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 : Internet of Things
Answering Your Questions: Which Vehicle Applications Will Require High-Speed Data Rates (of 20 Gigabits per Second?)
Answering Your Questions: Which Vehicle Applications Will Require High-Speed Data Rates (of 20 Gigabits per Second?)
See what a vehicle can do as its data communication rates get faster and faster.
Answering Your Questions: Which Vehicle Applications Will Require High-Speed Data Rates (of 20 Gigabits per Second?)
Blog : Propulsion
By the Lake, a Flying-Fish Robot Takes Off
By the Lake, a Flying-Fish Robot Takes Off

A lake is usually a picture of serenity, perhaps the last place you’d expect to find a flying-fish robot launching itself 85 feet in the air.

By the Lake, a Flying-Fish Robot Takes Off
Blog : Aerospace
Answering Your Questions: Why Land on the South Pole of the Moon?
Answering Your Questions: Why Land on the South Pole of the Moon?
NASA is set to return to the Moon in 2024. But why the lunar south pole?
Answering Your Questions: Why Land on the South Pole of the Moon?
Blog : Sensors/Data Acquisition
New on NASA's Menu: A Tool to Predict Vitamin Levels in Spaceflight Food
New on NASA's Menu: A Tool to Predict Vitamin Levels in Spaceflight Food

It took over 3,000 pouches of spaceflight food, but Timothy Goulette and Hang Xiao ultimately created a mathematical model that NASA will soon use to ensure that its...

New on NASA's Menu: A Tool to Predict Vitamin Levels in Spaceflight Food
Blog : FDA/Regulatory
Answering Your Questions: What Makes Some Cameras 'ITAR' vs 'ITAR-Free?'
Answering Your Questions: What Makes Some Cameras 'ITAR' vs 'ITAR-Free?'
Two industry experts respond to a Tech Briefs reader question.
Answering Your Questions: What Makes Some Cameras 'ITAR' vs 'ITAR-Free?'
Blog : Electronics & Computers
A New Heat Shield for Electronics – Just 10 Atoms Thick
A New Heat Shield for Electronics – Just 10 Atoms Thick
Stanford Professor Eric Pop learned a valuable electronics lesson from his early days as a radio DJ.
A New Heat Shield for Electronics – Just 10 Atoms Thick
Blog : Manufacturing & Prototyping
Prospecting for Ice: NASA Challenges Students to Find Ways to Drill Down on Mars
Prospecting for Ice: NASA Challenges Students to Find Ways to Drill Down on Mars
A new NASA challenge asks university teams to find new ways to drill down to the ice on the Moon and Mars.
Prospecting for Ice: NASA Challenges Students to Find Ways to Drill Down on Mars
Blog : Defense
Answering Your Questions: Thermosets or Thermoplastic Composites?
Answering Your Questions: Thermosets or Thermoplastic Composites?
How do thermoplastic composites compare to the thermoset composites already in use for several decades? A Tech Briefs reader asks.
Answering Your Questions: Thermosets or Thermoplastic Composites?
Blog : Electronics & Computers
Answering Your Questions: With EV Battery Assembly, Why Adhesives Over Fasteners?
Answering Your Questions: With EV Battery Assembly, Why Adhesives Over Fasteners?
A reader asks an industry expert why adhesives are a better option for battery assembly in electric vehicles.
Answering Your Questions: With EV Battery Assembly, Why Adhesives Over Fasteners?
Blog : Wearables
How to Make a Transistor – From Thread
How to Make a Transistor – From Thread

Tufts University engineers are making transistors from a material you’re more likely to see in a fabric store than in the field of electronics.

How to Make a Transistor – From Thread
Blog : Imaging
When Exposed to Light, Artificial 'Chameleon Skin' Changes Color
When Exposed to Light, Artificial 'Chameleon Skin' Changes Color
"Actually it was not something we really planned!" Dr. Andrew Salmon told Tech Briefs.
When Exposed to Light, Artificial 'Chameleon Skin' Changes Color
Blog : Transportation
Answering Your Questions: Will Glazing Requirements Change When Vehicles Go Autonomous?
Answering Your Questions: Will Glazing Requirements Change When Vehicles Go Autonomous?
How much does windshield glazing matter when cars drive themselves?
Answering Your Questions: Will Glazing Requirements Change When Vehicles Go Autonomous?
Blog : Robotics, Automation & Control
A Mars Mystery Continues, As Study Rules Out Wind Erosion’s Role in Methane Spikes
A Mars Mystery Continues, As Study Rules Out Wind Erosion’s Role in Methane Spikes
Researchers from Newcastle University continue to explore the source of Mars' mysterious methane.
A Mars Mystery Continues, As Study Rules Out Wind Erosion’s Role in Methane Spikes
Blog : Internet of Things
AI and Agriculture: How to Spot Bad Bananas — With a Phone
AI and Agriculture: How to Spot Bad Bananas — With a Phone
The Tumaini app will could help farmers spot pests and disease before it's too late.
AI and Agriculture: How to Spot Bad Bananas — With a Phone
Blog : Propulsion
Answering Your Questions: What Kind of Spacecraft Will Bring Astronauts to the Moon in 2024?
Answering Your Questions: What Kind of Spacecraft Will Bring Astronauts to the Moon in 2024?
Lockheed Martin's Rob Chambers is working on a spacecraft that will bring astronauts back to the lunar surface.
Answering Your Questions: What Kind of Spacecraft Will Bring Astronauts to the Moon in 2024?
Blog : Aerospace
Answering Your Questions: How is NASA Studying the Effects of Microgravity on the Human Body?
Answering Your Questions: How is NASA Studying the Effects of Microgravity on the Human Body?

NASA is planning a return to the Moon and an exploration-mission to Mars, but how will the human body hold up in microgravity for long...

Answering Your Questions: How is NASA Studying the Effects of Microgravity on the Human Body?
Blog : Imaging
Camera Sees Objects Around Corners (Even Better Than Before)
Camera Sees Objects Around Corners (Even Better Than Before)
A new-and-improved system from Stanford University captures light from a greater variety of surfaces, allowing a wider, farther imagery than ever before.
Camera Sees Objects Around Corners (Even Better Than Before)
Blog : Energy
How to Generate Electricity — From Rust
How to Generate Electricity — From Rust

Scientists from Caltech and Northwestern University have found a way to generate electricity by combining saltwater with one of life's more undesirable compounds: rust.

How to Generate Electricity — From Rust
Blog : Aerospace
What is the ‘Lunar Gateway?’ NASA Details Its Return to the Moon
What is the ‘Lunar Gateway?’ NASA Details Its Return to the Moon
Sign up now to hear how NASA plans to get back to the Moon by 2024.
What is the ‘Lunar Gateway?’ NASA Details Its Return to the Moon
Blog : Electronics & Computers
Answering Your Questions: How Will Emulation Be Used in Automotive Design?
Answering Your Questions: How Will Emulation Be Used in Automotive Design?
A reader asks: What role will emulation play in the verification of modern automotive solutions?
Answering Your Questions: How Will Emulation Be Used in Automotive Design?
Blog : Test & Measurement
Answering Your Questions: What Are My Lithium-Ion Battery Inspection Options?
Answering Your Questions: What Are My Lithium-Ion Battery Inspection Options?
Our readers ask: How do you know that you have the right anode? How can you inspect the electrolyte or electrode material?
Answering Your Questions: What Are My Lithium-Ion Battery Inspection Options?
Blog : Manufacturing & Prototyping
A Self-Healing Glass, Inspired by a Butterfly Wing
A Self-Healing Glass, Inspired by a Butterfly Wing
A team from the University of Pittsburgh looked to the butterfly to create a glass that is self-healing, liquid-repellant, and anti-fogging.
A Self-Healing Glass, Inspired by a Butterfly Wing
Blog : Mechanical & Fluid Systems
A Work of Art: Researchers Create Complex Actuators, Automatically
A Work of Art: Researchers Create Complex Actuators, Automatically
MIT's new way of automatically creating actuators is a bit like solving a Rubik's Cube.
A Work of Art: Researchers Create Complex Actuators, Automatically
Blog : Aerospace
Answering Your Questions: Are Military Standards Influencing Commercial UAV?
Answering Your Questions: Are Military Standards Influencing Commercial UAV?
A reader asks our industry expert: Will air taxis be influenced by military UAV standards?
Answering Your Questions: Are Military Standards Influencing Commercial UAV?
Blog : Aerospace
The Apollo 11 ‘Spinoff’ Technologies We Still Use Today
The Apollo 11 ‘Spinoff’ Technologies We Still Use Today
Many of the technologies we use today – space blankets, hearing aids, food packaging – began on the Apollo 11 mission.
The Apollo 11 ‘Spinoff’ Technologies We Still Use Today
Blog : Manufacturing & Prototyping
With Embedded App, 'Anyone Can Program Robots'
With Embedded App, 'Anyone Can Program Robots'
A new app opens up robotics to a large user base.
With Embedded App, 'Anyone Can Program Robots'
Blog : Imaging
New at Sensors Expo: Image-Quality LiDAR for Autonomous Vehicles
New at Sensors Expo: Image-Quality LiDAR for Autonomous Vehicles
At Sensors Expo in San Jose, Innovusion (Los Altos, CA) debuted the Cheetah high-resolution, image-grade LiDAR system with long-distance capability.
New at Sensors Expo: Image-Quality LiDAR for Autonomous Vehicles
Blog : Wearables
At Sensors Expo: SST Wireless on a 'Journey of Innovation'
At Sensors Expo: SST Wireless on a 'Journey of Innovation'
The key to IoT implementation: Democratizing big data, says SST's Christopher Chong.
At Sensors Expo: SST Wireless on a 'Journey of Innovation'
News : Mechanical & Fluid Systems
LASER World of PHOTONICS, Day 3 — Unusual Exhibits
LASER World of PHOTONICS, Day 3 — Unusual Exhibits
Editor Bruce A. Bennett takes us through the unusual — and completely unexpected —at this year's LASER World of Photonics.
LASER World of PHOTONICS, Day 3 — Unusual Exhibits
Blog : Photonics/Optics
LASER World of PHOTONICS, Day 2: Bigger is Better
LASER World of PHOTONICS, Day 2: Bigger is Better
Many vendors at this year's event made their presence known with mega-sized booths.
LASER World of PHOTONICS, Day 2: Bigger is Better
Question of the Week
Would You Cook with ‘Julia?’