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.

Blog: Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Learn how a low-cost machine known as the 'Coventor' stacks up to a traditional ventilator.
Blog: Sensors/Data Acquisition
A self-driving algorithm guides an autonomous vehicle through a traffic scenario that many of us know well: navigating traffic on a crowded, narrow street.
Blog: Electronics & Computers
A reader asks our expert how to contain a "thermal runaway" explosion in a lithium-ion battery.
Blog: Software
"We could imagine a digital twin of just about any system," says Karen Willcox, director of the Oden Institute.
Blog: Robotics, Automation & Control
UC Berkeley engineers have created a lightweight and durable robot that achieves exquisite control and agility by modulating the electrostatic forces between its feet and surfaces.
Blog: RF & Microwave Electronics
With the help of 12 antennas, Fabio da Silva's m-Widar can spot — and image — objects hidden behind a wall.
Blog: Green Design & Manufacturing
Could a tool from the dentist's office lead to better recycling of lithium-ion batteries?
Blog: Connectivity
A reader asks a Space Force expert about new markets, including data transport, traffic management, and advanced power.
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.
Blog: Materials
By introducing nanoparticles into ordinary cement, Northwestern University researchers have formed a smarter, more durable, and highly functional building material.
Blog: Data Acquisition
The Prediction Model for Flashover, or P-Flash, estimates where flashover explosions could occur.
Blog: Mechanical & Fluid Systems
The technology uses tactile sensing to identify objects underground.
Blog: Energy
A "self-aware," self-powering material can be used in heart stents, bridges, and even space.
Blog: Sensors/Data Acquisition
NC State researchers have made what they believe to be the smallest state-of-the-art RFID chip: a device measuring 125 micrometers (μm) by 245μm.
Blog: Energy
Researchers from CU Boulder gave their optical "rectennas" a ghost-like way to turn wasted heat into power.
Blog: Software
A reader asks: "What are the main challenges in simulating powertrain systems? What do we struggle to model now?"
Blog: Materials
A better aerogel features a kind of biological scaffold made from a surprising ingredient found in nature: seaweed.
Blog: Materials
A team from Texas A&M developed a battery that's metal-free and replaces cobalt with organic, recyclable materials.
Blog: Robotics, Automation & Control
Computer scientists at UC San Diego developed a navigation system that will allow robots to better negotiate busy environments in a hospital
Blog: Manufacturing & Prototyping
By adjusting a surface's wettability and texture, IIT Bombay researchers demonstrate how to best limit the spread of coronavirus.
Blog: Manufacturing & Prototyping
An international team used 3D printers and a novel bioprinting technique to print algae into living, photosynthetic materials that are tough and resilient.
Blog: Software
New software being developed at Ohio State University will allow creation of more complex DNA robots, at much faster speeds.
Blog: Sensors/Data Acquisition
Wearable gas sensors being developed at the Pohang University of Science & Technology (POSTECH) display an instantaneous visual holographic alarm.
Blog: Electronics & Computers
Tech Briefs readers ask a series of questions about the future of plastics in battery electric vehicles.
Blog: Robotics, Automation & Control
The technology demonstration is a first step in showing that humans could someday live (and breathe) on Mars.
Blog: Manufacturing & Prototyping
A new, sustainable take on the 3D printer reduces waste by eliminating the need for printed supports.
Blog: Electronics & Computers
Researchers from RMIT have introduced an ultra-thin material for semiconductors that could lead to transparent electronics.
Blog: Electronics & Computers
Researchers from Cornell University have redesigned the battery so that aluminum more easily integrates into a battery's electrodes.
Blog: Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Taking inspiration from the insect, Tufts researchers created light-activated composite devices that execute precise, visible movements and form complex three-dimensional shapes, like a "photonic sunflower. "

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