June 2019

Special Reports: Transportation
Vehicle Electrification - June 2019

Demand for electric vehicles is accelerating, with several automakers announcing that their entire lineups will either be hybrid or all-electric by the 2020's. To help you keep pace with the rapid changes...

Products: Motion Control
Rotary Ball Spline

NB Corporation of America (Hanover Park, IL) released a rotary ball spline that can be used for both rotational and linear motion. Applications include SCARA robots, the...

Briefs: Mechanical & Fluid Systems

Researchers have developed a new and improved snake-inspired soft robot that is faster and more precise than its predecessor.

Briefs: Motion Control

In discussing fatigue life, it is important to distinguish between disc springs and conical spring washers, as they differ by design and intended usage. Conical spring washers are...

Articles: Mechanical & Fluid Systems

Employing fluid power to achieve mechanical motion can be implemented via hydraulics using uncompressible liquids or via pneumatics using compressible gasses; typically, air. The latter provides several...

Briefs: Mechanical & Fluid Systems

An ultra-low-power hybrid chip inspired by the brain could help give palm-sized robots the ability to collaborate and learn from their experiences. Combined with new generations of...

Briefs: Imaging

A new learning system improves a robot’s ability to mold materials into target shapes and make predictions about interacting with solid objects and liquids. The system, known as a...

Articles: Imaging

There are a number of ways to extract data from a production line. In factory automation, sensors are used in work cells to gather data for inspection or to trigger other devices. These sensors fall into...

Briefs: Transportation

NASA Goddard Space Flight Center developed gear bearing technology that combines gear and bearing functions into a single unit that significantly improves gear drives for electrical, internal combustion, and turbine motors. The...

Application Briefs: Manufacturing & Prototyping

EMAG L.L.C. is the U.S. subsidiary of a major German machine tool builder that specializes in machine tools for the production of automotive, off-highway, agricultural, and oil field...

Application Briefs: Mechanical & Fluid Systems

For wheelchair users, the feeling of uneven ground can seem all too familiar. Determined to make ride discomfort a thing of the past, Israel-based SoftWheel has completely reinvented the wheel for a...

Briefs: Test & Measurement

An interdisciplinary Northwestern University team has developed a pair of soft, flexible wireless sensors that replace the tangle of wire-based sensors that currently monitor babies in hospitals’...

Application Briefs: Wearables

Early wearable fitness monitoring devices were designed to perform a set of valuable but straightforward activities: tallying the number of steps we take daily, recording the number of hours we sleep,...

Briefs: Sensors/Data Acquisition

Researchers at the University of California, Irvine have developed a wearable, disposable respiration monitor that provides high-fidelity readings on a...

Articles: Sensors/Data Acquisition
Sensors Expo Preview 2019

The 2019 Sensors Expo and Conference will be held at the McEnery Convention Center, San Jose, CA from June 25 – 27. Both the expo and conference are excellent opportunities to get a good sense of important sensor trends. Among the wide variety of themes at the conference, some strike me as being very significant for...

Application Briefs: Test & Measurement

Smart agriculture, also known as precision agriculture, allows farmers to maximize yields using minimal resources such as water, fertilizer, and...

Briefs: Sensors/Data Acquisition

The difficulty in spotting minute amounts of disease circulating in the bloodstream has proven a stumbling block in the detection and treatment of cancers that advance stealthily with few...

Briefs: Electronics & Computers

Batteries with metallic lithium anodes offer enhanced efficiency compared to conventional lithium-ion batteries because of their higher capacity. However, safety concerns and a short lifespan stand in the way. To...

Briefs: Electronics & Computers

Stretchable electronics, which can be stretched, deformed and wrapped onto nonplanar curved surfaces, have attracted much attraction due to their...

Articles: Energy

We recently had a discussion with Sri Peruvemba, VP of Strategy at BeBop Sensors (Berkeley, CA), about the technology and applications for their two-dimensional fabric sensor material. I started by asking Sri...

Products: Sensors/Data Acquisition
Extreme Environment Displacement Sensors and Systems

The Measuring Division of Kaman Precision Products, Inc (Colorado Springs, CO) announces the availability of its Extreme Environment...

Application Briefs: Mechanical & Fluid Systems

Medical ventilation technology has come far since the original iron lung was first used more than 90 years ago. Using negative pressure to ventilate, the patient was...

Briefs: Sensors/Data Acquisition

Simon Fraser University and Swiss researchers are developing an eco-friendly, 3D printable solution for producing wireless Internet-of-Things (IoT) sensors that can be...

Briefs: Wearables

Graphene Flagship partner ICFO, based in Barcelona, Spain is developing graphene-based prototypes that aim to turn mobile phones into life saving devices. The first of these will allow...

Briefs: Internet of Things

Anew electromyography biofeedback device that is wearable and connects to novel smartphone games may offer people with incomplete paraplegia a more affordable, self-controllable therapy to enhance...

Briefs: Photonics/Optics
Using Laser Metal Printing to Cool Computer Chips

Traditionally, electronics are cooled using a heat sink that transfers the heat generated by the electronic system into the air or a liquid coolant. For the heat sink to work, it has to be attached to the CPU or the graphics processor via a thermal interface material such as thermal paste. It...

Briefs: Mechanical & Fluid Systems

Typical butterfly valves cannot seal at both ambient and cryogenic temperatures. At cryogenic temperatures, valves grow and shrink, changing critical dimensions such as distance between the disc and seat....

Briefs: Packaging & Sterilization

Extremity vascular injury results in bleeding and lack of blood flow beyond the site of vessel disruption (ischemia). Priorities when this occurs include hemorrhage control, management of life-threatening injuries, and...

Articles: Energy

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...

Briefs: Sensors/Data Acquisition

Light is widely used for communications, carrying phone conversations and video signals through fiber optic cables around the world in pulses composed of many photons. Single...

Briefs: Materials

Lithium batteries allow electric vehicles to travel several hundred miles on one charge. Their capacity for energy storage is well known — so is their tendency to occasionally...

Briefs: Electronics & Computers
Design Software Identifies a Product's Performance Tradeoffs

Designing any product — from complex car parts to wrenches — is a balancing act with conflicting performance tradeoffs. Making something lightweight, for instance, may compromise its durability.

Briefs: Wearables

Over the past decade, many researchers have been working on small, portable diagnostic devices based on chemical reactions that occur on paper strips. Many of these tests make use of...

Briefs: Wearables

Wearable devices have been limited to sensing signals either on the surface of the skin or right beneath it. A new wearable ultrasound patch non-invasively monitors blood pressure in arteries...

Briefs: Photonics/Optics

Microwave signals are ubiquitous in wireless communications but interact too weakly with photons. A technique was developed to fabricate high-performance optical microstructures using lithium niobate, a material...

Briefs: Electronics & Computers
Double-Fed Induction Linear Alternator

This technology was developed to address the limitations of traditional, single-fed linear alternators that require permanent magnets, adhesive bonding organics, and heavy iron laminations for flux control. They experience eddy-current losses and require electromagnetic interference protection. Furthermore,...

Briefs: Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Wood-Based Technology Creates Electricity from Heat

Researchers have transformed a piece of wood into a flexible membrane that generates energy from the same type of electric current (ions) on which the human body runs. This energy is generated using charged channel walls and other unique properties of the wood’s natural nanostructures. With...

Products: Test & Measurement
Code Generator

dSPACE, Wixom, MI, offers Version 4.4 of TargetLink code generator software that features controller modeling with MATLAB® code from MathWorks. It describes algorithms and...

Briefs: Materials
Battery Electrolyte Doubles Driving Range for Electric Vehicles

Conventional electrolytes used in lithium-ion batteries that power household electronics like computers and cellphones are not suitable for lithium-metal batteries. Lithium-metal batteries that replace a graphite electrode with a lithium electrode are the holy grail of energy...

Briefs: Materials

Directly converting electrical power to heat is easy; however, converting heat into electrical power is not as easy. To address this issue, a tiny silicon-based device was developed that can...

Briefs: Materials

The connection of plastics and metals poses a challenge due to the different physical properties of the two materials. All conventional joining options, such as bonds using adhesives or rivets,...

Briefs: Sensors/Data Acquisition

Back pain is inevitable with constrained posture over a number of hours. Permanent damage such as premature spine wear is not uncommon in people who do not adopt proper ergonomic...

Briefs: Software
Algorithm Predicts How Electromagnetic Waves Interact with Materials at the Smallest Scales

Magnetic materials can attract or repel each other based on their polar orientation — positive and negative ends attract each other, while two positives or two negatives repel. When an electromagnetic signal like a radio wave passes through such...

Briefs: Energy

Increase in bioethanol production throughout the US has led to an increase in the process coproduct — distiller’s grains with solubles (DGS). DGS can be used to feed...

5 Ws: Manufacturing & Prototyping
Who

Millions of people worldwide with type 1 diabetes.

Briefs: Motion Control
Improved Directed Flux Motor

Electromagnetic motors typically convert electrical energy into rotational mechanical energy and are employed across a wide array of applications. While motors represent relatively mature technology, practitioners continue to seek ways to enhance motor operation including a decrease in cost, drop in size/weight,...

Briefs: Transportation

Metal-air batteries are one of the lightest and most compact types of batteries but when not in use, they degrade quickly, as corrosion eats away at their metal electrodes. While...

Briefs: Test & Measurement

Microphones and stethoscopes are regularly used by physicians to detect sounds when monitoring physiological conditions. These monitors are...

Briefs: Energy

Researchers have developed a fundamentally new type of rotary electrical contact that addresses the two limitations of conventional brush/slip ring technology: 1) short operating lifetime due to sliding-contact...

Briefs: Electronics & Computers

In contrast with conventional light-emitting diodes (LEDs) that emit billions of photons simultaneously to form a steady stream of light, a single photon emitter (SPE) generates...

Briefs: Semiconductors & ICs
All-Fiber, Optically Controlled Optical Switch

An optical switch is a device where information-bearing light may be directed to one of several outputs. Prior art optical switches have mainly been integrated optical waveguide structures such as titanium-diffused (Ti) waveguides in lithium-niobate (LiNbO3) or gallium-arsenide (GaAs)...

Application Briefs: Sensors/Data Acquisition
Insight Photonic Solutions
Lafayette, CO
www.sweptlaser.com

A driver’s ability to see and avoid other vehicles is essential to safe driving. The same is true...

Briefs: Sensors/Data Acquisition

An ingestible pill was developed that, upon reaching the stomach, quickly swells to the size of a soft, squishy ping-pong ball big enough to stay in the stomach for an...

Briefs: Test & Measurement
Systems and Methods for Correcting Optical Reflectance Measurements

Optical spectroscopy can be used to determine the concentration of chemical species in samples. The amount of light absorbed by a particular chemical species is often linearly related to its concentration through Beer’s Law. For nontransparent materials such as powders,...

Briefs: Electronics & Computers

Used since 2013, electroceutical bandages — which use electrical impulses to treat medical issues — kill bacteria around a wound, allowing wounds to heal faster. In addition, if infection is...

Briefs: Test & Measurement

Researchers at NASA’s Johnson Space Center improved their Flash Thermography capabilities by incorporating transient and lock-in thermography. By...

Briefs: Materials

Silicon is a naturally occurring material commonly used as a semiconductor in electronic devices; however, researchers have exhausted the potential of devices with semiconductors made...

Briefs: Robotics, Automation & Control

Advanced driver-assistance systems and autonomous drive technologies increase the complexity of automotive integrated circuits (ICs), making it harder to ensure that...

Briefs: Electronics & Computers

Researchers have integrated two technologies widely used in applications such as optical communications, bio-imaging, and Light Detection and Ranging (LiDAR) systems to create a new infrared light-focusing...

Q&A: Manufacturing & Prototyping

Ian Y. Wong, Ph.D., is Assistant Professor of Engineering, Molecular Pharmacology, Physiology and Biotechnology at Brown University in Providence, RI. He and colleagues have...

Briefs: Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Self-Powered, Washable, Wearable Displays

Clothing usually is formed with textiles and has to be both wearable and washable for daily use; however, smart clothing has had a problem with its power sources and moisture permeability, which causes the devices to malfunction. To solve this problem, a textile-based, wearable display module technology...

Briefs: Electronics & Computers

Lithium-ion batteries commonly used in consumer electronics are notorious for bursting into flame when damaged or improperly packaged. Inspired by the unusual behavior of some liquids...

Briefs: Imaging

Researchers have created stretchable, rubbery semiconductors including rubbery integrated electronics, logic circuits, and arrayed sensory skins fully based on rubber materials. The semiconductors have...

Briefs: Lighting

Researchers devised a method in which running a light emitting diode (LED) with electrodes reversed was able to cool another device nanometers away. They harnessed the chemical potential...

Facility Focus: Test & Measurement

In October 1962, the U.S. Army Aeromedical Research Unit was established with a goal of providing specialized medical and physiological support to help close the gap between Army...

Briefs: Photonics/Optics
Micro UV Aerosol Detector

The detection of aerosols within fluid samples can be accomplished by optical methods. Such methods are useful in detecting potentially harmful aerosols such as biological aerosols that may be present after a biological agent attack or industrial accident. It is well known that biological molecules fluoresce when...

Articles: Connectivity

In recent years, the emergence of Industry 4.0 has been steadily transforming the manufacturing sector into an ultra-high-tech industry. Innovative smart technologies such as robotics,...

Briefs: Sensors/Data Acquisition
Flexible, Transparent, Wearable Bio-Patch

Silicon nanoneedle patches are currently placed between skin, muscles, or tissues where they deliver exact doses of biomolecules. Commercially available silicon nanoneedle patches are usually constructed on a rigid and opaque silicon wafer. The rigidity can cause discomfort and cannot be left in the body...

Products: Sensors/Data Acquisition

Maplesoft™, Waterloo, ON, Canada, released Maple™ 2019 software that analyzes, explores, visualizes, and solves math problems. It includes improvements to core functionality such as...

Blog: Sensors/Data Acquisition

While robots like the WildCat from Boston Dynamics reach speeds of just under 20 miles an hour, engineers from Georgia Tech have gone with a decidedly slower approach.

INSIDER: Electronics & Computers

Researchers at University of British Columbia Okanagan’s School of Engineering have developed a low-cost sensor that can be interlaced into textiles and composite materials. While the...

INSIDER: Sensors/Data Acquisition

What if drones and self-driving cars had the tingling “spidey senses” of Spider-Man? They might actually detect and avoid objects better because they would process...

INSIDER: Electronics & Computers

With a wide range of healthcare, energy, and military applications, stretchable electronics are valued for their ability to be compressed, twisted and conformed to uneven surfaces without losing...

INSIDER: Sensors/Data Acquisition

Computers and similar electronic devices have gotten faster and smaller over the decades as computer-chip makers have learned how to shrink individual transistors. Scientists’...

Question of the Week: Test & Measurement
Will 5G Impact How You Test and Design?

We see a huge ‘Fear of Missing Out’ as companies, or even nations, become the first to release new 5G technologies and products,” said National Instruments’ Charles Schroeder during last month’s NIWeek event.

Blog: Imaging
A new machine-vision tool extracts and reports valuable driving data from the standard traffic cameras already in place.
Podcasts: Robotics, Automation & Control
In this episode of Here's an Idea, we explore how candy manufacturers large and small turn to technology to support their newest, sweetest ideas.
INSIDER: Power

Advancements in zero-emission fuel cells could make the technology cheap enough to replace traditional gasoline engines in vehicles, according to researchers at...

INSIDER: Energy

By adding utility-scale solar farms throughout New York state, summer electricity demand from conventional sources could be reduced by up to 9.6% in some places. But...

INSIDER: Electronics & Computers

Solar power researchers have traditionally only used the power measurements from single residential solar photovoltaic (PV) systems to estimate the...

INSIDER: Electronics & Computers

Wearable devices that harvest energy from movement are not a new idea, but a material created at Rice University may make them more practical.

Question of the Week: Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Would You Use a Device That Bonds Metal and Plastic in Seconds?

The connection of plastics and metals poses a challenge due to the different physical properties of the two materials. A joining gun from Fraunhofer Institute bonds metal and plastic in seconds.

Blog: Sensors/Data Acquisition
An industry expert tells a Tech Briefs reader what's over the next hill regarding military UAVs.
News: Energy

Heavy-duty trucks, such as the 18-wheelers that transport many of the world's goods from farm or factory to market, are virtually all powered by diesel engines. They account for a...

News: Automotive

It's dark on the back road as a motorist speeds toward the intersection. Up ahead, the stop sign blends with the night and in seconds a deadly crash occurs. According to the U.S....

News: Automotive
Energy Monitor Can Find Electrical Failures Before They Happen

A new system devised by researchers at MIT can monitor the behavior of all electric devices within a building, ship, or factory, determining which ones are in use at any given time and whether any are showing signs of an imminent failure. When tested on a Coast Guard cutter, the...

News: Sensors/Data Acquisition
Renewable Oils for Use in Lubricants Synthesized

Engine gears, plane thrusters, refrigerator compressors, wind turbines – the list of important industrial machinery, agricultural equipment, transportation vessels, and home applications that depend on lubricants might be endless. These slick substances quite literally keep the world turning,...

Blog: Energy
A new water purifier works better because it takes the shape of the rose.
Blog: Test & Measurement
The bi-annual Laser World of Photonics exhibition begins today.
Question of the Week: Manufacturing & Prototyping
Will Microbots Like HAMR-E Improve Search and Rescue?

Researchers from Harvard University's Wyss Institute created a 1.5-gram microbot called HAMR-E.

News: Energy
The increased use of photonics has the potential to reduce CO2 emissions — by 3-billion tons.
Blog: Photonics/Optics
Many vendors at this year's event made their presence known with mega-sized booths.
INSIDER: Robotics, Automation & Control

On a factory floor, robots are programmed to stop momentarily if a person passes by. The robot often freezes in place long before a person crosses its path. While robots can predict where...

Blog: Photonics/Optics
Editor Bruce A. Bennett takes us through the unusual — and completely unexpected —at this year's LASER World of Photonics.
Blog: Data Acquisition
The key to IoT implementation: Democratizing big data, says SST's Christopher Chong.
Blog: Photonics/Optics
At Sensors Expo in San Jose, Innovusion (Los Altos, CA) debuted the Cheetah high-resolution, image-grade LiDAR system with long-distance capability.

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