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: Data Acquisition
The Prediction Model for Flashover, or P-Flash, estimates where flashover explosions could occur.
Blog: Sensors/Data Acquisition
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: Transportation
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: Electronics & Computers
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: Materials
By adjusting a surface's wettability and texture, IIT Bombay researchers demonstrate how to best limit the spread of coronavirus.
Blog: Materials
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: Transportation
Tech Briefs readers ask a series of questions about the future of plastics in battery electric vehicles.
Blog: Aerospace
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: Materials
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. "
Blog: Sensors/Data Acquisition
The A.I. system learns from thousands of real-traffic situations, when a self-driving car stopped unexpectedly.
Blog: Test & Measurement
This year's winners included industrial-automation software, simulation tech, and digital storage oscilloscopes.
Blog: Imaging
Robotics researchers are developing exoskeleton legs capable of thinking and making control decisions on their own using sophisticated artificial intelligence (AI) technology.
Blog: RF & Microwave Electronics
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: Energy
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” Design Contest is open, and we want to hear your big ideas.
Blog: Transportation
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: Mechanical & Fluid Systems

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
To move, a new UCSD robot just needs a constant source of pressurized air.
Blog: Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Dr. Axel Krieger from Johns Hopkins University explains how he is getting a robotic system ready for the fight against COVID-19.

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