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: Robotics, Automation & Control
'Magic' Software Makes Complex DNA Robots, Faster
New software being developed at Ohio State University will allow creation of more complex DNA robots, at much faster speeds.
Wearable gas sensors being developed at the Pohang University of Science & Technology (POSTECH) display an instantaneous visual holographic alarm.
Tech Briefs readers ask a series of questions about the future of plastics in battery electric vehicles.
The technology demonstration is a first step in showing that humans could someday live (and breathe) on Mars.
A new, sustainable take on the 3D printer reduces waste by eliminating the need for printed supports.
Researchers from RMIT have introduced an ultra-thin material for semiconductors that could lead to transparent electronics.
Researchers from Cornell University have redesigned the battery so that aluminum more easily integrates into a battery's electrodes.
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. "
The A.I. system learns from thousands of real-traffic situations, when a self-driving car stopped unexpectedly.
This year's winners included industrial-automation software, simulation tech, and digital storage oscilloscopes.
Robotics researchers are developing exoskeleton legs capable of thinking and making control decisions on their own using sophisticated artificial intelligence (AI) technology.
Long-range radar is used in air-traffic control. Short-range radar supports automotive applications like collision avoidance. How do you know what range you need for your application?
Blog: Electronics & Computers
A 'Wearable Microgrid' Powers Your Devices
You have the power. That's the idea behind a "wearable microgrid" from the University of California San Diego that harvest and stores energy from your body to power electronics.
Blog: Manufacturing & Prototyping
The 2021 ‘Create the Future’ Contest Begins!
The 2021 “Create the Future” Design Contest is open, and we want to hear your big ideas.
Software and electrical engineering is converging in today’s vehicles. A reader asks our expert: “How do you decide which items to test first?”
Blog: Robotics, Automation & Control
A Robot ‘Hears,’ Using Ear from a Locust

A robot being developed at Tel Aviv University "hears" electrical signals, thanks to a natural sensor: the ear of a dead locust.

Blog: Robotics, Automation & Control
A Robot Walks — No Electronics Needed
To move, a new UCSD robot just needs a constant source of pressurized air.
Dr. Axel Krieger from Johns Hopkins University explains how he is getting a robotic system ready for the fight against COVID-19.
Darin Skelly spoke with Tech Briefs about how he felt during the landing of the Perseverance rover, and what he's most looking forward to finding out about Mars.
Blog: Mechanical & Fluid Systems
A New Kind of Soft Pump, The Size of a Credit Card
What can you do with a credit card sized pump? "Power clothing!" Prof. Jonathan Rossiter tells Tech Briefs?
Watch as the Perseverance rover lands on Mars.
Design engineers should be cautious in how they design and deploy mixed-reality technologies, says an industry expert.
Should you replace your big coordinate measurement machine with laser radar? Or should you just add a laser scanner with a CMM? A reader asks our expert.
The hard “coin,” could be used to make super-strength metal coatings or larger industrial components.
The "polymer of squares” could one day enable the use of plastic products many times over.

If you're concerned that electric vehicles don't have the reliability to get you where you need to go, Penn State engineers are working on a battery for...

Inspired by the squid's color-changing chromatophore, Rutgers engineers set out to create an artificial one.
The non-contact method of curing leads to adhesives that can be activated on demand.
In a roundtable presentation at the virtual CES 2021, panelists said the COVID-19 pandemic has changed driving patterns and consumer preferences – and that those shifts are here to stay.

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