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
Technology Business Briefs

A Fiber Optic-Based Integration System (FOBIS) has been developed that may be capable of in-situ, real-time biological monitoring, and is based on a single fiber optic system. A compact, multi-functional device, the FOBIS incorporates three working units (a Micro-Flow Cytometer, a Micro-Photometer, and a Micro-Sensor)...

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Chain-mail Fabric

University of Illinois scientists have fabricated the world's smallest

chain-mail fabric that consists of a network of small rings about 500

University of Illinois scientists have fabricated the world's smallest chain-mail fabric that consists of a network of small rings about 500 microns in diameter and even...

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White Papers

Thousands of engineers and scientists rely on National Instruments' LabVIEW for a variety of applications. This paper focuses on the capabilities that make LabVIEW the right tool for data and measurement analysis.

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New Coating

Materials engineers at Purdue University have created a new type of coating that attracts water yet beads oils, promising potential applications such as "self-cleaning" eyeglasses and antifogging car windshields and ski goggles.

The coating consists of a single-molecule-thick layer of a material called polyethylene glycol,...

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Tech Needs of the Week

Technical assistance is needed for the manufacture of serrated, scalloped (concave), and wavy (convex) bandknife blades. Of interest are 14 and 16 TPI (teeth per inch) by blanking for the serrated edge. Blanking has been achieved for the scalloped edge, but the resulting shape is not satisfactory. Blanking was not achieved...

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NASA News

The "Research Opportunities in Aeronautics" announcement from NASA's Aeronautics Research Mission Directorate seeks research in several new topic areas for the Next Generation Air Transportation System Air Traffic Management Airspace Project and the Subsonic Fixed Wing Project.

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Sugar Battery

Researchers at Saint Louis University (St. Louis, MO) have developed a biodegradable fuel cell battery that runs on virtually any sugar source, from soft drinks to tree sap, and has the potential to operate three to four times longer on a single charge than conventional lithium ion batteries. If the battery continues to show...

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Technologies of the Week

A low-cost fingerprint detector, using off-the-shelf components integrated into a compact, portable unit, is available. The fingertip is moved relative to a skin-resistance-sensing array to produce a 'reference trajectory signal' that is stored in memory. The fingertip is moved again to produce a 'sample trajectory...

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Air Car

Engineers at Moteur Developpment International (MDI, Luxembourg City, Luxembourg) have designed a prototype car that is powered by compressed air. The vehicle has a tubular chassis that is glued together, a fiberglass body, and uses wireless communication between its components. The engine weighs less than half that of a standard car....

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Saturn Movies

Astronomers have woven NASA Hubble Space Telescope images of Saturn, its rings, and several of its moons into three movies. Each movie highlights unique times in the planet's 30-year waltz around the Sun. Hubble snapped only about a dozen images during each of these three events, so astronomers created software to extend the photos...

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Nano 50â„¢ Awards

Nanotech Briefs® magazine is accepting nominations for its third annual Nano 50 awards competition. The Nano 50 recognizes the top 50 technologies, innovators, and products with the greatest potential to advance the commercialization of nanotechnology.

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Chemical Weapons Sensor

Using lasers and tuning forks, researchers at Pacific Northwest National Laboratory have developed a chemical weapon agent sensing technique called Quartz Laser Photo-Acoustic Sensing (QPAS) that promises to meet or exceed current and emerging defense and homeland security chemical detection requirements.

The...

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Tech Needs of the Week

A coating that is hard and has a high modulus of elasticity is needed for application to polyvinyl alcohol (PVA) optical films. Excellent coating adhesion and optical transparency are mandatory. The coating must withstand a force greater than 13,000 MpA, and offer a pencil hardness of B or over.To respond to this Tech Need...

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Supply Chain Software

By 2020, NASA plans to establish a long-term human presence on the Moon. To make this possible, a reliable stream of consumables such as fuel, food and oxygen, spare parts, and exploration equipment would have to make its way from the Earth to the Moon as predictably as any Earth-based delivery system. To figure out how to...

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New on the Market

BI Technologies Electronic Components Division (Fullerton, CA) introduced the EN line of rotary mechanical encoders. The two-bit gray code incremental encoders are housed in 11, 12, and 16 mm packages, and feature detents and push-on switch options. For more information, visit: http://link.abpi.net/l.php?20070321A6

...

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Current Attractions

Developed at NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center (Huntsville, AL), a micro-commanding rotational-position-control system offers the advantage of less mechanical complexity, susceptibility to mechanical resonances, power demand, bulk, weight, and lower cost, relative to prior rotational-position-control systems based on...

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Fish Sensor

A research team led by Chang Liu at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (UIUC, Champaign, IL) has built a sensor for underwater vehicles equivalent to a sensory organ found on fish called the lateral line. In fish, the lateral line provides guidance for synchronized swimming, obstacle avoidance, and prey/predator detection...

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Pneumatic Step Motor

Medical scientists at Johns Hopkins University (Baltimore, MD) have constructed the "PneuStep," a prototype pneumatic step motor that is the first of its kind. The motor was developed as part of a project for a robot that could operate precisely within the closed bore of high-intensity MRI equipment. The pneumatic nature of...

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Diagnostic Hydrogel

Researchers at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) have created customizable hydrogel microparticles capable of identifying different biomolecules, disease monitoring, drug discovery, or genetic profiling. Each particle is equipped with a bar-coded ID and one or more probe regions that turn fluorescent when they...

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Robot Chair

Engineers at the Humanoid Robot Research Center (Taejon, S. Korea) have constructed the prototype HUBO-FX1, a human-riding “robotic chair” capable of carrying a person or a load of 100 kg. The user sits in a chair structure mounted on two robot legs, and controls ambulatory motion by way of a joystick. The HUBO-FX1 can...

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Technologies of the Week

A self-biased solar cell is available that provides improved conversion efficiency. Loss of carriers at the back surface of the battery is decreased, and open circuit voltage and quantum efficiency near a long wavelength are increased.

View this technology here.

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PCB Bacteria

Researchers at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute have discovered a tiny anaerobic bacterium that could one day transform how polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) are removed from the environment. The organism could be the key to developing methods that help detoxify commercial PCB compounds on site -- without the need for...

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Holographic Images

The response of tumors to anticancer drugs has been observed in real-time, 3D images using technology developed at Purdue University. The new digital holographic imaging system uses a laser and a charged couple device (CCD) to see inside tumor cells. The instrument also may have applications in drug development and medical...

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Technology Business Briefs

Lightweight, High-Performance Propeller/Rotor/Wind Turbine Blade

The turbine blade features a much lighter, more efficient, less expensive, and entirely new structural design. Other advantages offered by

this technology include increased performance, lower noise, decreased maintenance time and expense, and...

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NASA Spinoff

A technology for monitoring protein growth -- developed in part through NASA Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) funding from Marshall Space Flight Center -- is noninvasive, nondestructive, rapid, and more cost effective than x-ray analysis. The partner for this SBIR, Photon-X, Inc. (Huntsville, AL), developed spatial-phase...

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Sea-Creature Sensors

Researchers at the Georgia Institute of Technology have created a new class of gas sensors using a chemical process that converts the silica (silicon dioxide) found in the shells of diatoms into the semiconductor material silicon.

Silicon is normally produced from silica at temperatures well above the silicon melting...

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Fusion Research

University of Wisconsin-Madison researchers have come one step closer to making fusion energy possible by showing that their magnetic plasma chamber, called a stellarator, can overcome a major barrier in plasma research by retaining the needed temperature for fusion to be possible. Past stellarators lose too much energy to reach...

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Technologies of the Week

A disclosed technology allows a factory-installed seatbelt to be tightened from gentle to extreme. The seatbelt works like an aircraft seat belt: when tightened, it stays tight.View this technology here.

A technology has been made available improving how safely children are strapped in their safety seats. View...

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Anti-Cancer Protein

Researchers at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute (Boston, MA) have found that the p53 protein, known to guard against cancer-causing DNA damage, provides an entirely different level of cancer protection: by prompting the skin to tan in response to ultraviolet light from the sun, p53 deters the development of melanoma skin...

Webcasts

Upcoming Webinars: Automotive

Reducing the Cost of Quality in Automotive BiW

Upcoming Webinars: Automotive

Electric-Vehicle Transmission Development Priorities

Upcoming Webinars: Sensors/Data Acquisition

The Critical Role of Fiber Optic Temperature Sensors in Medical...

Upcoming Webinars: Manufacturing & Prototyping

Zinc Die Casting Concepts to Achieve Precision, Performance, and...

Upcoming Webinars: Test & Measurement

Radar Measurements: Triggering, Analysis, and Generation

Upcoming Webinars: Materials

Designing with Silicone for Space

Videos