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
New Solar Cell Increases Efficiency and Lowers Cost

Scientists at the University of New South Wales (UNSW, Sydney, Australia) developed a process to boost the efficiency of solar cell technology that also lowers the total cost. The UNSW researchers deposited a thin film of silver onto a solar cellÂ’s surface and then

heated it to 200...

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Current Attractions

As noted in the article “Mini CW Lasers Enable Next-Generation Bioinstrumentation” in May’s edition of Photonics Tech Briefs (PTB), continuous-wave (CW) lasers have helped advance research in fields such as cell sorting and DNA sequencing. Written by Jurgen Niederhofer, product manager of Newport’s...

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Technology Business Need

A global 500 European company is seeking new piezoelectric materials. Esaote Biomedica is seeking high-performance, affordable, piezoelectric material plates for medical sonography applications. Direct financing is available. For more information, click here.

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NASA News

On Thursday, May 3, Peter Homer of Southwest Harbor, ME, won $200,000 from NASA for his entry in the Astronaut Glove Challenge. Homer's glove design performed better overall than the competition in tests that rated the glove's strength, flexibility, and comfort. Homer's innovations in finger dexterity could enhance NASA's future...

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Event Alert

NASA Tech Briefs and the Voice of the Customer Institute recently announced a joint agreement to conduct a series of national seminars on the Voice of the Customer. This discipline helps businesses identify and prioritize customer needs, while training employees to conduct exercises to obtain this information independently. The...

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White Paper

Still using duct tape and cardboard to predict thermal gotchas? Got a PhD thermal specialist stashed in the backroom? That ain't gonna cut it anymore. Read this eight-page report and learn to build thermal management into your corporate DNA.

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Current Attractions

Measure Foundry(R) 5.0 test and measurement software from Data Translation, (Marlboro, MA) was named NTB's Product of the Month for May. The software offers open support of all system standards, including VISA, SCPI, GPIB, USB, PCI, LXI, PXI/VXI, and RS-232. The application builder software enables users to graphically...

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Tech Needs of the Week

A high-birefringence optical material is needed suitable for implementation in optical systems. The material also should feature high hardness making it amenable to standard polishing and manufacturing processes, low CTE (coefficient of thermal expansion), low CTRI (coefficient of thermal refractive index), low absorption...

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Laser System

MIT researchers have developed a new type of laser based on Optical Coherence Tomography (OCT) for taking high-resolution, 3D images of the retina. OCT uses light to obtain high-resolution, cross-sectional images of the eye to visualize subtle changes that occur in retinal disease.

Conventional OCT imaging typically yields a...

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New ET Advertisers

This monthly review lets you "meet" the new advertisers appearing in Embedded Technology. Here's a sneak peek at the products, services, and offers available from May's first-time advertisers in ET.

Evans Capacitor Co. (E. Providence, RI) offers capacitors for laser targeting, communications modules, controls, cockpit...

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Current Attractions

Embedded Technology (ET) magazine features board-level electronics and COTS solutions for design engineers, as well as a variety of product offerings.

The May issue of Embedded Technology contains a feature article written by Julien Chouinard, managing director at ICS Triplex ISaGRAF (Montreal, Canada), entitled...

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Technologies of the Week

A process is available where dissolved silver or metal ions can be deposited on an electrode by sending an electrical current through an electrolysis cell containing the fluid from which the metal ions need to be recovered.

View this technology here.

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"Nonsense Mutation" Therapy

Medical scientists at PTC Therapeutics (S. Plainfield, NJ) have entered into trials an oral drug therapy aimed at treating Duchenne muscular dystrophy and other genetic conditions caused by “nonsense mutations.” Nonsense mutations inactivate gene function and are known to cause anywhere from five to 70% of the...

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Nano Conference Call for Papers

The National Nano Engineering Conference (NNEC), being held November 14-15 at the Boston Marriott Copley place, is the premier event focused on current and future developments in engineering innovations at the nanoscale, as well as the commercialization of nanotechnology.

Presentations on exciting new...

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Current Attractions

This monthly review lets you "meet" the new advertisers appearing in NTB and its supplements. Here's a sneak peek at the products, services, and offers available from May's first-time advertisers.

Applied Image (Rochester, NY) manufactures a wide variety of standard products, including test targets, image evaluation...

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Technology Business Brief

This technology creates a door closure system for a round pressurized vessel that requires no doorframe structure to maintain doorframe rigidity. Structurally, the door and opening can weigh almost the same as a similar section that does not have a door.

For more information, click here.

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White Papers

This technical publication from Breault Research Organization (BRO) describes the tissue phantom Realistic Skin Model(TM) (RSM) in ASAP BIO. It details the features inherent in the design of the RSM, including background information on the model, dialog options, and relevant default characteristics of the model.

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CAD/CAE Products

Autodesk, Inc. (San Rafael, CA) now offers Autodesk Inventor 2008 software, the latest release of its 3D mechanical design application. The new release features DWG intero- perability, AliasStudio interoperability, sheet metal design tools, ribbon cable design tools, and sketch productivity tools.

For more information,...

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Earth's Architecture

The American Institute of Architects (AIA) recently launched a new AIA layer in Google Earth called "America's Favorite Architecture." Google Earth users can now see many newly created 3D models of the ballparks, bridges, buildings, and memorials that characterize architecture for Americans. By clicking on America's Favorite...

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3D Ultrasound

The same Duke University Pratt School of Engineering research team that first developed real-time, 3D ultrasound imaging has modified the commercial version of the scanner to produce an even more realistic perception of depth. The researchers created an updated version of the image-viewing software, making it possible to achieve a...

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NASA News

NASA's Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) program has awarded a one-year, $100,000 contract to Clarkson University, DEM Solutions Inc., and Jenike & Johanson to provide a new generation of Discrete Element Modeling (DEM) for designing equipment to move and store bulk solids.

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New on the Market

Kerk Motion Products (Hollis, NH) released the Linear Actuator, designed to accept NEMA size 17, 23, and 34 motors. Leadscrew driven, the unit does not need lubrication and is designed for electronics, semiconductor, and medical applications.

For more information, click here.

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Train Breaks

Norfolk Southern Railway (NS, Norfolk, VA) and BNSF Railway Company (BNSF, Ft. Worth, TX) will begin testing a new braking system that may reduce the amount of time it takes to stop a train. The project, authorized by the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA), calls for NS and BNSF to equip and test certain locomotives and freight...

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Current Attractions

Motion Control Technology is a bimonthly supplement to NASA Tech Briefs magazine, providing engineers the latest advances in motion control products. One section, Applications, highlights how a particular motion control component is utilized by an end-user. Here is one of the technologies featured in the April issue's...

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Amoebic Locomotion

Researchers at Virginia Polytechnic and State University (Virginia Tech, Blacksburg, VA) have successfully constructed a new method of robotic propulsion based on the movement of amoebas. Called "Whole Skin Locomotion" (WSL), the mechanism works similarly to a pseudopod, or cytoplasmic "foot," of an amoeba. With its elongated...

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White Papers

Antennas, filters, amplifiers, and mixers are building blocks that are utilized in many existing defense weapons and Department of Defense (DoD) systems. In this white paper from Emerson & Cumming, new and emerging transceiver technologies as well as military applications are discussed.

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Ultra-Hard Material

Scientists at the University of California, Los Angeles, (UCLA) have made rhenium diboride, an “ultra-hard material” in a process that does not require applying pressure. Ultra-hard materials are used in the construction of new roads, for drills that bore for oil, and for

scratch-resistant coatings. While...

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Malaria Treatment

Researchers at Johns Hopkins University (Baltimore, MD) have cured malaria-infected mice with single shots of a new series of potent, long-lasting synthetic drugs modeled on an ancient Chinese herbal folk remedy. The drugs mimic artemisinin, the active agent in a Chinese herbal drug used to treat malaria and other fevers for...

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Technologies of the Week

A sintered silicon nitride ceramic has been disclosed that has high fracture toughness, strength, and stress rupture resistance at high temperature.

View this technology here.

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

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