Billy's Blog

Join the conversation! Tech Briefs' Digital Editorial Manager Billy Hurley provides his take on today’s innovative technology developments and the topics most important to you.

Blog : Communications
Q&A: Catching Up with Automotive Cybersecurity Researcher (and Jeep Hacker) Chris Valasek
In 2015, Chris Valasek and Charlie Miller demonstrated a hack of the Jeep Cherokee. Valasek tells Tech Briefs what has changed since then.
Blog : Energy
Answering Your Questions: Will Solar Panel Efficiency Improve?
Don’t hold your breath, says Jeff Crystal from Voltaic Systems.
Blog : Manufacturing & Prototyping
Answering Your Questions: How Long Should a Failure Mode and Effects Analysis (FMEA) Take?
An FMEA provides a step-by-step way of identifying product failures. Carl Carlson explains just how long the process takes.
Blog : Test & Measurement
Q&A: After a Successful Landing, What’s Next for the InSight Mission?
InSight project manager Tom Hoffman spoke with Tech Briefs about the importance of digging deep in our knowledge of Mars.
Blog : Transportation
New Metal-Air Battery Design Offers a Potential Boost to Electric Vehicles
Professor Hart spoke with Tech Briefs about why his team's new battery may someday find its way beyond niche applications and into electric vehicles.
Blog : Sensors/Data Acquisition
Answering Your Questions: How Good are Automotive Sensor Simulation Models?
A reader asks our industry experts: "How good are the simulation models for automotive ADAS sensors?"
Blog : Green Design & Manufacturing
Researchers Convert Plastic Bottles into Aerogels that Insulate and Absorb
Researchers from the National University of Singapore (NUS) are trying to solve the problem of plastic waste by converting it into something useful: Aerogels.
Blog : Sensors/Data Acquisition
Modular Robots Change Shape – Depending on the Task
Professor Hadas Kress-Gazit tells Tech Briefs about the "great promise" of autonomous modular robots.
Blog : Aerospace
Answering Your Questions: For an Electric-Aircraft Future, Do We Need to Rethink Design?
For an electric-aircraft future, it's not enough to just change components. You have to rethink design, our expert tells one reader.
Blog : Green Design & Manufacturing
From Trash to Treasure: How to Convert ‘Fatberg’ Waste into Biofuel
Have you heard of "fatbergs?" Researcher Asha Srinivasan explains how her team is turning masses of fat, oil, and grease into biofuel.
Blog : Aerospace
Now Deploying from the ISS: A Harpoon, A Net, and Other Ideas for Cleaning Up Space Debris
Richard Duke spoke with Tech Briefs about the nature of the space-junk problem — and how his team plans to fix it.
Blog : Green Design & Manufacturing
Want to Reduce Paper Consumption? ‘Disappearing Ink’ is No Joke
Carl Yee invented a new kind of "Invisible Ink," so he could print paper without the guilt.
Blog : Imaging
How Will VR and AR Impact Automotive Manufacturers?
How will the use of AR and virtual prototypes impact the role of automotive parts manufacturers? A reader asks our expert.
Blog : Materials
An Alternative to Air Conditioning: A Paint-On Polymer That Cools Down Your Building
A new solution, applied like paint, cools down rooftops, buildings, water tanks, vehicles, and even spacecraft.
Blog : Aerospace
Q&A: How Robert Holmes Finds Near-Earth Asteroids from His Home-Built Observatories
Robert Holmes spoke with Tech Briefs about his path from "amateur" astronomer to NASA pro.
News : Energy
'Invisible Glass’ Takes First Prize in ‘Create the Future’ Contest
The grand-prize-winning nanotechnology coating imparts anti-reflection and water-repellency capabilities to surfaces made of silicon, glass ,and some plastics, including Teflon.
Blog : Sensors/Data Acquisition
A Closer Look at Bats, Hummingbirds Offers New Ideas for Flying Robots
Rivers Ingersoll spoke with Tech Briefs about why it is so important to have an up-close understanding of the hummingbird and nectar bat.
News : Test & Measurement
Answering Your Questions: How Can Medical IoT Devices Move Beyond Simple Information Gathering?
Is there more to the "Internet of Medical Things" than just data gathering? A reader asks our experts.
Blog : Robotics, Automation & Control
Meet Lindley Johnson, Planetary Defense Officer (and Asteroid Hunter)
NASA's Lindley Johnson explains how the exciting business of asteroid detection does have its moments that are “like any other office job.”
Blog : Manufacturing & Prototyping
How To Get Your Company to Take 3D Printing Beyond Prototyping
A reader asks: "Why do organizations struggle to see 3D printing or additive manufacturing for more than prototyping? "
Blog : Materials
‘Smart’ Squid Material Offers Thermal Conductivity, On Demand
Researchers discovered that an on-and-off kind of thermal regulation is possible if you look to the squid.
Blog : Green Design & Manufacturing
NASA’s Curiosity Rover Finds a New Way to Drill Down
A NASA researcher spoke with Tech Briefs about the importance of the Curiosity rover's latest find on Mars.
Blog : Manufacturing & Prototyping
Answering Your Questions: "What is Your Advice for a 3D Printing Beginner?"
A readers asks two 3D-printing veterans: "What is your advice to someone starting out with additive manufacturing?"
Blog : Manufacturing & Prototyping
Design Tool Brings a ‘Structural’ Approach to Color
A new approach to structural coloration is more freeform than you might expect.
Blog : Imaging
How to Evaluate a Vision System Integrator
Many manufacturers are relying on vision system integrators to implement machine vision. Our expert tells a reader how to find the right one for you.
News : Medical
Intelligent Machines: Can You Build a Robot You Can Trust?
For social robots to become commonplace in clinical settings, engineers will need to build both technology improvements as well something slightly more complicated: Trust.
Blog : Imaging
How to Authenticate a 3D-Printed Part: ‘Explode’ and Embed a QR Code
Researcher Nikhil Gupta tells Tech Briefs why "exploding" a QR code inside a 3D-printed part makes counterfeiting practically impossible.
Blog : Transportation
Are There Limitations in Autonomous-Vehicle Simulation Methods?
A reader asks our expert: As autonomous vehicles enter the market, where are the weak spots in simulation?
Blog : Software
How to Simulate an Avalanche – And All Its Subtle Mechanics

Simulation is a helpful go-to tool for assessing risk, but what if the event being simulated is an avalanche – a complex event with countless parameters and physical...

Blog : Robotics, Automation & Control
How to Power Robots with Popcorn

Cornell researchers have discovered a novel – and delicious – way to power simple robots: Popcorn.