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.

A new microchip allows sensor nodes to run uninterruptedly, even when the battery runs out.
A “MapLite” framework from MIT allows self-driving cars to navigate roads – with just GPS and sensors as a guide.
Researchers at the University of Buffalo have found a counter-intuitive way of improving the water-purification process: keeping things cool.
Does less nitrogen oxide mean more particulate emissions? A reader asks our expert.
Blog: Manufacturing & Prototyping
Will 3D Printing Get Past the Plastic?
If you think there’s too much hype surrounding 3D printing, perhaps that’s because you’re only thinking about plastic parts.
A reader asked our expert: What technology will spell the beginning of the end for the VME embedded computing platform?

A reusable sponge from the U.S. Department of Energy’s Argonne National Laboratory cleans up spills – not in the kitchen, but on the coast.

Robotics are increasingly find a role in patient rehabilitation. But are the technologies safe?
With a syringe-like applicator, the XSTAT hemostatic tool injects small, rapidly-expanding sponges into a wound cavity.
What's the best platform for controlling vehicle emissions? "It depends!" says one engine expert.
Larry Curtiss answers reader questions about a new kind of lithium-air battery.
A “RemoveDEBRIS” satellite set to launch today will demonstrate new ideas for clearing out space junk near the International Space Station.

A report released this week revealed a spike in the adoption of metal additive-manufacturing systems – an increase due largely to a growing number of new companies.

A reader asks our expert: "How do road conditions impact vehicle-to-vehicle responses?"
Physical chemists at the Georgia Institute of Technology discovered an emerging class of semiconductors with some unexpected moves.
Scientists have an idea to deflect Earth-bound asteroids: a 9-meter-tall, 8.8-ton spacecraft dubbed the HAMMER.
Blog: Robotics, Automation & Control
How to Understand Humanity Through Humanoids
Today's humanoid robots are being asked to have more brains than brawn.
In 1988, a team at Pacific Northwest Laboratories built a mannequin robot. One of the original engineers talked with Tech Briefs about his time making "Manny."
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.
A Tech Briefs reader asked our expert: What is the best data-processing architecture for truly autonomous, 'Level-5' vehicles?
NASA robotics engineers react to Boston Dynamics' back-flipping robots.
Have a product design idea? The "Create the Future" Design Contest is now open for submissions until July 2, 2018.
Software is the key; hardware is the door, says Xilinx’s Willard Tu.
An energy at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory used computer simulation to project the impact of in-home charging on the grid.
Tech Briefs spoke with Dr. Lishan Aklog about an innovative pediatric ear treatment: antibiotic-eluting resorbable ear tubes.
The votes are in! See the winners of the Tech Briefs' Readers' Choice Products of the Year.

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

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

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 –...

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