existed for point-of-care and/or point-of-analysis flow cytometry.

Products : Mechanical & Fluid Systems
New on the Market: March 2018

Product of the Month

Keysight Technologies, Santa Rosa, CA, introduced the PathWave software platform that integrates design, test, measurement, and analysis to enable product development from concept...

Computers use different kinds of memory technologies to store data. Long-term memory — typically a hard disk or flash drive — needs to be dense in order to store as much data as...

Materials scientists are looking to nature — at the discs in human spines and the skin of ocean-diving fish — for clues about how to design materials with both flexibility and stiffness. The...

Briefs : Electronics & Computers
Flexible Silicon-on-Polymer Chip

A new, flexible, silicon-on-polymer chip was developed to augment new networked realities such as the Internet of Things. Typical silicon-based integrated circuits are brittle, rigid components packaged in a way that protects them. When these devices are put into a flexible form factor, rigidity is a negative...

Inspired by brains, neural networks are composed of neurons (or nodes) and synapses, which are the connections between nodes. To train a neural network for a task, a neural network takes in a...

NASA is preparing for the next generation of CubeSats that are propelled and will make directional maneuvers. The new gimbal mount provides a seat for the motor, and controls the position of the...

Briefs : Electronics & Computers
Shape Memory Alloy Art (SMA-Art) Shapes

Shape memory alloys (SMAs) have the unique ability to recover large deformations in response to thermal, mechanical, and/or magnetic stimuli. This behavior occurs by virtue of a crystallo-graphically...

Currently, most 3D-printed organ models are made using hard plastics or rubbers. This limits their application for accurate prediction and replication of the organ’s physical...

High-tech refrigerators have been used to reach temperatures as close to absolute zero as possible — 0 kelvin or -273.15 °C. Physicists aim to cool equipment to as close to absolute zero as...

NASA’s Langley Research Center has developed a landing gear cavity modification that reduces noise produced during aircraft approach and landing. The modification is an innovative stretchable...

Revolutionary changes are driving the mobility industry forward. Explore the next generation of transportation engineering at SAE’s WCX: World Congress Experience from April 10-12 in Detroit, MI....

A growing safety concern for pilots and aircraft passengers is laser strikes, or the aiming of high-power laser pointers at aircraft. Laser strikes pose many dangers to pilots, including...

In multi-layer and multi-fluid plate and fin heat exchangers, fluid ports are required to be located on the side of the heat exchanger....

Articles : Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Products of Tomorrow: March 2018

This column presents technologies that have applications in commercial areas, possibly creating the products of tomorrow. To learn more about each technology, see the contact information provided for that...

Stratasys
Eden Prairie, MN
www.stratasys.com

Christie Digital Systems manufactures advanced digital projectors and displays using an innovative prototyping program....

Briefs : Semiconductors & ICs
Flexible, Water-Repellent Graphene Circuits for Washable Electronics

New graphene printing technology can produce electronic circuits that are low-cost, flexible, highly conductive, and water-repellent. Low-cost, inkjet-printed graphene can be tuned with a laser to make functional materials.

A new medical diagnostic device made of paper detects biomarkers and identifies diseases by performing electrochemical analyses — powered only by the user’s touch — and reads...

Webcasts

On-Demand Webinars: Manufacturing & Prototyping

Heavy-Duty Engine Design for a Transitioning Market

Upcoming Webinars: Photonics/Optics

High-Powered Directed Energy Laser Projects: Destroy the Target,...

Upcoming Webinars: Photonics/Optics

Optical Coating Design

Upcoming Webinars: Manufacturing & Prototyping

Rapid Decompression and Sealed Containers: Why Choose Magnet...

Upcoming Webinars: Motion Control

Advantages of Smart Servo Steppers vs. Smart Brushless Servos

Upcoming Webinars: Manufacturing & Prototyping

Large Cable, Large Problems: Considerations for Innovation