Is It Hot in Here? New Double-Sided Fabric Will Find Your 'Comfortable' Temperature

A reversible fabric from Stanford University could warm up or cool down its wearers, depending on their preference – and which side of the material faces out.

Posted in: News, Coatings & Adhesives, Composites, Materials, Plastics
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Sound-Off: Thermoset Composites vs. Traditional Metals

New plastics are helping automotive manufacturers reduce the weight of their vehicles. But how do thermoset composites stack up against traditional metals? A Tech Briefs reader asks our automotive expert.
Posted in: News, Automotive, Composites, Materials, Metals, Plastics
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Electric ‘Smart’ Paper Picks Up on Pipe Leaks

Although spills inside a lab can often spell trouble, a University of Washington scientist found a way to turn an accidentally doused conductive material into an inventive new sensor. The lab mishap led to a “smart” paper that conducts electricity and provides wireless detection of water pipe leaks.

Posted in: News, Composites, Materials, Data Acquisition, Detectors, Sensors
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A Semiconductor Breakthrough: Carbon Nanotubes Boost Thermoelectric Performance

In a report published in October, scientists from the U.S. Department of Energy’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) used single-walled carbon nanotubes (SWNCTs) to advance the thermoelectric performance of organic semiconductors. The carbon nanotube thin films, they said, could ultimately be integrated into fabrics to convert waste heat into electricity or serve as a small power source.

Posted in: News, Energy, Energy Efficiency, Energy Harvesting, Energy Storage, Thermoelectrics, Composites, Materials, Semiconductors & ICs
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Creating the Future: A Conformal Battery Takes Shape – Any Shape

Electronics design is often limited by the shape of the battery – a critical, but frequently uncompromising product component. A new kind of battery conforms to meet the specific shape of a given device.

Posted in: News, Energy, Energy Storage, Materials
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When Stars Collide: LIGO Detects Gravitational Waves from ‘Kilonova’ Light Show

In the galaxy NGC 4993, located approximately 130 million light-years from Earth, two neutron stars collided. And, for the first time, scientists detected the gravitational waves to prove it. They may have even solved the long-standing mystery about the origin of gold and platinum.

Posted in: News, Aeronautics, Imaging, Materials, Optics
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Sound-Off: How to Repair Parylene Coatings

Conformal coatings like Parylene protect a variety of components, including LEDs, sensors, and circuit card assemblies. If a board component needs to be replaced, however, how easily can the Parylene be removed?

Posted in: News, Coatings & Adhesives, Materials
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Robotic Rubber ‘Skin’ Senses Temperatures. What’s Next?

A rubber “skin” developed at the University of Houston allows a robotic hand to sense the difference between hot and cold temperatures. The semiconductor material supports new applications in stretchable electronics, including medical implants, health monitors, and human-machine interfaces.

Posted in: News, Materials, Automation, Robotics, Semiconductors & ICs
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A Piezoelectric Highway? Engineers Take Another Test Drive

Researchers from Lancaster University are looking to pave the next generation of smart road surfaces — with piezoelectric ceramics. When embedded in road surfaces, the tiles convert vehicle vibration into electrical energy.

Posted in: News, Energy, Energy Efficiency, Energy Harvesting, Energy Storage, Renewable Energy, Thermoelectrics, Ceramics, Materials
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Learning to Crawl: Origami Robot Moves Like an Earthworm

A new mechanical innovation unfolded this month at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign as a team of engineers built a new kind of crawler robot. The wheel-less design takes inspiration from two unconventional sources: origami and the earthworm.

Posted in: News, Materials, Motion Control, Motors & Drives, Robotics
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