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.

A reader asks our expert: When it comes to autonomous vehicles, what’s best: Radar, LiDAR, or cameras?
A new modeling tool from USC engineers generates automatic indicators when data and predictions from AI algorithms are trustworthy.
A Cornell team developed paramecium-sized robots that can be controlled with lasers.
Blog: Sensors/Data Acquisition
Clang! Robots Detect Objects By Sound
Carnegie Mellon researcher Lerrel Pinto wants to prove that sound can be a valuable asset for robots.
Deciding between edge computing and cloud computing? Make sure to consider these four major factors, says our industry expert.
Although life has not been found on Mars just year, a researcher from NYU thinks there could be life...under it.
A reader asks: How can self-driving car manufacturers guarantee safety when snow, ice, or mud impair a vision system?
Blog: Sensors/Data Acquisition
How to Test a Living Sensor, Made with Bacteria
Dr. James Rees is spending the time in his lab testing sensors made from bacteria.
“Food supply” goes beyond just crop production. See how NASA is offering a more comprehensive look at food security and agriculture.

Watch below as the Perseverance rover and its Ingenuity helicopter make their way to Mars.

Mars 2020 NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine and other NASA experts offer a briefing on this week's launch of the Perseverance rover.
Blog: Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Watch: NASA's Mars 2020 Sample Return Briefing

Watch below as NASA experts review how they plan to return samples from the surface of Mars back to Earth.

Watch NASA experts review this week's preparations, as the Perseverance rover launches and begins its journey to Mars.

Can NASA "joystick" the landing of the next Mars rover? A Tech Briefs reader asks our NASA expert.
We plug in our headphones everyday. Now a robot can perform the task.
The Perseverance rover has an almost human-like way of keeping its lenses clean.
A tiny underwater robot may someday filter out water contaminants by catching them with its tentacles.
The Mars rover Perseverance has a helicopter. Will the rover have to carry it around?
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.
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.
"Who knows? Maybe one day we will have roofs covered with humidity panels together with solar panels," TAU professor Colin Price told Tech Briefs.
NIST engineers are working to make the cellular network standard even faster.
New software sets the stage for A.I.-enabled robotic prostheses that predict user terrain and initiate mechanical changes accordingly.
The Los Angeles, CA-based company Nanotech Energy is using graphene to prevent thermal runaway and create a non-flammable battery.
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.

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