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: Communications
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: Mechanical & Fluid Systems
A valve actuator has deep-sea applications.
Articles: Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Learn the distinct forms that linear bearings take, and where the bearings are being used today.
Briefs: Manufacturing & Prototyping
The system could one day replace LiDAR and cameras in automated manufacturing, biomedical imaging, and autonomous driving.
Articles: Motion Control
Designers who must sense motor position, speed, or acceleration have a lot of choices, including resolvers, optical encoders, and Hall-effect devices.
Briefs: Motion Control
Biobots based on muscle cells can swim at unprecedented velocities.
Briefs: Imaging
Exoskeleton legs are capable of thinking and making control decisions on their own using artificial intelligence technology.
Articles: Manufacturing & Prototyping
Faster inline CT inspections makes it possible to inspect far greater numbers of circuit boards.
Products: Robotics, Automation & Control
Encoders, quick disconnects, automation systems, and more.
Briefs: Motion Control
A catalytic reaction causes a two-dimensional, chemically coated sheet to spontaneously morph into a three-dimensional gear.
Briefs: Sensors/Data Acquisition
The machines fold themselves within 100 milliseconds and can flatten and refold thousands of times.
Briefs: Electronics & Computers
The walking quadruped is controlled and powered by pressurized air.
Briefs: Sensors/Data Acquisition
The design could contribute to various applications in the robotics field such as smart prosthetics and human-robot interaction.
Application Briefs: Sensors/Data Acquisition
Editor Ed Brown explores what’s ahead for MEMS automobile navigation systems.
Briefs: Photonics/Optics
One of the final hurdles to hydrogen power is securing a safe method for detecting hydrogen leaks.
Briefs: Nanotechnology
Color changes of gold nanoparticles under the skin reveal concentration changes of substances in the body.
Products: Mechanical & Fluid Systems
High-precision medical sensors, battery-cell mappers, signal conditioners, and more.
Technology Leaders: AR/AI
AI will only reach its full potential when it can be fed with a constant stream of data from a plentitude of diverse sources.
Briefs: Sensors/Data Acquisition
Researchers at KU Leuven have succeeded for the first time in measuring brain waves directly via a cochlear implant.
Technology Leaders: Electronics & Computers
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

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

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

Briefs: Imaging

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: Imaging
Head-up displays, health-monitoring sensors from NASA, and a pollen sponge.
Briefs: Wearables
Nearly 100% of all-carbon-based transistors are reclaimed while retaining future functionality of the materials.
Briefs: Connectivity
The device, powered by ultrasound waves, could help doctors monitor the health of transplanted organs and provide early warning of potential transplant failure.
Briefs: Photonics/Optics
The new photonic architecture could transform digital communications, artificial intelligence, and quantum computing.
Briefs: Aerospace
This software could also be used for indoor navigation assistance for the visually impaired.
NASA Spinoff: Aerospace
The interface enables one person to accomplish tasks that previously required two sets of hands.
Application Briefs: Robotics, Automation & Control
The Cold Operable Lunar Deployable Arm (COLDArm) is a first-of-its-kind robotic technology.
Products: Electronics & Computers
A new power supply from Bicker Elektronik has a backup battery that bridges power failures, brownouts, and flicker.
Special Reports: Manufacturing & Prototyping
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...

On-Demand Webinars: Medical
Whirlwind of Change: How New Standards, MDR, and Brexit are Impacting Biocompatibility

Because of the COVID-19 crisis, new Medical Device Regulations (MDR) have been pushed back one year. Not only has the delay given a respite to companies not ready for increased regulations but also has put the new MDR requirements in the same time...

White Papers: Automotive
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: Sensors/Data Acquisition
A "self-aware," self-powering material can be used in heart stents, bridges, and even space.
Blog: Robotics, Automation & Control
The technology uses tactile sensing to identify objects underground.
Question of the Week: Electronics & Computers
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: 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
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....

INSIDER: Materials

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...

INSIDER: Electronics & Computers

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

INSIDER: Power

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.

INSIDER: Energy

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: Transportation
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: Software
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...

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

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.

INSIDER: Nanotechnology

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

INSIDER: Materials

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

INSIDER: Test & Measurement

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...

INSIDER: Sensors/Data Acquisition

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
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.
White Papers: Materials
Viton™ Fluoroelastomers: A Material That Will Go the Distance

Growing demands for durability in electric vehicle (EV) engineering has made material selection for high-voltage power cables more critical than ever. We’ve done the research...

Question of the Week: Energy
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...

On-Demand Webinars: Automotive
Testing Against Infinite Scenarios: Maximize ADAS/AD Validation Coverage Through Collaboration

As the world transitions from ADAS to autonomous vehicles, we’re working toward replacing the human driver. This is a rewarding ambition that promises more productivity, comfort, and safety to society’s mobility. But it is a complex...

White Papers: Electronics & Computers
Busbar Shunts for Current Measurement: A complete guide to eMobility solutions

The automotive industry is undergoing a fundamental change. Electromobility is gaining ground in all sectors, from passenger cars to commercial vehicles and...

Tech Talks: Robotics, Automation & Control
Developing Realistic Scenes to Enable Virtual Automated Driving Testing

This Tech Talk examines how to design 3D scenes for simulating and testing automated driving systems. The designed scenes can be exported to most driving simulation environments. Also discussed is how to create a scene using RoadRunner and then run it in CARLA, an...

On-Demand Webinars: Aerospace
Unmanned Aircraft Technology

Unmanned aircraft – aka drones – are one of the fastest growing areas of modern technology, from the complex hunter/killer and surveillance systems used by the military, to the sophisticated remotely piloted vehicles used for civil and agricultural applications, to the type of drones envisioned for future...

Blog: Manufacturing & Prototyping
By introducing nanoparticles into ordinary cement, Northwestern University researchers have formed a smarter, more durable, and highly functional building material.
Blog: Manufacturing & Prototyping
Researchers at the University of Pittsburgh Swanson School of Engineering used a Computational Fluid Dynamics model to find ways to decrease cost and increase usage of cooler surfaces.
Question of the Week: Sensors/Data Acquisition
Will Mobile Radar Replace the Stethoscope?

Our June issue of Tech Briefs highlighted a radar system that enables touch-free monitoring of heart sounds. A significant advantage offered by radar, according to the system’s inventors, is the fact that the values are recorded digitally and are thus not subjective, allowing human error to be...

On-Demand Webinars: Test & Measurement
Reducing Battery Thermal Runaway Risks Through Testing and Simulation

This 60-minute Webinar provides an introduction to battery thermal runaway and then discusses how to understand thermal runaway through testing. It also examines considerations for simulating thermal runaway heat loads and finding the optimal design to reduce thermal...

INSIDER: Materials

Researchers from the University of Houston have demonstrated “giant flexoelectricity” in soft elastomers that could improve robot movement range and make self-powered pacemakers a real...

Blog: Data Acquisition
A reader asks a Space Force expert about new markets, including data transport, traffic management, and advanced power.
Blog: Electronics & Computers
Could a tool from the dentist's office lead to better recycling of lithium-ion batteries?
On-Demand Webinars: RF & Microwave Electronics

Antenna complexity continues to increase in satellite applications due to higher frequencies, wider bandwidth, and beamforming requirements. This 60-minute Webinar examines...

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