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.

Don’t hold your breath, says Jeff Crystal from Voltaic Systems.
An FMEA provides a step-by-step way of identifying product failures. Carl Carlson explains just how long the process takes.
InSight project manager Tom Hoffman spoke with Tech Briefs about the importance of digging deep in our knowledge of Mars.
Professor Hart spoke with Tech Briefs about why his team's new battery may someday find its way beyond niche applications and into electric vehicles.
A reader asks our industry experts: "How good are the simulation models for automotive ADAS sensors?"
Researchers from the National University of Singapore (NUS) are trying to solve the problem of plastic waste by converting it into something useful: Aerogels.
Blog: Robotics, Automation & Control
Modular Robots Change Shape – Depending on the Task
Professor Hadas Kress-Gazit tells Tech Briefs about the "great promise" of autonomous modular robots.
For an electric-aircraft future, it's not enough to just change components. You have to rethink design, our expert tells one reader.
Have you heard of "fatbergs?" Researcher Asha Srinivasan explains how her team is turning masses of fat, oil, and grease into biofuel.
Richard Duke spoke with Tech Briefs about the nature of the space-junk problem — and how his team plans to fix it.
Carl Yee invented a new kind of "Invisible Ink," so he could print paper without the guilt.
How will the use of AR and virtual prototypes impact the role of automotive parts manufacturers? A reader asks our expert.
A new solution, applied like paint, cools down rooftops, buildings, water tanks, vehicles, and even spacecraft.
Robert Holmes spoke with Tech Briefs about his path from "amateur" astronomer to NASA pro.
Rivers Ingersoll spoke with Tech Briefs about why it is so important to have an up-close understanding of the hummingbird and nectar bat.
Is there more to the "Internet of Medical Things" than just data gathering? A reader asks our experts.
NASA's Lindley Johnson explains how the exciting business of asteroid detection does have its moments that are “like any other office job.”
A reader asks: "Why do organizations struggle to see 3D printing or additive manufacturing for more than prototyping? "
Researchers discovered that an on-and-off kind of thermal regulation is possible if you look to the squid.
A NASA researcher spoke with Tech Briefs about the importance of the Curiosity rover's latest find on Mars.
A readers asks two 3D-printing veterans: "What is your advice to someone starting out with additive manufacturing?"
A new approach to structural coloration is more freeform than you might expect.
Many manufacturers are relying on vision system integrators to implement machine vision. Our expert tells a reader how to find the right one for you.
For social robots to become commonplace in clinical settings, engineers will need to build both technology improvements as well something slightly more complicated: Trust.
Researcher Nikhil Gupta tells Tech Briefs why "exploding" a QR code inside a 3D-printed part makes counterfeiting practically impossible.
A reader asks our expert: As autonomous vehicles enter the market, where are the weak spots in simulation?

Simulation is a helpful go-to tool for assessing risk, but what if the event being simulated is an avalanche – a complex event with countless parameters and physical...

Blog: Robotics, Automation & Control
How to Power Robots with Popcorn

Cornell researchers have discovered a novel – and delicious – way to power simple robots: Popcorn.

Instead of attaching semiconductors to fabric, an MIT team has found a way to add the technology right into the fiber themselves.

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