January 2021

Research demonstrates the potential of a solar unit that can hang on the outside of a structure.
The chip could provide low-voltage power for small devices or sensors.
Facility Focus: Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Facility Focus: Stanford University School of Engineering
Stanford University’s School of Engineering has been at the forefront of innovation for nearly a century
Briefs: Manufacturing & Prototyping
Biocontainment Unit for Virus-Sized Particles
The unit could help healthcare workers caring for COVID-19 patients.
Briefs: Electronics & Computers
Next-Generation Computer Chip Has Two Heads
The chip combines two functions — logic operations and data storage — into a single architecture, paving the way to more efficient devices.
This device for harnessing terahertz radiation might enable self-powering implants, cellphones, and other portable electronics.
Briefs: Electronics & Computers
Supercool Mini-Thermometer
Applications include monitoring the temperature of processor chips in superconductor-based quantum computers, which must stay cold to work properly.

Brian Salazar and his UC Berkeley team have developed a new way to reinforce concrete with a polymer lattice, an advance that could rival other polymer-based enhancements and improve...

Applications include aerospace, automotive, commercial spaceflight, scuba diving equipment, and for first responders.
This supercapacitor promises storage, high power, and fast charging.
Briefs: Sensors/Data Acquisition
Autonomous HVAC System Measures Facial Temperature
The system turns faces into thermostats, providing more comfort with less energy.
The material, commonly found in house paint, can be used in a device to more efficiently process information.

Researchers have created the prototype for a handheld device to measure a biomarker for cancer. The device works much like the monitors that people with diabetes use to test their blood-sugar levels...

Briefs: Test & Measurement
Wearable Device Measures Cortisol in Sweat
This patch offers noninvasive and continuous monitoring of various biomarkers for a range of physiological conditions.
A malaria-test "bandage"; underwater navigation via sound; and a biodegrading, implantable sensor.
The patch uses painless, biodegradable microneedles.
The technology is inherently safer and more energy-dense than today’s lithium-ion batteries.
5 Ws: Sensors/Data Acquisition
5 Ws of the SoundWatch
The smartwatch app identifies sounds that a user is interested in and sends a friendly buzz and information about the sound.
Technology Leaders: Electronics & Computers
Processor Power and Energy Efficiency
Just like smartphones, the same trend of combining separate components into one device is also apparent in industrial automation.
Briefs: Electronics & Computers
Photonic Wireless System Powers Medical Implants
The system can recharge the internal battery of devices without invasive surgery or risky penetrative procedures.
Briefs: Test & Measurement
Handheld Device Diagnoses Skin Cancer
The device could reduce the need for painful biopsies by 50 percent.
Briefs: Electronics & Computers
Pill-Sized Heating Device for Diagnostic Testing
Combined with smartphone technology, the device becomes a portable system that can track, monitor, and diagnose infections.
The technology could allow deep-space exploration without running out of propellant.
Articles: Semiconductors & ICs
Software-Connected Wafer Level Reliability Test
As ICs continue to become smaller and chip complexity increases, manufacturers still need to ensure reliability to their customers.
Application Briefs: Imaging
Cameras Capture Asteroid Debris Retrieval
See how Space Dynamics Laboratory built the electronics for a three-camera suite onboard OSIRIS-REx.
This system provides low-cost monitoring for machine health with audio-based artificial intelligence.
This simple and inexpensive design achieves high-quality ozone measurements.
Products: Sensors/Data Acquisition
New on the Market: January 2021
Radar sensors, cameras, RF processing systems, and more.
Membranes that remove salt from water help split sea water into fuel.
The system is filled with a patient’s skin cells.
Briefs: Photonics/Optics
Platform for All-Optical Computing
Computations are done solely with beams of light.
The system enables measurement of active or passive microstrip line devices with DC probing capability.
The system uses off-the-shelf materials combined with ultraviolet lights to decontaminate N95 masks.
The battery could be used for drones, cars, or underwater applications at low temperatures.
Products: RF & Microwave Electronics
Product of the Month: January 2021 Tech Briefs
Modules from Pickering Interfaces simulate industrial control transceivers.
Special Reports: Photonics/Optics
Optics & Photonics Innovations - January 2021

An ultrafast camera that takes up to one trillion pictures per second...using light alone to levitate objects and propel spacecraft...the groundbreaking optics enabling the world's most powerful...

Special Reports: Electronics & Computers
Vehicle Electrification - January 2021

See how Ford, Volkswagen, Cadillac, and other manufacturers are pushing the boundaries of battery & EV design to compete with Tesla in a rapidly growing market, plus learn about the latest EV...

Question of the Week: Robotics, Automation & Control
Would You Use a 'Twining' Robotic Gripper?

Our lead INSIDER story today focused on a twining robotic gripper that its inventor says is especially effective at grabbing thin objects like pencils, paintbrushes, and even a straightened paperclip.

White Papers: Robotics, Automation & Control
Precise Positioning: Choose the Ideal Table for Your Equipment

The positioning mechanism you choose must perform with accuracy and precision while offering the right attributes for your application. Your options for positioning tables...

White Papers: Sensors/Data Acquisition
Learn Why Eddy-Current Sensors Are Now Replacing Inductive Sensors and Switches

Particularly where pressure, dirt, oil and high temperatures are present, inductive sensors based on eddy currents from Micro-Epsilon are suitable for all...

A survey of over 170 experts assessed the opportunities and challenges that drones, robots, and autonomous systems could have for urban nature and green spaces.
White Papers: Motion Control
Load Simulation for Test Benches

When designing a test bench, Particle brakes made by Merobel™ provide an excellent solution , because of their ability to generate a torque that is precise, variable and easy to control - at a reasonable...

White Papers: Robotics, Automation & Control
Cost Effective High Precision Linear & Rotary Axes

Andantex USA offers modular system building blocks consisting of Racks, Pinions, Planetary Reducers, and lubrication systems to build linear axes of any length and move weights from 100 to...

Question of the Week: Robotics, Automation & Control
Will Robotics and Automation Lead to a Greater Appreciation of Nature?

Our lead INSIDER story today focused on the environmental impacts of robotics and automation.

White Papers: Robotics, Automation & Control
Improve Performance and Reduce the Costs of Your Pneumatic Grippers

Pneumatic grippers are an integral part of pick-and-place, material transfer and part ejection applications, but traditional designs come with limitations. Fabco-Air SPG...

White Papers: Government
Critical Techniques for High-Speed A/D Converters in Real-Time Systems

To help define the meaning of “high-speed A/D” used in this handbook, we will be focusing primarily on A/D converters with sampling rates higher than 100 MHz. We will...

White Papers: Test & Measurement
High-Speed Real Time Recording Systems

In today’s world of high-speed A/D converters operating in the gigahertz range, real-time signal recording has become a challenging task that requires specialized hardware and intelligent application...

White Papers: Electronics & Computers
Putting FPGAs to Work in Software Radio Systems

FPGAs have become an increasingly important resource for software radio systems. Programmable logic technology now offers significant advantages for implementing software radio functions such...

White Papers: Electronics & Computers
High-Speed Switched Serial Fabrics Improve System Design

Well into its third decade of widespread deployment, VME adopted the new VXS gigabit serial interface, clearly representing the most significant leap in backplane data transfer rates...

White Papers: Defense
Software Defined Radio Handbook

SDR (Software-Defined Radio) has revolutionized electronic systems for a variety of applications including communications, data acquisition and signal processing.This handbook shows how DDCs (Digital...

White Papers: Defense
Putting VPX and Open VPX to Work

Before the advent of OpenVPX, designers of embedded systems took advantage of the extreme connectivity offered by VPX (VITA 46), but were faced with a virtually unlimited number of possible implementations....

White Papers: Data Acquisition
Strategies for Deploying Xilinx’s Zynq UltraScale+ RFSoC

Xilinx’s new RFSoC brings a powerful and unique solution for addressing some of the most demanding requirements of high bandwidth and high channel count system. This paper provides...

White Papers: Data Acquisition
Development Tactics and Techniques for Small Form Factor RF Signal Recorders

This paper describes the engineering considerations and design techniques used to develop a small form factor rugged recorder that can handle the extremely high...

A phenomenon first detected in the solar wind may help solve a long-standing mystery about the sun: why the solar atmosphere is millions of degrees hotter than...

Researchers from the University of Bristol’s Quantum Engineering Technology Labs (QET Labs) and Université Côte d‘Azur have made a new miniaturized...

The performance of flexible large-area organic photodiodes has advanced to the point that they can now offer advantages over conventional silicon photodiode...

Bandpass Filters

MidOpt® (Palatine, IL) introduced the BP450 Indigo Bandpass and the BN450 Narrow Indigo Bandpass, two new filters designed for multi-application use. The...

In a roundtable presentation at the virtual CES 2021, panelists said the COVID-19 pandemic has changed driving patterns and consumer preferences – and that those shifts are here to stay.
White Papers: Robotics, Automation & Control
Choosing the Best Type of Encoder For Your Application

This white paper describes the advantages and disadvantages of different types and configurations of encoders with a focus on devices using an Ethernet/IP interface.

White Papers: Manufacturing & Prototyping
Safeguard Your Supply Chain and Get to Market Fast!

The arrival of COVID-19 left many companies unable to fulfill market demand for weeks or months as they were impacted by supply shock, demand shock, or both. In some cases, new...

Podcasts: Materials
Here's an Idea: RepelWrap
Learn how RepelWrap began, and how the material can fend off drug-resistant bacteria, from MRSA to coronaviruses.
The non-contact method of curing leads to adhesives that can be activated on demand.
Question of the Week: Transportation
Has the Vehicle Become Your “Second Space?”

"Honestly, the car has become an office for some people just so they can get away from the noise of their house," said Carla Bailo at CES 2021 last week. "The sound [in the car] is great, and you can connect from anywhere."

White Papers: Aerospace
Enhance Corrosion Resistance of Metal Parts with Electropolishing

For critical metal parts made of stainless steels and other alloys, electropolishing is the preferred method for enhancing corrosion resistance.

White Papers: Motion Control
Advanced Power Conversion Technology Delivers Unrivaled Density, Efficiency and Performance

When converting 3-phase AC input power to an isolated and regulated DC output with power factor correction, the most common design methods use...

White Papers: Power
Increase Medical Equipment Safety & Reliability by Preventing Overloads & Short Circuits

Circuit protection devices serve two main purposes that are essential to medical equipment, safety and reliability, by disconnecting power in a circuit...

Inspired by the squid's color-changing chromatophore, Rutgers engineers set out to create an artificial one.
White Papers: Manufacturing & Prototyping
Laser Restructuring Enhances Electrode Performance and Durability

A new surface modification process enhances the properties of the metal alloys used for implantable medical electrodes. Called laser restructuring, this patented process...

White Papers: Test & Measurement
Electrical Safety & Compliance Testing for Appliance & Consumer Product Manufacturers

Electrical appliances, computers and peripherals, power tools and other devices found in the home and office environments must be tested to confirm...

White Papers: Test & Measurement
Vitrek Cable & Connector Test System Facilitates Multi-Point High Voltage/Current Testing

Hipot testing is critical in assuring compliance with a host of electrical safety standards and in confirming the assembled product is free from...

White Papers: Photonics/Optics
Advanced Light Cure Adhesives

Breakthroughs in adhesive technology enable light curing adhesives to cure under a visible light wavelength of 405 nanometers. Learn how these environmentally friendly adhesives can improve worker safety and...

White Papers: RF & Microwave Electronics
Electrically Conductive Adhesives Make the Right Connections

As electronic circuits become more complex, engineers are finding new ways to assemble and package them. Electrically conductive adhesives provide durable bonds with conductive...

White Papers: Defense
Flame Retardant Epoxies and Silicones Meet Critical Safety Requirements

Used in aircraft applications, epoxies and silicones must maintain their primary role as adhesives or coatings while exhibiting resistance to heat and flame in...

White Papers: RF & Microwave Electronics
Thermally Conductive Epoxies Optimize Electronic Assemblies

The use and selection process of thermally conductive epoxies can make or break your application. Too much heat can lead to component malfunction or premature component failure...

White Papers: Power
Potting Compounds Protect Electronic Circuits

Potting and encapsulation compounds are designed to completely enclose a component, module or PCB, which effectively shields the unit while providing structural support. There are a variety of...

White Papers: Materials
Protecting Chip on Board (COB) Devices with Glob Top Encapsulants

Glob top encapsulations are often preferred for their ability to protect chips without damaging fragile wires. They are formulated to exhibit specific physical properties such...

Question of the Week: Test & Measurement
Will We Make Vibration-Free Helicopters?

A Tech Briefs TV video features a test technology from the Army that’s informally known as a “Shaker.” The Multi-Degree of Freedom (MDOF) system will study the causes of vibrations in a helicopter’s many components and subcomponents. The Army researchers hope to use the conclusions of their study...

On-Demand Webinars: Automotive
Reducing the Cost of Quality in Automotive BiW

Automotive production relies on quality to maintain an automaker’s brand image within its customer base. But in the production process, suboptimal dimensional quality can lengthen lead...

If you're concerned that electric vehicles don't have the reliability to get you where you need to go, Penn State engineers are working on a battery for...

White Papers: Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Unique Method for Orifice Production

To produce accurate, repeatable orifices, all the variables that might influence the Cd Value (Coefficient of Discharge) must be controlled during production. This includes the orifice hole length, edges,...

White Papers: Design
Looking Out for Loops: Inductive Ground-Bounce Basics

Once your project rolls off our assembly lines, you are likely to do a bit of testing as you bring up your board. But a combination of bad design practices combined with bad testing...

INSIDER: Motion Control
T-REX Rover Looks to the Dark Side

The Tethered permanently shadowed Region EXplorer (T-REX) rover, designed and built by a team of Michigan Technological University students – is designed to provide reliable power and data to other...

INSIDER: Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Chemically Driven Wheels “Morph” Into Gears

University of Pittsburgh researchers have utilized a catalytic reaction that causes a two-dimensional, chemically coated sheet to spontaneously “morph” into a three-dimensional...

White Papers: Electronics & Computers
Corrosion Protection Without Anodization: Sol-gel Coatings for Aluminum Alloys

Aluminum and its alloys are widely chosen materials for several industrial sectors including automotive, aerospace, household appliances, marine, architecture,...

White Papers: Electronics & Computers
Degraded Visual Environment (DVE) Meeting the Challenge

Degraded Visual Environments (DVE) introduce fundamental challenges to the safety and operational capabilities of pilots and ground vehicle crews. Overcoming DVE challenges will demand...

The "polymer of squares” could one day enable the use of plastic products many times over.
The hard “coin,” could be used to make super-strength metal coatings or larger industrial components.
White Papers: Data Acquisition
The Ultimate Guide to PCB Hardware

From managing space to conductivity in your application, there are lots of factors to take into consideration when building electrical solutions. This guide will help you when designing data cabinets, home...

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