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: Mechanical & Fluid Systems
With Water Jets, Machines 'Breathe' to Cool Down

University of Central Florida researchers are developing a human-like way for large machines to cool off and keep from overheating: Letting the machines "breathe."

Researcher Nina Mahmoudian is finding a new way for underwater robots to recharge and upload their data, and then go back out to continue exploring, without the need for human intervention.
A reader asks, "Will the public feel safe enough in an autonomous vehicle?"
Vanderbilt University engineers are proving that their elastic exosuit can provide relief for people doing the heavy lifting.
Thermal cameras detect heat radiation and can be used to identify the surface temperature of objects and people. So what's their limit, asks a reader.
A new composite from Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) increases the electrical current capacity of copper wires, providing a new material that can be scaled for use in ultra-efficient, power-dense electric vehicle traction motors.
New software from the Technical University of Munich (TUM) wants to predict all traffic possibilities, so that self-driving vehicles will never get into accidents.
As Brazil begins mass-producing a NASA-developed ventilator, a Tech Briefs reader asks why NASA didn't go open-source.
The new approach could help pave the way for smaller battery packs and greater driving range in electric vehicles.
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.
Blog: Robotics, Automation & Control
With a Flash of a Laser, Microscopic Robots Move
A Cornell team developed paramecium-sized robots that can be controlled with lasers.
Blog: Robotics, Automation & Control
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.
Blog: Robotics, Automation & Control
Scientist Proposes Life on Mars, Below the Surface
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.
Blog: Robotics, Automation & Control
Watch: The Mars 2020 Perseverance Launch

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?"
Question of the Week
Will Self-Erasing Chips Catch On?

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