Billy's Blog

On Billy's Blog, Billy Hurley, Digital Editorial Manager, writes stories about new and innovative achievements in design engineering, from industrial robots and autonomous vehicles to 3D printers and see-through solar cells. Along with other Tech Briefs writers and editors, Billy shares his opinions, poses questions to readers, and finds the fun, interesting, and unexpected stories behind today's leading-edge inventions.

Robots are in high demand as medical professionals seek hands-free ways to disinfect environments and contain the spread of coronavirus and COVID-19.

Bridget Pelaez spoke to Tech Briefs about the 1,000 face shields being printed for Florida hospitals.
See how Prof. Olaf Diegel built a hands-free door opener.
As autonomous cars collect data on passing pedestrians, cyclists, and license plates, what privacy measures are in place? A reader asks.
3D printing is being used to quickly create life-saving parts and prototypes like masks, shields, and ventilator valves.
A reader asks, "What market drivers need to occur for electric vehicles to be considered an acceptable replacement for vehicles with internal combustion engines?"
Massive manufacturing bots have evolved into something new — collaborative robots.
NASA wants small businesses to help the safe operation of UAVs in airspace.
NASA’s big return to the Moon by 2024 will call for the support of small technologies – specifically, the miniature spacecraft known as CubeSats.
The votes are in. Our readers selected top products in data acquisition, software, and ultrasonic sensing.
The new Mars Rover Name is Perseverance, thanks to a suggestion from Virginia 7th grader Alex Mather.
University of Washington engineer James Koch observed patterns in a promising, but often-unpredictable rocket part: The rotating detonation engine.
How does testing a metal 3D-printed part compare to testing a casted one? That's the elephant in the room, says industry pro Kevin Brigden.
An energy breakthrough from the City University of Hong Kong finds power in a single drop of water – up to 140 volts, in fact.
See what the SuperCam will do when it arrives on Mars in 2021.
“We’re analyzing rocks from space, atom by atom,” says researcher Jennika Greer.
Editor Bruce A. Bennett shares his observations from SPIE Photonics West, including the emergence of LiDAR.
See what caught Bruce A. Bennett's eye during Day 1 of Photonics West 2020 in San Francisco.
Researchers from the University of Illinois are looking at all the different ways to create a non-pneumatic automotive tire.
Blog : Robotics, Automation & Control
A Soft Robot That Can Maintain Its Temperature? No Sweat!
Cornell researcher T.J. Wallin explains what's so cool about a robot that sweats.
Blog : Green Design & Manufacturing
The Next Building Material for Mars: Fungi?
When astronauts arrive on the Moon, their habitat may be one made out of fungi.
"View it as an infrared privacy shield," says Professor Mikhail Kats.
To improve the aqueous lithium-ion battery, RPI researchers tried out niobium tungsten oxide.
NASA is using the International Space Station as a testbed for 3D printing.
Blog : Mechanical & Fluid Systems
CES 2020: NASA Arrives, Ready to Partner Up
NASA came to CES with a message: We're going back to the Moon, and we'll need help from industry to do it.
Stuck in traffic? The Pegasus flying car can get you out of there.
Here are five technologies that aim to add intelligence to the most surprising household objects.
A fun way to show the robustness of a soft robot? Swat it.
As additive manufacturing supports the creation of critical metal parts, designers need to know that the parts are high-quality.

Webcasts

Upcoming Webinars: Photonics/Optics

High-Powered Directed Energy Laser Projects: Destroy the Target,...

Upcoming Webinars: Photonics/Optics

Optical Coating Design

Upcoming Webinars: Manufacturing & Prototyping

Rapid Decompression and Sealed Containers: Why Choose Magnet...

Upcoming Webinars: Motion Control

Advantages of Smart Servo Steppers vs. Smart Brushless Servos

Upcoming Webinars: Manufacturing & Prototyping

Large Cable, Large Problems: Considerations for Innovation

Upcoming Webinars: Robotics, Automation & Control

Collaborative Robots: Are They as Safe as They Sound?