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.

Just because it's computer simulation doesn't mean it's virtual prototyping. Our expert explains.

Could touch be the new avenue for communications? Researchers from MIT and Purdue University think so and are working on a “general-purpose” tactile system that delivers information...

Researcher Jaana Vapaavuori answered an additional question regarding the future of flexible solar cells.
PhD student Jes Linnet hopes that a silver-based, transparent conductive electrode film offers a longer-lasting alternative for flexible screens and electronics.
Simulation tools offer insight into the physical processes of heavy-duty engines. But what about natural wear and tear?
Professor Jaana Vapaavuori spoke with Tech Briefs about the manufacturing methods that could someday decrease the cost and increase the lifetime of flexible solar cells.
How does a spider's glue maintain its stickiness, even in high humidity? Researchers in Akron investigated the question.

Researchers from Singapore University of Technology and Design have demonstrated 3D printing with one of the Earth’s most abundant organic compounds: cellulose.

A reader asks: Will it be the OEMs or the Tier-1 and Tier-2 suppliers who will be purchasing 3D metal printing machines?

There is plenty of moisture in the air — Professor Swee Ching Tan wants to harvest the humidity and put it to good use.

If digital transformation is a boardroom priority, why are companies so slow to transform product development? A reader asks our experts.
A researcher tells Tech Briefs how his team's "symmetrical" sensor approach will support the growing "Internet of Things."
Can metal 3D printing help automakers with more than just prototyping? It can, and it has, says our engineering expert.
Professor Paul Steen helped to create a beetle-inspired adhesive. Now it's about finding applications for it.
Researchers from Purdue University demonstrated that thermoacoustics properties could theoretically occur in solids as well as liquids.

A new system from the Georgia Institute of Technology has a sound approach to recognizing tiny gestures of the hand.

A stretchy material, modeled after squid skin, achieves thermal invisibility by reflecting heat.
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.

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