Tech Briefs writers and editors share their opinions and find the fun, interesting, and unexpected stories behind today's leading-edge inventions.

Blog: Design
UCLA engineers have designed a new class of material that can learn behaviors over time and develop a “muscle memory” of its own.
Blog: Motion Control
The drawing machine uses pens with ink containing conductive material or regular mechanical pencils with varying graphite content.
Blog: Materials
The new materials are hard enough to stir molten steel and can withstand temperatures above 7,000 degrees Fahrenheit — about the same temperatures found just a few hundred miles above the surface of the sun.
Blog: Manufacturing & Prototyping
The system aims to add the sense of touch to the metaverse for use in virtual-reality shopping and gaming, and potentially facilitate the work of astronauts and other professions that require the use of thick gloves.
Blog: Green Design & Manufacturing
Scientists say that such oil-rich duckweed could easily be harvested to produce biofuels or other bioproducts.
Blog: Design
“This new technology will help to fully realize the potential of 3D printing. It will allow us to print much faster, helping to usher in a new era of digital manufacturing, as well as to enable the fabrication of complex, multi-material objects in a single step.”
Blog: Aerospace
Using jet fuel as a means to power five gas turbines, the suit can propel pilots about 40 mph for up to eight minutes and can generate more than 1,000 horsepower.
Blog: Design
Engineers have created new high-power electronic devices that are more energy efficient than their predecessors.
Blog: Design
According to the NASA Earth Observatory, air temperatures on Earth have been rising since the Industrial Revolution. Here is a suggestion about one way that engineers could help reduce the problems caused by that in their everyday work.
Blog: Robotics, Automation & Control
Engineers have installed tiny electronic “brains” on solar-powered robots so that the machines can walk autonomously, sans external control.
Blog: Design
Engineers developed soft devices containing algae that glow when under mechanical stress —perfect for building soft robots.
Blog: Test & Measurement
One method for keeping removed carbon out of the atmosphere long-term involves injecting CO2 into rock formations deep underground.
Blog: Robotics, Automation & Control
We humans are adept at using audio and visual cues for communication while carrying out collaborative tasks. Now researchers are aiming to implement gestural interaction in a networked system of robots.
Blog: Unmanned Systems
The UA team aims to design a motorless sailplane that can soar over the Martian surface for days at a time, using only wind for propulsion.
Blog: Weapons Systems
Using mPOD, “adversary” pilots can emulate enemy jamming techniques accurately, conditioning aircrews to evolving threat scenarios and better preparing them for real combat.
Blog: Design
The EU has already declared that the nonbiodegradable microplastics must be eliminated by 2025, but a team of MIT scientists has perhaps expedited that timeline.
Blog: Materials
A treatment for floc sludge transforms it to an electrode material usable for high-performance capacitors.
Blog: Imaging
These latest nanostructured components, integrated on image sensor chips, are most likely to have the biggest impact in multimodal imaging.
Application Briefs: RF & Microwave Electronics
KnightShield covers medium ranges in ports and detects hostile divers – whether using closed or open breathing apparatus – as well as AUVs, SDVs, DPVs, and UUVs.
Blog: Robotics, Automation & Control
A magnetically controlled medical device to remove blood accumulating in the brain during a stroke.
Blog: Research Lab
A researcher at MU College of Engineering at the University of Missouri is developing a smart mask that could monitor someone’s physiological status based on the nature of the person’s cough.
Application Briefs: Defense
The Trojan Unmanned Hover Plane (UHP) is a one-of-a-kind system that bridges the gap between the need to hover and the need to reach long ranges, giving it the ability to perform aerial missions with pinpoint precision.
Blog: Electronics & Computers
We can learn a lot about innovation in technology by looking to the past.
Blog: Power
The stamp-sized ultrasound sticker technology produces higher-resolution images over a longer duration.
Blog: Robotics, Automation & Control
A designer’s job gets much more complicated when artificial intelligence is part of the system.
Blog: Sensors/Data Acquisition

A number of the engineers I’ve interviewed have taken their inspirations from nature. As one said to me, nature has been evolving and perfecting its designs over thousands of years — we should...

Blog: Energy

As I was scrolling through research lab press releases for a Q&A column, one caught my eye: “Remote High-Voltage Sensor Unveiled at Sandia Gamma Ray Lab.” High voltage is not the sexiest of technology...

Blog: Automotive
More “talking across industries” can drive growth in additive manufacturing, says an industry expert.
Blog: Connectivity
Dropped by a drone, the battery-free devices hover 100 meters in the air.