November 2018

Special Reports: Manufacturing & Prototyping
Robotics & Machine Vision - November 2018

Advances in robotics and machine vision are transforming the factory floor. To help you keep pace with the latest developments in industrial automation, we present this compendium of recent articles...

Briefs: Sensors/Data Acquisition
Photonic Communication Comes to Computer Chips

With novel optoelectronic chips and a new partnership with a top silicon-chip manufacturer, MIT spinout Ayar Labs aims to increase speed and reduce energy consumption in computing, starting with...

Researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and Washington University in St. Louis have developed a surgical camera inspired by the eye of the morpho butterfly. The...

The underwater environment may appear to the human eye as a dull-blue, featureless space. However, a vast landscape of polarization patterns appear when viewed through a camera that is...

Reliability and longevity directly impact the cost of using Q-switched, diode pumped, solid state, ultraviolet lasers in industrial applications. Damage to the intracavity harmonic crystal is...

MIT researchers have developed novel photography optics that capture images based on the timing of reflecting light inside the optics instead of the traditional approach...

Attitude detection is a crucial element in aircraft and spacecraft navigation. The motion of an aircraft consists of a translational component (motion of its center of mass with respect to...

FUTURE ANTENNA MINIATURIZATION MECHANISM: MAGNETOELECTRIC ANTENNAS Hwaider Lin and Nian-Xiang Sun, Northeastern University, Boston, MA USA

Antenna...

INVISIBLE GLASS

Brookhaven National Laboratory’s Center for Functional Nanomaterials (CFN) has developed a method for creating surface nanotextures that effectively...

IMPLANTABLE SENSOR TECHNOLOGY PLATFORM FOR ADVANCED PROSTHETIC CONTROL

The Implantable Myoelectric Sensor (IMES) system transmits localized myoelectric signals...

DON’T MELT. MELD.™

The MELD™ technology enables additive manufacturing (AM) of metals. This patented process is unique because there is no...

DETECTING PLASTIC LANDMINES

Hidden PFM-1 anti-personnel landmines are unexploded ordnance (UXO) devices that pose a difficult challenge to conventional...

ISCAD — ELECTRICAL DRIVE WITH 0% RARE EARTHS, 25% HIGHER DRIVING RANGE, AND 100% SAFETY

Conventional electrical machines suffer from the problem...

ALUMINUM-POWERED ELECTRICITY GENERATION

Aluminum has an incredibly high energy density — double that of gasoline and an order of magnitude greater than...

AEROGELS FROM ENVIRONMENTAL WASTES FOR NOVEL ENGINEERING APPLICATIONS Associate Prof. Hai Minh Duong and Prof. Nhan Phan-Thien, National University of Singapore...

Cellphones, laptops, tablets, and many other electronics rely on their internal metallic circuits to process information at high speed. Current metal fabrication techniques...

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

Briefs: Medical
Wireless System Pinpoints Location of Ingestible Implants

An “in-body GPS” system was developed that can pinpoint the location of ingestible implants inside the body using low-power wireless signals. These implants could be used as tiny tracking devices on shifting tumors to help monitor their slight movements. The system, called ReMix, can...

Briefs: Materials
Piezoelectric Resonator with Two Layers

Microelectromechanical systems (MEMS) filters have advantages in being able to reduce the size, weight, and power required when used as part of electronic systems such as radios; however, MEMS-type filters have limitations. For example, thickness MEMS-type filters (e.g., thickness-extensional mode...

A new method increases the service life of concrete structures by reducing the infiltration rates of deleterious ions. The key is a nano-sized additive that slows down penetration of...

Who

The Safe Impact Resistant Electrolyte (SAFIRE) fire-resistant battery can be used in consumer electronics such as cellphones, in drones and cars, and in soldiers’ packs.

Articles: Test & Measurement
Smart Sensor Technology for the IoT

Internet of Things (IoT) applications — whether for city infrastructures, factories, or wearable devices — use large arrays of sensors collecting data for transmission over the Internet to a central,...

Briefs: Medical
Kit Containing Stem Cells and Cytokines for Use in Attenuating Immune Responses

Stem cells have two distinct characteristics that distinguish them from other cell types. First, they are unspecialized and can self-renew for long periods without significant changes in their general properties. Second, under certain physiologic or experimental...

The Create the Future Design Contest was launched in 2002 by Tech Briefs Media Group (publishers of Tech Briefs magazine) to help stimulate and reward engineering innovation. Since...

Most metals, with the notable exception of gold, tend to oxidize when exposed to air and water. This reaction — which produces rust on iron, tarnish on silver, and verdigris on copper or...

Briefs: Sensors/Data Acquisition
A Biologically Inspired Method of Improving Systems and Survivability Through Self-Sacrifice

In human beings, the self-destruction behavior of human body cells is considered as an intrinsic safety mechanism of the human body. It seems that the lifetime of a cell is programmed, and that cells know when to commit suicide. This self-destruction is...

Articles: Test & Measurement
Products of Tomorrow: November 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...

Thermography Systems

Advanced Thermal Solutions, Norwood, MA, announced the tvLYT liquid crystal thermography system that provides a portable solution for temperature measurement of...

Eagles can store energy in their feet without having to continuously contract their muscles to then jump high or hold on to prey. New materials have been created that can store energy this way. The...

Many low-cost sensors (or cameras) may spatially or electronically under-sample an image. Similarly, cameras taking pictures from great distances, such as aerial photos, may not obtain detailed...

Heart disease is the leading cause of death for both men and women, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). In the U.S., one in every four deaths is a result of heart...

Robots that are adapted to respond to physical human-robot interaction (pHRI) traditionally treat such interactions as disturbances, and resume their original behaviors when the...

Briefs: Aerospace
Synthesis and Development of Polyurethane Coatings Containing Fluorine Groups for Adhesive Applications

Accumulation of insect strikes on the leading edge of airplane wings is a more serious problem than one might realize. Depending on the magnitude, such accumulation changes the aerodynamic characteristics of the wing, causing a change from...

Briefs: Test & Measurement
Cell-Sized Robots Sense Their Environment

Colloids — insoluble particles or molecules anywhere from a billionth to a millionth of a meter across — are so small they can stay suspended indefinitely in a liquid or even in air. Robots about...

Briefs: Electronics & Computers
Inorganic Compound for Use in Quantum Computing

Quantum computers will be able to solve problems well beyond the reach of existing computers while working much faster and consuming vastly less energy. An inorganic compound was developed that...

Professor Hopkins and University of Virginia colleagues — in collaboration with materials scientists at Penn State, the University...

Briefs: Materials
Bacteria-Fighting Polymers Created with Light

Hundreds of polymers that could kill drug-resistant superbugs in novel ways can be produced and tested using light. The new method may help identify antimicrobials for a range of applications from personal care to coatings.

Current density is the amount of electrical current per cross-sectional area at a given point. As transistors in integrated circuits become smaller and smaller, they need higher and higher...

Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL, Liver-more, CA) was established in 1952 at the height of the Cold War to meet urgent national security needs by advancing nuclear weapons...

Fabricated using inexpensive and widely available organic pigments used in printing inks and cosmetics, an artificial retina was developed that consists of tiny pixels like a digital camera sensor on...

Briefs: Test & Measurement
A Robust Waveguide Millimeter-Wave Noise Source

A noise source is an enabling technology for passive millimeter-wave remote sensing applications such as atmospheric sounding, and precipitation and ice cloud measurements. NASA Goddard Space Flight Center has developed a packaged noise source that will allow calibration of the front end at the...

Traditional cameras — even those on the thinnest cellphones — cannot be truly flat due to their optics. The lenses require a certain shape and size in order to function. A new camera design...

One current method to build a semiconductor superlattice — materials comprised of alternating layers of ultra-thin, two-dimensional sheets only one or a...

COMSOL, Burlington, MA, introduced COMSOL Multiphysics® version 5.4 that features the new COMSOL Compiler™ for creating standalone simulation applications and digital twins for the...

MIT researchers have designed an optical filter on a chip that can process optical signals from across an extremely wide spectrum of light at once, something never before...

In order to make ultrafast pulses accessible to the broadest possible field of applications, Coherent has been implementing a comprehensive program of design methodologies, materials...

Optical Monitoring System

The SpectraLock Optical Monitoring System from Eddy Company (Apple Valley, CA) provides in-situ monitoring and deposition rate control to produce...

An advanced, highly compact thermal camera that traces its heritage to one now flying on NASA's Landsat 8 has been mounted in a corner of NASA's...

Motion capture (Mocap) is a technique used in the film industry to digitally track a human actor's movements and precisely transfer those motions to an animated figure. But it has other applications as...

Articles: Test & Measurement
Inside Story: S. Himmelstein and Company

S. Himmelstein and Company (Hoffman Estates, IL) has been designing and manufacturing torque measurement transducers and instrumentation since 1960. The company’s products offer significant...

For an electric-aircraft future, it's not enough to just change components. You have to rethink design, our expert tells one reader.
News: Medical
3D Imaging Opens Door to Fascinating Leaf Complexity

The field of plant science is in the process of being profoundly transformed by new imaging and modeling technologies. These tools are allowing scientists to peer inside the leaf with a clarity and resolution inconceivable a generation ago.

News: Photonics/Optics
CT Expands Possibilities of Imaging Ancient Remains

Researchers in Sweden using computed tomography (CT) have successfully imaged the soft tissue of an ancient Egyptian mummy's hand down to a microscopic level. Non-destructive imaging of human and animal mummies with X-rays and CT is a boon to the fields of archaeology and paleopathology. They...

News: Medical
Chemists Create Circular Fluorescent Dyes for Imaging

University of Oregon chemists have created a new class of fluorescent dyes that function in water and emit colors based solely on the diameter of circular nanotubes made of carbon and hydrogen. The six-member team is now exploring their potential use in biological imaging.

News: Photonics/Optics
Enhanced 3D Imaging Advances Brain Treatments

Researchers have developed a combination of commercially available hardware and open-source software, named PySight, to improve rapid 2D and 3D imaging of neuronal activity in the living brain and other tissues. PySight serves as an add-on for laser scanning microscopes. Such an advancement in...

Question of the Week: Imaging
Will AR and VR Help Automotive Manufacturers?

A reader recently asked our automotive expert: “How will the use of augmented reality and virtual parts impact the role of automotive parts manufacturers, such as PCB manufacturers, in prototyping and production?”

Professor Hadas Kress-Gazit tells Tech Briefs about the "great promise" of autonomous modular robots.

Telecentric Lenses

Edmund Optics (EO) (Barrington, NJ) has introduced TECHSPEC® MercuryTL™ Liquid Lens Telecentric Lenses. These integrated lenses utilize the unique...

In the quest for abundant, renewable alternatives to fossil fuels, scientists have sought to harvest the sun’s energy through “water splitting,” an artificial photosynthesis...

New lead halide perovskite nanocrystals developed by researchers from NUS Chemistry could soon mean cheaper X-rays and computerized tomography (CT) scans involving lower levels...

Tissue repair following injury or during surgery is conventionally performed with sutures and staples, which can cause tissue damage and complications, including...

A team of researchers at Washington University in St. Louis was the first to successfully record environmental data using a wireless photonic sensor resonator with a...

Developing automated systems that track occupants and self-adapt to their preferences is a major next step for the future of smart homes. When you walk into a room, for instance, a system...

IoT devices need a wireless means of communications to be truly seamless so they can be easily integrated in...

Researchers from the National University of Singapore (NUS) are trying to solve the problem of plastic waste by converting it into something useful: Aerogels.
Question of the Week: Electronics & Computers
Will Stretchable, Printable Solar Cells Catch On?

A Rice University lab is making solar cells that are stretchable, printable, and paintable. Watch the demo on Tech Briefs TV.

This week's Question: Will Stretchable, Printable Solar Cells Catch On?

Share your thoughts in the comments section below.

A reader asks our industry experts: "How good are the simulation models for automotive ADAS sensors?"
INSIDER Product: Electronics & Computers
IoT Security Toolkit

Icon Labs (West Des Moines, IA) recently announced its Floodgate IoT Security Toolkit. The solution enables IoT edge devices to be easily and securely integrated with IoT cloud platforms, including Verizon’s ThingSpace...

Question of the Week: Test & Measurement
Can ‘The Ocean Cleanup’ Clean Up the Ocean?

The Ocean Cleanup, a nonprofit effort begun by Dutch inventor Boyan Slat, wants to clean up 50% of “The Great Pacific Garbage Patch” in five years, with the aim of a 90% reduction by 2040.

Using a 600-meter long floater, or collection platform, called System 001, the Cleanup technology...

Professor Hart spoke with Tech Briefs about why his team's new battery may someday find its way beyond niche applications and into electric vehicles.
Podcasts: Energy
Here's an Idea: Garbage!
In this episode of Here’s an Idea™, we talk with researchers who are finding small — and sometimes even fun — ways to take out all the trash.
InSight project manager Tom Hoffman spoke with Tech Briefs about the importance of digging deep in our knowledge of Mars.

Since the first airplane took flight, virtually every aircraft has flown with the help of moving parts such as propellers, turbine blades, or fans that produce a persistent, whining buzz. MIT has built...

An FMEA provides a step-by-step way of identifying product failures. Carl Carlson explains just how long the process takes.
Question of the Week
Will Self-Erasing Chips Catch On?

Webcasts

Upcoming Webinars: Automotive

Metal Injection Molding’s Role in Automotive

Upcoming Webinars: Materials

Technical Ceramics: The Powerhouse of Advanced Materials

Upcoming Webinars: Software

PPAP Reviews Using AI and Machine Learning

Upcoming Webinars: Motion Control

Customizing Actuators Using COTS Drive Components for Martian...

Upcoming Webinars: Robotics, Automation & Control

2020 Create the Future Contest Awards

Upcoming Webinars: RF & Microwave Electronics

Advancement of Spectrum Analysis Techniques for Tracking,...

Videos