Billy's Blog

Join the conversation! Tech Briefs' Digital Editorial Manager Billy Hurley provides his take on today’s innovative technology developments and the topics most important to you.

Blog : Lighting
Functional Fabric Brings Semiconductors Directly to the Fiber
Instead of attaching semiconductors to fabric, an MIT team has found a way to add the technology right into the fiber themselves.
Blog : Automotive
Autonomous Vehicles are Expensive – Why is Hailing One So Cheap?
A reader asks: “If autonomous vehicles are too expensive for an individual to own, how is the cost per mile so low to hail one?”
Blog : Green Design & Manufacturing
A New Way to Replace Plastic Packaging: Crab Shells and Tree Fibers
Georgia Tech researchers have created a sustainable plastic packaging material, using two ingredients you might not expect in a snack machine: crab shells and tree fibers.
Blog : Sensors/Data Acquisition
How Soon Will Autonomous Vehicle Fleets Take the Streets?
Automated vehicles – fleets of them – may soon change the way we travel through cities. "How soon?" asks a reader.
Blog : Electronics & Computers
Scientists Find Right Combination for a Better Flow Battery

By introducing some new ingredients to the flow battery, Stanford University scientists are advancing a new way to store wind and solar electricity.

Blog : Test & Measurement
Engineers Teach Computers to Detect Radiation Damage
Engineers from the University of Wisconsin–Madison and Oak Ridge National Laboratory are teaching computers to quickly detect microscopic radiation damage.
Blog : Test & Measurement
Researchers Ready Cell-Sized Robots for Inspection Tasks

Researchers at MIT have created cell-sized robots that may someday be used to inspect and analyze hard-to-reach locations, from oil pipelines to the human body.

Blog : Electronics & Computers
How Would You Use An Electronic Circuit Sensor Sticker?

Researchers at Purdue University and the University of Virginia have designed peelable electronic films that can be cut and pasted onto any object, offering new sensing capabilities to...

Blog : Robotics, Automation & Control
Is It Important to Know How a Robot is 'Feeling?'

Talking about your feelings can be difficult. Now imagine if you’re a robot.

Blog : Sensors/Data Acquisition
New Products at Sensors Expo 2018: IMUs, Microcontrollers, Transducers, and More
See five of the new products released this week at Sensors Expo 2018.
Blog : Energy
From Chemical Engineer to Solar-Powered Whiskey and Beer: Meet Jim Batdorf, Chief Distiller
Jim Batdorf tells Tech Briefs about his unique career path, from chemical engineer to distiller of solar-powered spirits.
Blog : Manufacturing & Prototyping
A ‘Green’ Concrete Calls for Less Cement, More Ash
Researchers from Rice University are finding ways to use greater amounts of fly ash in an effort to build a “greener” kind of concrete.
Blog : Software
Answering Your Questions: What is Virtual Prototyping (for Optics)?
Just because it's computer simulation doesn't mean it's virtual prototyping. Our expert explains.
Blog : Sensors/Data Acquisition
To Communicate, Researchers Test the Power of Touch

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...

Blog : Photonics/Optics
Following Up: What is the Future of Flexible Solar Cells?
Researcher Jaana Vapaavuori answered an additional question regarding the future of flexible solar cells.
Blog : Imaging
With a Conductive Thin Film, Researchers Test a Silver Screen
PhD student Jes Linnet hopes that a silver-based, transparent conductive electrode film offers a longer-lasting alternative for flexible screens and electronics.
Blog : Propulsion
Answering Your Questions: Can CFD Software Simulate 'Wear and Tear' on an Engine?
Simulation tools offer insight into the physical processes of heavy-duty engines. But what about natural wear and tear?
Blog : Semiconductors & ICs
Will Flexible Solar Cells Soon Power Our Devices?
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.
Blog : Materials
Studying the Secrets Behind Spider Glue
How does a spider's glue maintain its stickiness, even in high humidity? Researchers in Akron investigated the question.
Blog : Manufacturing & Prototyping
FLAM! Researchers Test Cellulose as Sustainable 3D-Printing Material

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

Blog : Manufacturing & Prototyping
Answering Your Questions: Who Will Integrate 3D Metal Printing — Tiers or OEMs?
A reader asks: Will it be the OEMs or the Tier-1 and Tier-2 suppliers who will be purchasing 3D metal printing machines?
Blog : Electronics & Computers
How to Harness Humidity: Hydrogel Keeps Rooms Cool, Powers Small Devices

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

Blog : Manufacturing & Prototyping
Answering Your Questions: Why Are Companies Holding Back on 'Digital' Product Development?
If digital transformation is a boardroom priority, why are companies so slow to transform product development? A reader asks our experts.
Blog : Communications
A ‘Symmetrical’ Approach Improves Wireless Microsensors
A researcher tells Tech Briefs how his team's "symmetrical" sensor approach will support the growing "Internet of Things."
Blog : Materials
Answering Your Questions: Beyond Prototyping, How is 3D Metal Printing Being Used in the Automotive Industry?
Can metal 3D printing help automakers with more than just prototyping? It can, and it has, says our engineering expert.
Blog : Materials
Wanted: Uses for a Beetle-Inspired 'Spider-Man' Adhesive
Professor Paul Steen helped to create a beetle-inspired adhesive. Now it's about finding applications for it.
Blog : Energy
A 'Solid' Idea for Powering Spacecraft: Thermoacoustics
Researchers from Purdue University demonstrated that thermoacoustics properties could theoretically occur in solids as well as liquids.
Blog : Sensors/Data Acquisition
‘FingerPing’ Recognizes Micro Motions, Soundly

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

Blog : Materials
‘Invisibility’ Material Offers Thermal Camouflage
A stretchy material, modeled after squid skin, achieves thermal invisibility by reflecting heat.
Blog : Electronics & Computers
When the Battery Runs Out, the ‘BATLESS’ Microchip Keeps Going
A new microchip allows sensor nodes to run uninterruptedly, even when the battery runs out.