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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 : 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 : Materials
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 : Materials
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 : Materials
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 : Mechanical & Fluid Systems
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 : Aerospace
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 : Sensors/Data Acquisition
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.
Blog : Sensors/Data Acquisition
No Map Needed: ‘MapLite’ Sends Self-Driving Cars Off the Beaten Path
A “MapLite” framework from MIT allows self-driving cars to navigate roads – with just GPS and sensors as a guide.
Blog : Mechanical & Fluid Systems
A New Approach to Solar-Powered Water Purification: Stay Cool
Researchers at the University of Buffalo have found a counter-intuitive way of improving the water-purification process: keeping things cool.
Blog : Transportation
Answering Your Questions: Will Reducing Nitrogen Oxide (NOx) Lead to Increased Particulate?
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.
News : Electronics & Computers
Answering Your Questions: Is This the End of VME?
A reader asked our expert: What technology will spell the beginning of the end for the VME embedded computing platform?
Blog : Materials
Reusable ‘Oleo’ Sponge Soaks Up Oil Spills

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.

News : Medical
Answering Your Questions: Are Assistive Robotics Safe for Patients?
Robotics are increasingly find a role in patient rehabilitation. But are the technologies safe?
Blog : Medical
Sponge-Inspired XSTAT Device Quickly Seals Gunshot Wounds
With a syringe-like applicator, the XSTAT hemostatic tool injects small, rapidly-expanding sponges into a wound cavity.
Blog : Transportation
How to Control Vehicle Emissions: Selective Catalytic Reduction (SCR) or Exhaust Gas Recirculation (EGR)?
What's the best platform for controlling vehicle emissions? "It depends!" says one engine expert.
Blog : Electronics & Computers
Answering Your Questions: Lithium-Air Battery vs. Lithium-Ion
Larry Curtiss answers reader questions about a new kind of lithium-air battery.
Blog : Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Aboard SpaceX Cargo Capsule, New Ideas for Getting Rid of Space Junk
A “RemoveDEBRIS” satellite set to launch today will demonstrate new ideas for clearing out space junk near the International Space Station.
Blog : Materials
Metal Additive Manufacturing on the Rise, Says 3D Printing Study

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.

Blog : Communications
Truck Platooning Technology: How Will Road Conditions Impact V2V Communications?
A reader asks our expert: "How do road conditions impact vehicle-to-vehicle responses?"
Blog : Semiconductors & ICs
Wobbly ‘HOIP’ Semiconductor Has Researchers in Excited State
Physical chemists at the Georgia Institute of Technology discovered an emerging class of semiconductors with some unexpected moves.
Blog : Propulsion
HAMMER Time: A New Spacecraft Idea Aims to Ram an Asteroid Off-Course
Scientists have an idea to deflect Earth-bound asteroids: a 9-meter-tall, 8.8-ton spacecraft dubbed the HAMMER.
Blog : Mechanical & Fluid Systems
How to Understand Humanity Through Humanoids
Today's humanoid robots are being asked to have more brains than brawn.
Blog : Test & Measurement
A Look Back at the Trailblazing "Manny" Robot – A Firefighter's Friend
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."
Blog : Photonics/Optics
Low-Cost Smart Glass? Electrical Engineers Look into It
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.

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