March 2018

Blog : Manufacturing & Prototyping
Metal Additive Manufacturing on the Rise, Says 3D Printing Study

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.

Blog : Sensors/Data Acquisition
Truck Platooning Technology: How Will Road Conditions Impact V2V Communications?
A reader asks our expert: "How do road conditions impact vehicle-to-vehicle responses?"
Blog : Photonics/Optics
Wobbly ‘HOIP’ Semiconductor Has Researchers in Excited State
Physical chemists at the Georgia Institute of Technology discovered an emerging class of semiconductors with some unexpected moves.
INSIDER : Motion Control
Smart Wheel Knows When and How to Rotate

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.

Blog : Mechanical & Fluid Systems
HAMMER Time: A New Spacecraft Idea Aims to Ram an Asteroid Off-Course
Scientists have an idea to deflect Earth-bound asteroids: a 9-meter-tall, 8.8-ton spacecraft dubbed the HAMMER.
INSIDER : Energy
System Draws Power from Daily Temperature Swings to Produce Electricity

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...

INSIDER : Energy
Lithium-Air Battery Out-Powers Lithium-Ion

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...

News : Transportation
Replacing Camshafts with Valves Paves Way for Cheaper, Greener Engines
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.

News : Medical
Imaging Plays Key Role in Evaluating Injuries at Olympics

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...

News : Medical
Advances Settles Debate Over Spread of Alzheimer Protein

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...

News : Medical
High-Tech Scans Can Help Redefine Intelligence

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...

News : Medical
DNA Origami: Imaging DNA 'Building Blocks' in 3-D

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...

Blog : Electronics & Computers
A Look Back at the Trailblazing "Manny" Robot – A Firefighter's Friend
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."
Tech Talks : Motion Control
Roller Guide Evolution: How Needle Rollers Are Improving Linear Bearing Performance

The demand for higher performing roller guides is increasing. This 20-minute Tech Talk discusses the evolution of roller guides and then examines how needle rollers and the latest innovative technology are incorporated into a new-generation design that integrates...

Blog : Photonics/Optics
Low-Cost Smart Glass? Electrical Engineers Look into It
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: Listen to the Story of 3D Printing

Every technology begins with an idea.

Question of the Week : Automotive
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...

Briefs : Sensors/Data Acquisition
Tiny Terahertz Laser for Imaging and Chemical Detection

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

Briefs : Green Design & Manufacturing
Portable Electrochemical Sensing System

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...

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...

News : Sensors/Data Acquisition
Advanced Wearable Has Heightened 'Sense' of Complex Human Motions
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.
Blog : Transportation
Sound-Off: How to Achieve ‘Level 5’ Autonomous Driving
A Tech Briefs reader asked our expert: What is the best data-processing architecture for truly autonomous, 'Level-5' vehicles?
Products : Photonics/Optics
New Products: March 2018 Photonics & Imaging Insider

Color Transmission Calibration Slide

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

News : Sensors/Data Acquisition
With Laser-Based Imaging, Self-Driving Cars See Around Corners
Stanford University is developing a laser-based imaging technology that allows cars to peek around corners.
INSIDER : Lighting
New Phosphor Material Improves LED Color Quality

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...

INSIDER : Imaging
Hyperspectral Content for Standard Cameras Becomes Reality

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 : Photonics/Optics
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...

Blog : Mechanical & Fluid Systems
A Role for Boston Dynamics’ Back-Flipping Robots: Is Space the Place?
NASA robotics engineers react to Boston Dynamics' back-flipping robots.
Blog : Energy
The ‘Create the Future’ Design Contest is Open for Entries
Have a product design idea? The "Create the Future" Design Contest is now open for submissions until July 2, 2018.
Products : Photonics/Optics
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...

Briefs : Test & Measurement
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.

Briefs : Medical
Whispering Gallery Optical Resonators

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...

Briefs : Sensors/Data Acquisition
Access System Senses Finger Vibrations to Verify Users

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...

Briefs : Sensors/Data Acquisition
Chemical Identification by Magneto-Elastic Sensing (ChIMES)

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...

Briefs : Photonics/Optics
New Depth Sensors Could be Sensitive Enough for Self-Driving Cars

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 : Sensors/Data Acquisition
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...

Briefs : Medical
Tamper Sensor for Safeguarding Radiological Sources

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 : Medical
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 : Government
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...

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...

Application Briefs : Imaging
ADAS Design – Specialized Chipsets Do the Job

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

Briefs : Medical
Scientists Discover New Way to Label Chemical Compounds for Medical Imaging

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

Briefs : Materials
LLNL Finds Reason Behind Defects in 3D Printing

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...

Articles : Sensors/Data Acquisition
Understanding the New Optical Data Interface

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 : Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Space Imaging

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

Briefs : Test & Measurement
Searching for the Failure Mechanisms in Lithium-Sulfur Batteries

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 : Photonics/Optics
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 : Imaging
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 : Software
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...

Articles : Data Acquisition
Hunting New Mining Deposits with Hyperspectral Imaging

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...

Briefs : Transportation
Efficient Packaging Process for One-Piece Deployable Thin Membrane

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...

5 Ws : Semiconductors & ICs
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.

Briefs : Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Spring Plunger Locking Mechanism for Use in Hand-Actuated Tools

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...

Articles : Energy
Facility Focus: Argonne National Laboratory

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 : Energy
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 : Materials
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...

Briefs : Medical
Acoustic Metamaterials Manipulate and Control Sound Waves

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...

Articles : Energy
Pros & Cons of Advanced Lightweighting Materials

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...

Articles : Energy
Technological Advances, and How Structural Adhesives Support Manufacturing

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

Briefs : Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Low-Cost Mechanical Device for Minimally Invasive Surgery

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 : Semiconductors & ICs
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 : Mechanical & Fluid Systems
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...

Briefs : Electronics & Computers
Ultrafast Magnetic Reversal Method for Computer Memory

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...

Briefs : Materials
Gallium-Infused Liquid-Solid Composites

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...

Briefs : Electronics & Computers
Memristors Enable Quick-Learning Neural Network

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...

Briefs : Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Gimbal for Steering Propelled CubeSats

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 : Mechanical & Fluid Systems
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...

Briefs : Medical
Lifelike, 3D-Printed Organ Models with Integrated Sensors

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...

Briefs : Electronics & Computers
Magnetic Cooling of Nanoelectronic Chips

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...

Briefs : Aerospace
Stretchable Mesh for Cavity Noise Reduction

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...

Articles : Automotive
SAE WCX Preview: Experience the Evolution

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....

Briefs : Aerospace
Ground-Based Sensors Detect Aircraft Laser Strikes

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...

Briefs : Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Simplified Method for Uniformly Distributing Flow Within a Fluid Layer of a Multi-Layer Heat Exchanger

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...

Application Briefs : Imaging
Mixing 3D Printing Technologies Helps Optimize Products
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.

Briefs : Medical
Self-Powered, Paper-Based Devices for Medical Diagnostics

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...

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