June 2021

Question of the Week: Electronics & Computers
Will Rectennas Reduce Our Need for Batteries?

Rectennas act a bit like your car antenna. Instead of picking up radio waves, however, the tiny optical devices absorb light and convert it into power. The rectenna featured in today’s top story, generated half a nanowatt – a small amount of power that its inventors hope to increase.

Special Reports: Sensors/Data Acquisition
ADAS/Connected Car - June 2021

Today's Advanced Driver Assistance Systems (ADAS) and connected cars are paving the way for tomorrow's automated vehicles. To help you keep pace with the latest technology developments, we present this...

Application Briefs: Motion Control
New Hybrid Concept for Actuating Subsea Valves
A valve actuator has deep-sea applications.
Articles: Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Linear Bearings: What You Need to Know
Learn the distinct forms that linear bearings take, and where the bearings are being used today.
The system could one day replace LiDAR and cameras in automated manufacturing, biomedical imaging, and autonomous driving.
Designers who must sense motor position, speed, or acceleration have a lot of choices, including resolvers, optical encoders, and Hall-effect devices.
Briefs: Manufacturing & Prototyping
Swimming Living Robots Can Self-Train
Biobots based on muscle cells can swim at unprecedented velocities.
Exoskeleton legs are capable of thinking and making control decisions on their own using artificial intelligence technology.
Articles: Automotive
Automated X-Ray Inspection
Faster inline CT inspections makes it possible to inspect far greater numbers of circuit boards.
Products: Manufacturing & Prototyping
New Products: June 2021 Motion Design
Encoders, quick disconnects, automation systems, and more.
Briefs: Robotics, Automation & Control
Chemically Driven Wheels “Morph” Into Gears
A catalytic reaction causes a two-dimensional, chemically coated sheet to spontaneously morph into a three-dimensional gear.
Briefs: Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Nanosized Foldable Robots
The machines fold themselves within 100 milliseconds and can flatten and refold thousands of times.
Briefs: Sensors/Data Acquisition
Air-Powered Robot Needs No Electronics
The walking quadruped is controlled and powered by pressurized air.
The design could contribute to various applications in the robotics field such as smart prosthetics and human-robot interaction.
Application Briefs: Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Next-Generation MEMS IMUs — High Performance, Scalable
Editor Ed Brown explores what’s ahead for MEMS automobile navigation systems.
One of the final hurdles to hydrogen power is securing a safe method for detecting hydrogen leaks.
Color changes of gold nanoparticles under the skin reveal concentration changes of substances in the body.
Products: Data Acquisition
New Products: June 2021 Sensor Technology
High-precision medical sensors, battery-cell mappers, signal conditioners, and more.
Technology Leaders: Test & Measurement
RF Wireless Power Unleashes the Ubiquity of Sensor Networks
AI will only reach its full potential when it can be fed with a constant stream of data from a plentitude of diverse sources.
Researchers at KU Leuven have succeeded for the first time in measuring brain waves directly via a cochlear implant.
Technology Leaders: Sensors/Data Acquisition
Smart Batteries Include Force and Pressure Sensing
Ultra-thin piezoresistive sensors can be used in both R&D and as embedded components to develop safer, longer-lasting lithium-ion battery technologies.
Application Briefs: Imaging
Smart Sensors Are Improving Medical Care

Over the last 75 years, sensors have played an increasingly significant part in the advancement of medicine.

Application Briefs: Sensors/Data Acquisition
Next-Generation MEMS Multi-Gas Sensing
The MPS Flammable Gas Sensor can detect and identify the concentrations of 12 of the most common combustible gases,
Articles: Sensors/Data Acquisition
What’s New in MEMS Sensors for Wearables
MEMS sensors have been around for a long time, but requests from the market for new applications are driving upgrades in the technology.
Recent advances could make it feasible to deploy networks of methane sensors to detect this greenhouse gas at large facilities.
Briefs: Transportation
A Better Way to Measure Acceleration
Researchers have developed a millimeter-thick accelerometer.
Sensors play a pivotal role in solving critical business challenges.
The LiDAR-based system could “see through” objects to warn of potential hazards without distracting the driver.
Applications include remote sensing, laser spectroscopy, and gas analysis.
This technology bends light more efficiently, enabling more immersive augmented reality display systems.
These tiny detectors could record characteristics of light such as color, polarity, and angle.
Complete integrated circuits with more than 1,000 organic electrochemical transistors can be screen-printed.
Briefs: Electronics & Computers
AI System Discovers New Material
The algorithm identified a new compound potentially useful for photonic devices and biologically inspired computers.
The transistors enable power converters to perform at substantially improved efficiencies, especially in high-power applications.
Technology Leaders: Electronics & Computers
Machine Control Power Quality and Surge Protection
You may not be able to see them, but power anomalies that originate within your automated control system are costing you expensive downtime.
New autonomous robotic devices can survey hazardous or difficult-to-reach sites faster than humans.
This tool could help surgeons better treat tumors and brain diseases.
Briefs: Manufacturing & Prototyping
Software Improves Accuracy of 3D-Printed Parts
The software could help reduce cost and waste for companies using additive manufacturing to mass-produce parts in factories.
Movements of individual particles of light are reconstructed to see through clouds, fog, and other obstructions.
Products: Data Acquisition
New on the Market: June 2021
Vision systems, signal generators, AC-DC converters, and more.
Application Briefs: Materials
Airless Alloy Tire Has NASA Roots
The SuperElastic Tire — a NASA Glenn innovation — can be used on both Earth and Mars.
Facility Focus: Photonics/Optics
Facility Focus: University of California, Berkeley
Berkeley’s academic research reflects pressing global challenges in the areas of health, energy, and the environment.
Briefs: Electronics & Computers
Polymer-Based Electrical Insulation for Circuits
The new material could help put more power in smaller microchips.
Briefs: Manufacturing & Prototyping
Biodegradable Displays for Sustainable Electronics
Thanks to its flexibility and adhesion, the biodegradable display can be worn directly on the hand.
The technology could boost quantum computers and other superconducting electronics.
Briefs: Electronics & Computers
High Bus Voltage Stepper Motor Systems
New high bus voltage stepper motor systems avoid the complexity and expense of servo motors.
Using gold nanomaterials, this disk can hold data securely for more than 600 years.
Briefs: Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Mode I Fracture Testing Apparatus
The device uses load frames to test bonded structures in aerospace, automotive, defense, and energy storage applications.
Briefs: Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Square Structural Joint with Robotic Assembly Tool
Applications include portable aerospace structures and terrestrial structures such as cleanrooms and field hospitals.
This work could lead to much more robust devices that continue to operate in spite of damage.
Briefs: Aerospace
LogFire
The software automatically checks mission operations logs.
Briefs: Automotive
Synapse-Like Phototransistor
The technology could help computers process visual information more like the human brain.
The reusable mask would include a heated copper mesh powered by a battery and surrounded by insulating neoprene.
Technology Leaders: Electronics & Computers
Supercapacitors Go Hybrid for Increased Performance and Efficiency
Learn about the properties of each capacitor option, and their ideal applications.
Briefs: Sensors/Data Acquisition
Radar Enables Touch-Free Monitoring of Heart Sounds
Mobile radar devices could replace standard stethoscopes.
The inexpensive cameras are easy to produce.
5 Ws: Mechanical & Fluid Systems
5 Ws of the Sunlight-Powered Water Filter
The invention could help solve the problem of providing clean water off the grid or where low-cost, non-powered water purification is needed.
A smartphone, combined with nanoscale porous silicon, enables inexpensive, simple, home diagnostics.
See how simulation software is being used to is automate the test process for vehicle rotors.
Briefs: Electronics & Computers
Using Neural Networks for Faster X-Ray Imaging
Artificial intelligence is used to decode X-ray images faster, which could aid innovations in medicine, materials, and energy.

Due to the chemical stability and durability of industrial polymers, plastic waste does not easily degrade in landfills and is often burned, which produces carbon dioxide and other hazardous gases. In...

The promise of personalized medicine involves a simple device that keeps each person apprised of their level of health, identifies even trace amounts of undesirable biomarkers...

Articles: Green Design & Manufacturing
Products of Tomorrow: June 2021
Head-up displays, health-monitoring sensors from NASA, and a pollen sponge.
Nearly 100% of all-carbon-based transistors are reclaimed while retaining future functionality of the materials.
The device, powered by ultrasound waves, could help doctors monitor the health of transplanted organs and provide early warning of potential transplant failure.
The new photonic architecture could transform digital communications, artificial intelligence, and quantum computing.
Briefs: Robotics, Automation & Control
WiFi RSSI Sensor Tracker for the ISS
This software could also be used for indoor navigation assistance for the visually impaired.
NASA Spinoff: Robotics, Automation & Control
Astronaut Experience Inspires Single-Handed Drone Flight Controller
The interface enables one person to accomplish tasks that previously required two sets of hands.
Application Briefs: Aerospace
Robotic Arm Will Head to the Moon
The Cold Operable Lunar Deployable Arm (COLDArm) is a first-of-its-kind robotic technology.
Products: Manufacturing & Prototyping
Product of the Month: June 2021 Tech Briefs
A new power supply from Bicker Elektronik has a backup battery that bridges power failures, brownouts, and flicker.
Special Reports: Connectivity
Smart Factory/IIoT - June 2021

Factories are getting "smarter" and more automated by the day, thanks to advances in AI, connectivity, controls, and sensors. In this compendium of recent articles from the editors of Tech Briefs and Sensor...

White Papers: Materials
Viton™ Fluoroelastomers: Selecting The Right Elastomer Makes All The Difference

As innovations in automotive design lead to hotter-running engines and increasingly challenging environments, under-the-hood material selection for...

Blog: Electronics & Computers
'Self-Aware' Sensing Material Powers Itself
A "self-aware," self-powering material can be used in heart stents, bridges, and even space.
Blog: Sensors/Data Acquisition
A Robotic 'Digger Finger' Senses Buried Items
The technology uses tactile sensing to identify objects underground.
Question of the Week: Green Design & Manufacturing
Will Recyclable Electronics Catch On?

Our June issue of Tech Briefs features a completely recyclable transistor from Duke University. The fully functional semiconductor is made out of three carbon-based inks that can be easily printed onto paper or other flexible, environmentally friendly surfaces.

White Papers: Manufacturing & Prototyping
A Guide to Ball Grid Arrays

The ball grid array (BGA) is a surface-mount chip package that is used to mount embedded devices (e.g., microprocessors) by melting balls of solder between the face of the device and the circuit board. Unlike the...

White Papers: Imaging
Automated Optical Inspection (AOI): 101

Automated Optical Inspection (AOI) is a process that uses digital cameras to inspect every square millimeter of your printed circuit board for defects and errors. In concert with human inspection, AOI...

White Papers: Electronics & Computers
High-Reliability PCB Design Tips for Aerospace and other Harsh Environments

Designing for reliability involves a wide array of design choices, material selections, and carefully controlled manufacturing processes. Take a deep dive into how...

White Papers: Manufacturing & Prototyping
3D Scanning Boosts Accuracy and Efficiency of Bladed Disk Milling Process

Based in Ufa, Russia, Technopark Aviation Technologies – a provider of educational and scientific research and engineering services – worked closely with one of...

White Papers: Test & Measurement
50% Faster Turbine Blade Inspection

Checking critical dimensions of complex, high-volume parts can be difficult and time consuming, particularly when it’s necessary to conduct checks on 100% of parts manufactured.

White Papers: Manufacturing & Prototyping
Renishaw Reduces Machining Time for Aerospace Impeller Manufacturer

Honeywell Aerospace produces a large number of the impellers and blisks used in commercial airplanes. The impellers, which are essentially radial and axial compressors, rely...

White Papers: Motion Control
RESOLUTE™ Encoders Make RF Antenna Positioning Accuracy and Resolution 100 Times Better

Pacific Antenna Systems (PAS) designs, fabricates, and manufactures antenna systems that use radio frequency (RF) ranging from 1 to 110 GHz....

White Papers: Aerospace
Alloys for Aerospace

Since the beginning of commercial jet travel and space exploration, Ulbrich has been providing high-quality precision rolled alloys to the aerospace industry. As commercial and defense aviation advance, so does Ulbrich's...

On-Demand Webinars: Automotive
Get More Out of Your EVs with Thermoplastics

Despite all their benefits, electric vehicles also bring some challenges to consumers, including charging time, battery range, and safety. Manufacturers, in turn, need components that are durable and safe while delivering high performance. When considering high-voltage and structural...

White Papers: Test & Measurement
NVIS Measurement of Displays and Panel Graphics

For NVIS measurements, it is critical that the extremely high-intensity differences between the visible and near infrared spectral ranges are measured correctly (typically 380 to 930 nm). This...

White Papers: Electronics & Computers
Multispectral Imaging Systems for Space, Military and Commercial Applications

Multiphoton imaging techniques and camera systems are serving industries with immediate definition improvements for a wide range of applications. Advanced devices...

White Papers: Defense
A Shapeable Moisture Adsorber Ideal for Restricted Spaces

H2OLock pressed desiccants provide a single solution to both moisture and durability concerns in aerospace, defense, optics, and industrial products. A moisture adsorber...

White Papers: Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Magnet Valves for Rapid Decompression

When transporting sealed containers by air, protecting against rapid decompression is a constant concern. Traditionally, spring-actuated valves have been used to address this design challenge....

A collaboration led by Cornell University (Ithaca, NY) used X-ray nanoimaging to gain an unprecedented view into solid-state electrolytes, revealing previously undetected crystal...

Scientists at the U.S. Department of Energy’s Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (Richland, WA) have shown that low-cost organic compounds hold promise...

North Carolina State University engineers continue to improve the efficiency of a flexible device worn on the wrist that harvests heat energy from the human body to monitor health.

A sustainable, powerful micro-supercapacitor may be on the horizon. Until now, these high-capacity, fast-charging energy storage devices have been limited by the...

On-Demand Webinars: Green Design & Manufacturing
Next-Generation Specialty Fluids for Industrial Critical Cleaning: What You Need to Know

As the world transitions to environmentally preferred solutions to achieve net zero carbon emissions, regulatory pressure is starting to grow around the use of TCE (trichloroethylene) and nPB (n-propyl bromide) for vapor degreaser cleaning. In this...

White Papers: Manufacturing & Prototyping
Your Quick Guide to Customizing Access Hardware

In this Quick Guide you will learn how to choose the right Access Hardware solution. Choose your lock type, then decide to specify Inserts, Housing and the Cam. We’re flexible, so it’s your...

On-Demand Webinars: Automotive
Commercial Vehicles: The Real Home for High-Level Autonomy

The realization that commercial vehicles and off-road equipment – not passenger vehicles – are the logical starting point for implementing higher levels of automation is setting in. Established routes along long stretches of highway, and easily geofenced areas such as ports...

White Papers: Photonics/Optics
Fiber Optic Rotary Joints Add a Spin to Sensing, Mobile, and Robotic Fiber Systems

To the passing optical signals, fiberoptic rotary joints (FORJs) are nothing more than fiber connectors, which provide connection between one or multiple...

White Papers: Defense
How to Make Software Faster, Safer, Secure in Regulated Environments?

The race for innovation and cybersecurity in our hyper-connected world has led most organizations to adopt DevSecOps methodologies in their software development and...

White Papers: Imaging
Learn to Design Advanced Industrial Imaging Solutions

Download our FREE comprehensive tutorials on designing industrial imaging solutions with leading-edge technology from Avnet, Xilinx and ON Semiconductor. The application notes cover...

Upcoming Webinars: Aerospace
Battery & Electrification Summit
The online Battery & Electrification Summit offers two days of expert insight, innovation, and emerging applications for design engineers and managers.
The Prediction Model for Flashover, or P-Flash, estimates where flashover explosions could occur.

The automotive industry is revolutionizing vehicle design and production. Designers and engineers are reimagining everything from the wheels up. This includes the rear...

White Papers: Software
How Data Analytics is Paving the Way to Zero Blindspots for the Automotive Industry

This is where NI’s end-to-end lifecycle analytics solution can accelerate the digital transformation in the automotive industry.

Physicists from the University of Sussex have developed an extremely thin, large-area semiconductor surface source of terahertz, composed of just a...

Atomically thin materials are a promising alternative to silicon-based transistors; now researchers can connect them more efficiently to other chip elements.

After the optical frequency comb made its debut as a ruler for light, spinoffs followed, including the “astrocomb” to measure starlight and a radar-like comb system to...

Engineers at the University of California San Diego have developed a soft, stretchy skin patch that can be worn on the neck to continuously track blood pressure and...

Podcasts: Robotics, Automation & Control
Here's an Idea: Surgery Robots
In this episode of Here’s an Idea, we speak to three researchers who are finding ways to automate surgical tasks, from suturing,to spotting tumors.
Question of the Week: Power
Will Better Sensors Lead to Greater Adoption of Hydrogen Power?

One of the final hurdles to hydrogen power is securing a safe method for spotting hydrogen leaks. A sensor, featured in the June issue of Sensor Technology, has a greater sensitivity than other detectors.

On-Demand Webinars: Automotive
Best Practices for Quality Assurance in Automotive SPICE

Quality Assurance in Automotive SPICE or SUP1 may appear to be a throwback to the old days of assessing standards in Quality. In fact, reading the Automotive SPICE standard and understanding the language is the first challenge for those trying to learn ASPICE. What do you mean by...

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