Blog

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

Blog: Green Design & Manufacturing
Engineers developed soft devices containing algae that glow when under mechanical stress —perfect for building soft robots.
Blog: Sensors/Data Acquisition
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: Design
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.
Briefs: Manned 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: Green Design & Manufacturing
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: Energy
A treatment for floc sludge transforms it to an electrode material usable for high-performance capacitors.
Blog: Sensors/Data Acquisition
These latest nanostructured components, integrated on image sensor chips, are most likely to have the biggest impact in multimodal imaging.
Blog: Unmanned Systems
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: Sensors/Data Acquisition
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: Unmanned Systems
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: Materials
We can learn a lot about innovation in technology by looking to the past.
Blog: Medical
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: Electronics & Computers

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: Manufacturing & Prototyping
More “talking across industries” can drive growth in additive manufacturing, says an industry expert.
Blog: Sensors/Data Acquisition
Dropped by a drone, the battery-free devices hover 100 meters in the air.
Blog: Unmanned Systems
A reader asks an expert how self-driving cars can operate without lidar.
Blog: AR/AI
See what Ed Brown’s early days as a high-voltage power supplies designer tell him about today’s efforts with A.I.
Blog: Materials
Tiny manufactured nanopillars slice and dice bacteria, cicada-style.
Blog: Manufacturing & Prototyping
1 Year? 5 years? 10? A reader wants an industry expert to predict when 3D printing will truly catch on in automotive manufacturing.
Blog: Manufacturing & Prototyping
The future of computing is in fabrics, says Prof, Yoel Fink from MIT.
Blog: Robotics, Automation & Control
The wire harness is changing as vehicles become “computers on wheels.” A reader asks how electrification impacts the wiring harness.
Blog: Design
You can design something special when you begin with a blank piece of paper on a wall. Editor Ed Brown shares a lesson learned from his early days as an engineer.
Blog: Software
A reader asks about the role of simulation when automakers like Toyota have a more “model-based” design approach.
Blog: Energy
An MIT team has a water-free way to charge up dust on solar panels and repel it away.
Blog: Energy
A reader asks how to check the longevity and capacity of vehicle batteries.

Videos