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: Sensors/Data Acquisition
By taking a closer look at the delta deposits on Mars, Stanford University researchers concluded that the Jezero Crater is still the best place to search for signs of life on Mars.
Blog: Sensors/Data Acquisition
A team used to making pollutant-detection systems is adapting their technologies to spot coronavirus.
Blog: Propulsion
To speed up the design process, researchers from the University of Texas are finding more efficient ways to predict, or "learn," a rocket's behavior.
Blog: Energy
A team at Northwestern University is developing a material so porous that if you were able to unfold a gram of it, you could go farther than a football field.
Blog: Electronics & Computers
A Berkeley Lab system provides a much more sensitive probe of the chemical state of battery electrodes, especially when the battery is operated under high capacity mode.
Blog: Medical

In just three weeks, the Innovative Genomics Institute (IGI) at UC Berkeley built a robotic COVID-19 laboratory.

Blog: Robotics, Automation & Control

Robots are in high demand as medical professionals seek hands-free ways to disinfect environments and contain the spread of coronavirus and COVID-19.

Blog: Manufacturing & Prototyping
Bridget Pelaez spoke to Tech Briefs about the 1,000 face shields being printed for Florida hospitals.
Blog: Manufacturing & Prototyping
See how Prof. Olaf Diegel built a hands-free door opener.
Blog: Sensors/Data Acquisition
As autonomous cars collect data on passing pedestrians, cyclists, and license plates, what privacy measures are in place? A reader asks.
Blog: Manufacturing & Prototyping
3D printing is being used to quickly create life-saving parts and prototypes like masks, shields, and ventilator valves.
Blog: Electronics & Computers
A reader asks, "What market drivers need to occur for electric vehicles to be considered an acceptable replacement for vehicles with internal combustion engines?"
Blog: Robotics, Automation & Control
Massive manufacturing bots have evolved into something new — collaborative robots.
Blog: Aerospace
NASA wants small businesses to help the safe operation of UAVs in airspace.
Blog: Aerospace
NASA’s big return to the Moon by 2024 will call for the support of small technologies – specifically, the miniature spacecraft known as CubeSats.
Blog: Sensors/Data Acquisition
The votes are in. Our readers selected top products in data acquisition, software, and ultrasonic sensing.
Blog: Robotics, Automation & Control
The new Mars Rover Name is Perseverance, thanks to a suggestion from Virginia 7th grader Alex Mather.
Blog: Aerospace
University of Washington engineer James Koch observed patterns in a promising, but often-unpredictable rocket part: The rotating detonation engine.
Blog: Manufacturing & Prototyping
How does testing a metal 3D-printed part compare to testing a casted one? That's the elephant in the room, says industry pro Kevin Brigden.
Blog: Energy
An energy breakthrough from the City University of Hong Kong finds power in a single drop of water – up to 140 volts, in fact.
Blog: Robotics, Automation & Control
See what the SuperCam will do when it arrives on Mars in 2021.
Blog: Test & Measurement
“We’re analyzing rocks from space, atom by atom,” says researcher Jennika Greer.
Blog: Test & Measurement
Editor Bruce A. Bennett shares his observations from SPIE Photonics West, including the emergence of LiDAR.
Blog: Electronics & Computers
See what caught Bruce A. Bennett's eye during Day 1 of Photonics West 2020 in San Francisco.
Blog: Software
Researchers from the University of Illinois are looking at all the different ways to create a non-pneumatic automotive tire.
Blog: Manufacturing & Prototyping
Cornell researcher T.J. Wallin explains what's so cool about a robot that sweats.
Blog: Aerospace
When astronauts arrive on the Moon, their habitat may be one made out of fungi.
Blog: Materials
"View it as an infrared privacy shield," says Professor Mikhail Kats.

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