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.


According to a recent report based on some of the first observations by NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter, fluids that flowed through cracks penetrating underground rock on ancient Mars may have produced conditions to support possible habitats for microbial life.

Robotic Exoskeleton

Researchers at the University of Michigan (U-M, Ann Arbor, MI) developed a robotic exoskeleton controlled by the wearer's own nervous system that could help users regain limb function. Healthy subjects first wore the exoskeleton to measure how the device affected ankle function before researchers tested the device on disabled...

Viral Traps

Biologists at Yale University (New Haven, CT) are developing a process to trap viruses in habitats that force their extinction. Viruses are chemically lured into the wrong cells, thus preventing virus reproduction and alleviating disease. The research was conducted on phi-6 virus populations in environments containing different...


Three families of liquid-crystal polyester are available that can be used in the form of shaped articles, and can be prepared from the melt phase by extrusion, injection molding, compression molding, or other convenient means.

View this technology here.

Analog Circuits

Engineers at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) have devised new analog circuits that will not drain power or create bottlenecks like previous models. The new class of analog circuits eliminates operational amplifiers while maintaining virtually all benefits of operational-amplifier-based circuits. The MIT circuits...

Steering Unit

Case New Holland (CNH, Amsterdam, the Netherlands) has lessened the level of steering noise in the cabs of its 821 Case brand and LW190 brand wheel loaders by utilizing Char-Lynn Series 20 steering control unit from Eaton Hydraulics (Eden Prairie, MN). The cab noise issue was great enough to hold the assembly line while the matter...

Moth Gyroscopes

A joint effort between University of Washington (Seattle, WA) and Case Western Reserve University (Cleveland, OH) researchers has revealed gyroscope-like structures in tobacco horn moth antennae that could lead to mechanical equivalents for miniature flying robots. The discovery allows the researchers to understand neural...

Nano 50â„¢ Awards

Nanotech Briefs magazine is now 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.

Event Alert

Free Webinar: Join us and other engineering professionals at the "Adobe and Alibre Technology Seminar" on Wednesday, February 28. Alibre, Inc. and Adobe Inc. are coming together to provide an informative online seminar that reviews how other leading-edge companies have used new and affordable technology to redefine their design...

Current Attractions

The Air Force's Technology Horizons magazine is now Defense Tech Briefs (DTB),providing engineers with a one-stop source for the latest advances and tech transfer opportunities from Defense Department R&D programs. Commercially promising inventions resulting from this work are reported in DTB magazine, published...

Tech Needs

Technologies are needed for the economical production of polymers that are based on today's generally accepted standards for "green" chemistry. Of particular interest are chemistries that produce safe chemicals, and/or that use safer solvents and auxiliaries, and/or that produce chemicals designed for degradation.

Click here...

X-Ray Vision

Brown University researchers are creating a technology that will allow doctors and scientists to see inside living humans and animals, and watch their bones move in 3D as they run, fly, jump, swim, and slither. This high-resolution, high-speed imaging system will contribute to better treatments for knee, shoulder, wrist, and back...

Event Alert

Fastening Technology & Bolted Joint Design Seminar

February 27-28, 2007

Detroit, Michigan USA

This two-day seminar gives engineers and technical personnel current specifications for, and a better understanding of, the complexities of mechanical joining with fasteners. Featured topics include bolted/screwed...

Who's Who at NASA

Bill Sheredy heads NASA's Smoke Aerosol Measurement Experiment (SAME), implemented to design smoke detection devices operable in the micro-gravity environments found in the International Space Station and space shuttle. Fire is deadly and unpredictable on Earth; in an enclosed space vehicle in orbit, its presence takes on even...

Technologies of the Week

"Micro-needles" have been disclosed that are characterized by their sharpness and side holes that prevent the coring phenomenon seen in standard needles. The needles can be several hundreds of microns in length and avoid most pain receptors in the skin. The sharpness ensures minimal damage to the skin.

Click here...

Genetically Engineered Cows

Scientists at Hematech (Sioux Falls, SD) have genetically engineered a dozen "prion-protein-knockout" cows to be free from the proteins that cause bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE), or mad cow disease. Prion protein is a natural cellular protein that can become misfolded into infectious particles and cause BSE...

Nano 50 Awards - Call for Nominations

Nanotech Briefs(R) magazine has announced a "Call for 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.

There is no cost to submit a...

Product of the Month

The OP280 series of infrared emitters and the OP580 series of matching silicon photo sensors from OPTEK Technology (Carrollton, TX) were named PTB Product of the Month for January. The OP280 emitter series consists of three standard devices: the OP180 940-nm infrared emitter, the OP280 880-nm infrared emitter, and the OP280K...

New Directions in Optical Scanning

Optical scanners were first introduced 40 years ago. Since then, they have become the enabling technology behind many innovative products across many different industries, including medical imaging, industrial machining, product identification, biomedical research, automotive manufacturing, and many...

Technology Business Needs
Alternative Technologies for Storing Mechanical Energy

A Fortune 500 company is seeking technology or joint development proposals for an alternative method of stored energy that can be used in place of a gas-charged cylinder or compression spring for closing valve.

Click here for more info.


The unexpected longevity of NASA's twin rovers Spirit and Opportunity is giving NASA a chance to field-test on Mars some new capabilities useful both to these missions and future rovers. Both rovers begin their fourth year on Mars this month. They are currently testing four new skills included in revised flight software uploaded to...

Product of the Year Awards

It's that time of year again -- time to cast your vote for NASA Tech Briefs' Readers' Choice Product of the Year. Each month, the editors of NTB select a Product of the Month. At the end of the year, we ask our Readers to choose the Product of the Year -- the one product from those 12 nominees that they feel was the...

Safer Driving

Engineers at Lehigh and Carnegie Mellon universities, working with Green Lane, PA-based Freedom Lift Corp., have integrated robotics, laser, and wireless technologies into a new system that promises to make it safer for wheelchair users to drive a car.

Current solutions for wheelchair users who desire independent mobility...

3D navigation devices

Two new 3D navigation devices, SpaceNavigator and SpaceExplorer, from 3Dconnexion(R), a Logitech company, San Jose, CA, have been named NASA Tech Briefs' Product of the Month for January. SpaceNavigator is an entry-level device that lets users move naturally and fluidly in 3D environments without making repetitive mouse...

Tech Needs of the Week

A method is needed to prevent the evaporation of a liquid out of a porous biological structure or to retain the liquid in the biological structure. The method will be used to decrease the rate of water evaporation through a fingernail. It must be safe and easily applicable by a common user.

Click here to respond to...

New Polymers

Researchers from the University of Delaware (UD) discovered a new class of ultra-thin polymer films with potential applications ranging from coating tiny microelectronic devices to plastic solar cells. The research focused on formerly nonpolymerizable ethylenes.

The UD researchers developed a polymer-making technique that...

White Paper

Torque Measurement Methods

Outlining torque measurement in the following areas: calculation from electrical power; measuring reaction torque; measuring in-line torque; strain gages in torque measurement. This white paper showcases torque measurement products in action and details how measurement experts measure torque....

Invisible Electronics

Northwestern University (Evanston, IL) researchers have combined organic and inorganic materials to produce prototype transparent, high-performance transistors that can be assembled inexpensively on both glass and plastics. To create the thin-film transistors, the Northwestern group combined films of the inorganic...

Technologies of the Week

Polymer coatings and films have been disclosed that are photochemically processed for producing safer paints and coatings for a wider range of applications.

View this technology at:

Question of the Week
Would You Use a ‘SwingBot?’


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