Blog: Manufacturing & Prototyping
Even NASA Needs Effective Parts Sourcing

You can design the best product in the world but what if the parts, assemblies, and sub-components for your idea aren’t there?

A reader asks our NASA expert: "What kind of redundancy is built into the Mars 2020 rover?"
The Human Embodied Autonomous Thermostat, or “HEAT," uses cameras to identify facial temperature, and adjust the room's air accordingly.
INSIDER: Motion Control
Smallest Motor in the World

The smallest motor in the world — consisting of just 16 atoms – measures less than one nanometer or about 100,000 times smaller than the diameter of a human hair. The rotor rotates on the surface of the...

Question of the Week: Manufacturing & Prototyping
Do You See Yourself Someday Printing in 4D?

You’ve heard about 3D printing, but what about 4D?

A Tech Briefs TV video this week showcased how Rice University researchers’ new way of making shape-shifting materials. The “4D-printed” objects can be manipulated to take on alternate forms when exposed to changes in temperature,...

A reader asks NASA experts: How much hardware from the Curiosity rover is being used on the Mars 2020 Perseverance rover?
Traditional robotic feet are made of rigid components. A team of engineers at UCSD turned to coffee grounds to make legged robots more flexible and able to walk on a variety of rough terrain.
Question of the Week: Energy
Will We Ever See Humidity Panels Alongside Solar Panels?

Our lead INSIDER story featured an experiment from Tel Aviv University that supports the idea of water vapor as an alternative energy source.

What do you think? Will We Ever See Humidity Panels Alongside Solar Panels?

Share your questions and comments.

Although perovskites are a promising alternative to silicon for solar cells, new manufacturing processes are needed to make them practical for commercial production. To help...

Researchers from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute have demonstrated how to overcome a persistent challenge to potassium metal batteries — dendrites. Their new battery...

Solid state batteries are of great interest to the electric vehicle industry. New technology developed by scientists at Chalmers University of Technology, Sweden and Xi'an...

A new metal-air scavenger works like a battery, in that it provides power by repeatedly breaking and forming a series of chemical bonds. But it also works like a harvester,...

"Who knows? Maybe one day we will have roofs covered with humidity panels together with solar panels," TAU professor Colin Price told Tech Briefs.
Question of the Week: Energy
Will On-Demand Octane Improve Fuel Economy?

A video on Tech Briefs TV this month demonstrated a Pacific Northwest National Laboratory technology that enables on-demand octane by portioning ethanol from gasoline. PNNL researchers believe their invention could increase fuel economy and lower greenhouse gas emissions. Do you agree? Watch the video...

NIST engineers are working to make the cellular network standard even faster.
Question of the Week: Manufacturing & Prototyping
Will More Manufacturers Go With Metal 3D Printing?

Our most recent issue of Tech Briefs featured a roundtable discussion about the future of 3D printing. The industry pros, including Stratsys Direct Manufacturing CEO Kent Firestone, spoke about how metal additive manufacturing has yet to catch on, due to cost constraints and build limitations....

INSIDER: Robotics, Automation & Control
Mini Rover Pedals Out of Trouble

The next generation of exploration rovers will need to be good at climbing hills covered with loose material and avoiding entrapment on soft granular surfaces. Built with wheeled appendages that can be...

New software sets the stage for A.I.-enabled robotic prostheses that predict user terrain and initiate mechanical changes accordingly.
Question of the Week: Materials
How Would You Use Gecko-Inspired Adhesion?

A team at Georgia Tech has discovered a Velcro-like way of mass-producing gecko-inspired adhesives. Principal investigator Prof. Michael Varenberg believes his team’s technology can someday be used on pick-and-place industrial machines, wall-scaling cleaners, and even small repair robots that travel...

INSIDER: Sensors/Data Acquisition
In Vivo Imaging Links Sensory Experience to Activity
Novel biosensors allow the simultaneous study of both neuronal activity and transcription factor dynamics.
A new tool for medical professionals may help shed light on tumors.
Simon Fraser University researchers will use their pioneering imaging technology – called Mango, for its bright color – to develop coronavirus testing kits.
Researchers have tested a new imaging method to understand the brain as an individual develops Alzheimer's disease.
The Los Angeles, CA-based company Nanotech Energy is using graphene to prevent thermal runaway and create a non-flammable battery.
Question of the Week: Robotics, Automation & Control
Will Soft Robots Reach Cheetah-Like Speeds?

Our lead INSIDER story today featured a proof-of-concept robot that moves at almost 3 body lengths a second.

A team at Georgia Tech has discovered a Velcro-like way of mass-producing gecko-inspired adhesives.
A proof-of-concept soft robot has a cheetah-like gait that avoids the usual crawl.
Question of the Week: Manufacturing & Prototyping
Will ‘Flexoskeletons’ Catch On?

Engineers at the University of California San Diego have found a new way to make soft, flexible, 3D-printed robots. The “flexoskeletons” are both made of a rigid material and a thin sheet of polycarbonate that acts as a flexible base. Watch the demo on Tech Briefs TV.

What do you think? Will...

An empty airport tells you more than you might think.

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