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 : 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 : Manufacturing & Prototyping
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
News : 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 : Electronics & Computers
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 : Mechanical & Fluid Systems
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 : RF & Microwave Electronics
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 : Sensors/Data Acquisition
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'
Blog : Imaging
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
News : 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
News : Energy
From LASER World of PHOTONICS 2019: Light as the Key to Global Sustainability
From LASER World of PHOTONICS 2019: Light as the Key to Global Sustainability
The increased use of photonics has the potential to reduce CO2 emissions — by 3-billion tons.
From LASER World of PHOTONICS 2019: Light as the Key to Global Sustainability
News : Test & Measurement
LASER World of PHOTONICS 2019
LASER World of PHOTONICS 2019
The bi-annual Laser World of Photonics exhibition begins today.
LASER World of PHOTONICS 2019
Blog : Energy
How to Produce More Clean Water? Resemble the Rose.
How to Produce More Clean Water? Resemble the Rose.
A new water purifier works better because it takes the shape of the rose.
How to Produce More Clean Water? Resemble the Rose.
Blog : Defense
Answering Your Questions: What are New Missions for Military UAVs?
Answering Your Questions: What are New Missions for Military UAVs?
An industry expert tells a Tech Briefs reader what's over the next hill regarding military UAVs.
Answering Your Questions: What are New Missions for Military UAVs?
Blog : Imaging
An ‘Active’ Machine-Vision Tool Adds Intelligence to Traffic Management
An ‘Active’ Machine-Vision Tool Adds Intelligence to Traffic Management
A new machine-vision tool extracts and reports valuable driving data from the standard traffic cameras already in place.
An ‘Active’ Machine-Vision Tool Adds Intelligence to Traffic Management
Blog : Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Energy-Efficient ‘SlothBot’ Moves Only When It Has To
Energy-Efficient ‘SlothBot’ Moves Only When It Has To

While robots like the WildCat from Boston Dynamics reach speeds of just under 20 miles an hour, engineers from Georgia Tech have gone with a decidedly slower approach.

Energy-Efficient ‘SlothBot’ Moves Only When It Has To
Blog : Green Design & Manufacturing
A Better Battery Offers ‘All-Renewable’ Promise for the Power Grid
A Better Battery Offers ‘All-Renewable’ Promise for the Power Grid
An Ohio State researcher shares with Tech Briefs the promise of potassium-oxygen batteries.
A Better Battery Offers ‘All-Renewable’ Promise for the Power Grid
Blog : Internet of Things
NIWeek 2019: What Will Slow Down 5G? ‘Nothing,’ Says Panel
NIWeek 2019: What Will Slow Down 5G? ‘Nothing,’ Says Panel
“Nothing is going to slow 5G down. I mean nothing," said one NIWeek panelist.
NIWeek 2019: What Will Slow Down 5G? ‘Nothing,’ Says Panel
Blog : Robotics, Automation & Control
A Leech-Like Robot Climbs Up the Walls
A Leech-Like Robot Climbs Up the Walls

Doctoral Programs student Ayato Kanada came up with his leech-like robot in a place you’d least expect it: His bathroom.

A Leech-Like Robot Climbs Up the Walls
Blog : Manufacturing & Prototyping
Markforged Helps Factories Fix Themselves
Markforged Helps Factories Fix Themselves

At RAPID + TCT in Detroit today, Markforged introduced Blacksmith artificial intelligence-powered software that makes manufacturing machines “aware” so they can automatically adjust programming...

Markforged Helps Factories Fix Themselves
Blog : Manufacturing & Prototyping
HP’s Digital Disruption
HP’s Digital Disruption

On the opening day of the RAPID + TCT Show in Detroit, HP introduced the new Jet Fusion 5200 Series 3D printing solution – an industrial 3D printing system – and the Digital Manufacturing Network, a new global...

HP’s Digital Disruption
Blog : Medical
Beyond Just Gesture, A Modified Smartwatch Detects 25 Specific Hand Activities
Beyond Just Gesture, A Modified Smartwatch Detects 25 Specific Hand Activities

Your smartwatch can count your steps, but can it tell if you’re typing on a keyboard? Or chopping a vegetable?

Beyond Just Gesture, A Modified Smartwatch Detects 25 Specific Hand Activities
Blog : Robotics, Automation & Control
Want a Magnetized Medical Robot? Just 3D Print It
Want a Magnetized Medical Robot? Just 3D Print It
A microrobot can take up to 8 hours to make. With the help of a 3D printer, University of Toronto engineers got the process down to 20 minutes
Want a Magnetized Medical Robot? Just 3D Print It
News : Robotics, Automation & Control
Answering Your Questions: How Do Medical Robots Help Surgeons?
Answering Your Questions: How Do Medical Robots Help Surgeons?
A reader asks: "With medical robots, what's in it for surgeons?"
Answering Your Questions: How Do Medical Robots Help Surgeons?
Blog : Manufacturing & Prototyping
A New Idea for Putting Out Fires in Space: The Vacuum Cleaner?
A New Idea for Putting Out Fires in Space: The Vacuum Cleaner?
If a short circuit starts a fire up on the International Space Station, Dr. Yuji Nakamura has an idea to extinguish it: The vacuum.
A New Idea for Putting Out Fires in Space: The Vacuum Cleaner?
Blog : Electronics & Computers
AUVSI XPONENTIAL 2019: Helicopter Drones
AUVSI XPONENTIAL 2019: Helicopter Drones
Three new unmanned helicopters were unveiled at AUVSI’s XPONENTIAL show in Chicago.
AUVSI XPONENTIAL 2019: Helicopter Drones
Blog : Aerospace
AUVSI XPONENTIAL 2019: A Flying Sea Glider
AUVSI XPONENTIAL 2019: A Flying Sea Glider
A Navy Sea Glider can look for a target in mid-air or underwater.
AUVSI XPONENTIAL 2019: A Flying Sea Glider
News : Propulsion
AUVSI XPONENTIAL 2019: Air Force Technology
AUVSI XPONENTIAL 2019: Air Force Technology
As always, the Air Force Research Laboratory had a huge presence at AUVSI’s XPONENTIAL show in Chicago.
AUVSI XPONENTIAL 2019: Air Force Technology
News : Aerospace
AUVSI XPONENTIAL 2019: A Real Thrill Ride
AUVSI XPONENTIAL 2019: A Real Thrill Ride
You think riding your Harley Davidson is exciting? Try the ElectraFly.
AUVSI XPONENTIAL 2019: A Real Thrill Ride
News : Transportation
AUVSI XPONENTIAL 2019: A Close-Up Look at Air Taxis
AUVSI XPONENTIAL 2019: A Close-Up Look at Air Taxis
Taxi! A steady stream of AUVSI XPONENTIAL attendees got to see Bell's new air vehicle up close.
AUVSI XPONENTIAL 2019: A Close-Up Look at Air Taxis