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 : Green Design & Manufacturing
Low-Cost Smart Glass? Electrical Engineers Look into It
Low-Cost Smart Glass? Electrical Engineers Look into It
A switchable window – one that transforms from a clear to tinted state – is not a new invention. What is new, however, is a “smart glass” that is low-cost.
Low-Cost Smart Glass? Electrical Engineers Look into It
Blog : Automotive
Sound-Off: How to Achieve ‘Level 5’ Autonomous Driving
Sound-Off: How to Achieve ‘Level 5’ Autonomous Driving
A Tech Briefs reader asked our expert: What is the best data-processing architecture for truly autonomous, 'Level-5' vehicles?
Sound-Off: How to Achieve ‘Level 5’ Autonomous Driving
Blog : Mechanical & Fluid Systems
A Role for Boston Dynamics’ Back-Flipping Robots: Is Space the Place?
A Role for Boston Dynamics’ Back-Flipping Robots: Is Space the Place?
NASA robotics engineers react to Boston Dynamics' back-flipping robots.
A Role for Boston Dynamics’ Back-Flipping Robots: Is Space the Place?
Blog : Robotics, Automation & Control
The ‘Create the Future’ Design Contest is Open for Entries
The ‘Create the Future’ Design Contest is Open for Entries
Have a product design idea? The "Create the Future" Design Contest is now open for submissions until July 2, 2018.
The ‘Create the Future’ Design Contest is Open for Entries
Blog : Electronics & Computers
How Can Reconfigurable Hardware Secure Connected Cars?
How Can Reconfigurable Hardware Secure Connected Cars?
Software is the key; hardware is the door, says Xilinx’s Willard Tu.
How Can Reconfigurable Hardware Secure Connected Cars?
Blog : Energy
How Will the Rise of Electric Vehicles Impact the Power Grid? An Engineer Simulates the Effects
How Will the Rise of Electric Vehicles Impact the Power Grid? An Engineer Simulates the Effects
An energy at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory used computer simulation to project the impact of in-home charging on the grid.
How Will the Rise of Electric Vehicles Impact the Power Grid? An Engineer Simulates the Effects
Blog : Medical
'Antibiotic-Eluting Resorbable Tubes' Aim to Transform Pediatric Ear Treatment
'Antibiotic-Eluting Resorbable Tubes' Aim to Transform Pediatric Ear Treatment
Tech Briefs spoke with Dr. Lishan Aklog about an innovative pediatric ear treatment: antibiotic-eluting resorbable ear tubes.
'Antibiotic-Eluting Resorbable Tubes' Aim to Transform Pediatric Ear Treatment
Blog : Test & Measurement
Your Readers' Choice Products of the Year
Your Readers' Choice Products of the Year
The votes are in! See the winners of the Tech Briefs' Readers' Choice Products of the Year.
Your Readers' Choice Products of the Year
Blog : Aerospace
Sharks on a Plane? Skin Scales Lift Aircraft Design
Sharks on a Plane? Skin Scales Lift Aircraft Design

To improve a flying vehicle, sometimes you have to turn to a reliable model that has been operating for hundreds of millions of years.

Sharks on a Plane? Skin Scales Lift Aircraft Design
Blog : Materials
New Uses for Electro-Osmosis, Beyond the Ski Jacket
New Uses for Electro-Osmosis, Beyond the Ski Jacket

Beyond the slopes, creators of a moisture-managing, sweat-getting ski jacket envision new places for the “electrified” apparel.

New Uses for Electro-Osmosis, Beyond the Ski Jacket
Blog : Materials
Shape-Morphing Materials Add 4th Dimension to 3D Printing
Shape-Morphing Materials Add 4th Dimension to 3D Printing

3D printing uses computer control to fuse layers of polymers or powders into a three-dimensional object. Rutgers University researchers found a way to add to a fourth dimension –...

Shape-Morphing Materials Add 4th Dimension to 3D Printing
Blog : Imaging
From Sci-Fi to Surgery: New Uses for ‘Floating’ 3D Imagery
From Sci-Fi to Surgery: New Uses for ‘Floating’ 3D Imagery
A BYU professor and his team have found a way to take the 3D displays of science fiction and make them a reality. A reader asks: Could surgeons use this kind of volumetric display?
From Sci-Fi to Surgery: New Uses for ‘Floating’ 3D Imagery
Blog : Electronics & Computers
Going for Gold: ‘Electro-Osmotic’ Ski Jacket Gets the Sweat Out
Going for Gold: ‘Electro-Osmotic’ Ski Jacket Gets the Sweat Out

As the 2018 Winter Olympics are set to begin next week, creators of a moisture-managing ski jacket are literally going for the gold.

Going for Gold: ‘Electro-Osmotic’ Ski Jacket Gets the Sweat Out
Blog : Data Acquisition
Sound-Off: Do You Data Log?
Sound-Off: Do You Data Log?
In an increasingly mobile world, manufacturers want to keep an eye on their facilities and equipment – no matter how far away they are from their test fixture.
Sound-Off: Do You Data Log?
Blog : Sensors/Data Acquisition
Design Considerations: How to Keep Wearers Wearing Wearables
Design Considerations: How to Keep Wearers Wearing Wearables
In a Tech Briefs Q&A, professor and biosensor creator Albert Titus reviews the state of wearable sensor design.
Design Considerations: How to Keep Wearers Wearing Wearables
Blog : Aerospace
Introducing the New TechBriefs.com

Long-time readers of the site may have noticed this week that TechBriefs.com has a whole new look — a more visual, more scrollable design.

Blog : Robotics, Automation & Control
And on That Farm He Had a…Robot?
And on That Farm He Had a…Robot?
Farmers in Europe are increasingly turning to robotic weeders. A specialist from University of California, Davis tested out the technologies.
And on That Farm He Had a…Robot?
Blog : Energy
Are Cities Prepared for Electric Autonomous Vehicles?
Are Cities Prepared for Electric Autonomous Vehicles?
A Beverly Hills city official tells Tech Briefs how the city is changing its infrastructure to accommodate a growing number of electric vehicles.
Are Cities Prepared for Electric Autonomous Vehicles?
Blog : Energy
What is Intelligent Charging?
What is Intelligent Charging?
As electric vehicles take the road, a new kind of EV infrastructure has emerged to power them. A Tech Briefs reader asks our expert about an emerging, “smart” idea: Intelligent Charging.
What is Intelligent Charging?
News : Manufacturing & Prototyping
Inspiring Young Scientists, One Tiny Fidget Spinner at a Time
Inspiring Young Scientists, One Tiny Fidget Spinner at a Time
ORNL staff scientist Adam Rondinone explains how his team made the tiny toy.
Inspiring Young Scientists, One Tiny Fidget Spinner at a Time
Blog : Energy
Will Electric Vehicles Surpass Combustion Engine Vehicles?
Is the future electric? A reader asks an expert from Mercedes-Benz.
News : Imaging
The Top Tech Briefs Stories of 2017
The Top Tech Briefs Stories of 2017

With another year of Tech Briefs almost in the books, it's time to look at our most-read news articles of 2017.

Top stories included a look back at the life of Robert Goddard, and a look forward to...

The Top Tech Briefs Stories of 2017
News : Sensors/Data Acquisition
A Giant Leap: Reconstructing NASA’s Moon-Mission Audio
A Giant Leap: Reconstructing NASA’s Moon-Mission Audio
During the historic Apollo 11 mission, the astronauts, mission control specialists, and back-room support staff did plenty of communicating. The University of Texas at Dallas launched a project to make all of the moon-mission audio accessible.
A Giant Leap: Reconstructing NASA’s Moon-Mission Audio
Question of the Week : Manufacturing & Prototyping
Will Ethics Training be Essential for Tomorrow's Design Engineers?

In our second INSIDER story, Patti Kreh demonstrated that colleges and universities will need to take an "interdisciplinary" approach to train the design engineers of the future.

"What we're seeing is the need for the blending of disciplines – a combination of...

Blog : Software
NASA Supercomputer Simulations Reveal 'Noisy' Aerodynamics
NASA Supercomputer Simulations Reveal 'Noisy' Aerodynamics
Simulation allows NASA researchers to better understand and predict the changes that contribute to aircraft noise.
NASA Supercomputer Simulations Reveal 'Noisy' Aerodynamics
News : Manufacturing & Prototyping
Thinking Ahead with 3D Printing: Five Technologies to Watch

A 3D printer's moving parts can lead to vibrations and a flawed final product. Engineers at the University of Michigan anticipated the problem — and now, thanks to their algorithms, machines can do the same.

News : Aerospace
Trick or Treat: Spooky Space Sounds from NASA, and 7 Techs that Creep and Crawl

Getting into the Halloween spirit, NASA released a collection of the spookiest sounds ever recorded by the agency's spacecraft instruments. Captured radio emissions reveal whistling helium, howling planets, and other mysterious noises from the depths of space.