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 : 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
Blog : 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.
Articles : Aerospace
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 : Test & Measurement
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 : Power
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 : Communications
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 : Sensors/Data Acquisition
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
News : Manufacturing & Prototyping
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 : Medical
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 : Mechanical & Fluid Systems
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?
News : Motion Control
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
News : Robotics, Automation & Control
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 : Aerospace
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
Blog : 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 : Aerospace
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
Blog : Manufacturing & Prototyping
3D-Printed Glass Paves Way for ‘New Era’ of Photonics
3D-Printed Glass Paves Way for ‘New Era’ of Photonics

For the first time, researchers have 3D printed a unique material that demonstrates optical transparency in the mid-infrared range: chalcogenide glass.

3D-Printed Glass Paves Way for ‘New Era’ of Photonics
Blog : Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Answering Your Questions: CNC Machining or 3D Printing?
Answering Your Questions: CNC Machining or 3D Printing?
Some parts should be CNC machined, and some parts should be 3D printed. Our expert compares the two manufacturing processes.
Answering Your Questions: CNC Machining or 3D Printing?
Blog : Nanotechnology
Snow's Power Potential: How to Generate Electricity from a Blizzard
Snow's Power Potential: How to Generate Electricity from a Blizzard
A new 3D printed device turns snowfall into electricity.
Snow's Power Potential: How to Generate Electricity from a Blizzard
Blog : Automotive
Higher-Strength Plastics: How to Turn Polyethylene into ‘Transparent Aluminium’
Higher-Strength Plastics: How to Turn Polyethylene into ‘Transparent Aluminium’
Researchers created transparent polythene sheets that have a strength greater than aluminum – at a fraction of the weight.
Higher-Strength Plastics: How to Turn Polyethylene into ‘Transparent Aluminium’
Blog : Manufacturing & Prototyping
Answering Your Questions: When to CT Scan in the 3D Printing Process
Answering Your Questions: When to CT Scan in the 3D Printing Process
The 3D-printing process has a number of steps. Find out where CT scanning should fall.
Answering Your Questions: When to CT Scan in the 3D Printing Process
Blog : Electronics & Computers
How Fitness Wearables Began – With a Plug-In Sneaker
How Fitness Wearables Began – With a Plug-In Sneaker
Dr. Peter Cavanagh talks with Tech Briefs about his journey in the 1980s as he turned a running shoe into a tracking computer.
How Fitness Wearables Began – With a Plug-In Sneaker
Blog : Robotics, Automation & Control
Automate Show 2019: Introducing New Robots to North America
Automate Show 2019: Introducing New Robots to North America
On day one of the Automate show in Chicago, Stäubli introduced its new TS2 four-axis robots to the North American market.
Automate Show 2019: Introducing New Robots to North America
Blog : Sensors/Data Acquisition
Woven into Clothing, 'Smart' Threads Sense Gases
Woven into Clothing, 'Smart' Threads Sense Gases
The dyed threads change color when they detect a variety of gases.
Woven into Clothing, 'Smart' Threads Sense Gases
Blog : Manufacturing & Prototyping
Answering Your Questions: Can Collaborative Robots Help Manufacturers Looking to Scale Their Business?
Answering Your Questions: Can Collaborative Robots Help Manufacturers Looking to Scale Their Business?
Cobots can help manufacturers automate tasks both known or unknown, says engineer Israel Nunez.
Answering Your Questions: Can Collaborative Robots Help Manufacturers Looking to Scale Their Business?
Question of the Week
Would You Cook with ‘Julia?’