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 : 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 : Energy
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 : Aerospace
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 : Imaging
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 : 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 : Robotics, Automation & Control
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?
Blog : Sensors/Data Acquisition
Energy Monitor Helps Coast Guard Find Faulty Electrics on Board
Energy Monitor Helps Coast Guard Find Faulty Electrics on Board
The MIT system can monitor the behavior of electronic devices within a building, a factory – and even a 270-foot Coast Guard cutter.
Energy Monitor Helps Coast Guard Find Faulty Electrics on Board
Blog : Manufacturing & Prototyping
Answering Your Questions: When to Use Collaborative Robots in Manufacturing
Answering Your Questions: When to Use Collaborative Robots in Manufacturing
A reader asks: What types of considerations need to be made before you go in on collaborative robots?
Answering Your Questions: When to Use Collaborative Robots in Manufacturing
Blog : Sensors/Data Acquisition
3D-Printable Sensor ‘Turns Blue’ to Detect Trace Amounts of Water
3D-Printable Sensor ‘Turns Blue’ to Detect Trace Amounts of Water
The sensor supports new ideas in food-quality control, environmental monitoring, and more.
3D-Printable Sensor ‘Turns Blue’ to Detect Trace Amounts of Water
Blog : Manufacturing & Prototyping
Inside the Invention of a Snore-Stopping Sleep Mask – From Idea to Prototype to Product
Inside the Invention of a Snore-Stopping Sleep Mask – From Idea to Prototype to Product
It took two and a half years, 60 prototypes, and even some of his children’s craft foam, but Curtis Ray turned his idea into invention.
Inside the Invention of a Snore-Stopping Sleep Mask – From Idea to Prototype to Product
Blog : Energy
High-Speed Jet Mixer Efficiently Turns Algae into Fuel
High-Speed Jet Mixer Efficiently Turns Algae into Fuel
A new technology may lead to a more mainstream use of algal biofuels.
High-Speed Jet Mixer Efficiently Turns Algae into Fuel
Blog : Test & Measurement
Readers Select 2018 Products of the Year
Readers Select 2018 Products of the Year
See which three products won our 2018 Readers' Choice contest.
Readers Select 2018 Products of the Year
Blog : Manufacturing & Prototyping
Calling All Innovators: 'Create the Future' Contest is Open for Entries
Calling All Innovators: 'Create the Future' Contest is Open for Entries
Your design idea could win you $20,000.
Calling All Innovators: 'Create the Future' Contest is Open for Entries
Blog : Motion Control
On a Firefighter’s Jacket, a Self-Powered Tracking Sensor Takes the Heat
On a Firefighter’s Jacket, a Self-Powered Tracking Sensor Takes the Heat
The wearable is fireproof, thanks to a carbon aerogel nanocomposite material.
On a Firefighter’s Jacket, a Self-Powered Tracking Sensor Takes the Heat
Blog : Software
Answering Your Questions: What Areas of Study Are Desirable for the Autonomous Industry?
Answering Your Questions: What Areas of Study Are Desirable for the Autonomous Industry?
With self-driving vehicles poised to take the road, how can today’s engineers prepare themselves to support an autonomous future?
Answering Your Questions: What Areas of Study Are Desirable for the Autonomous Industry?
Blog : Materials
Porous Carbon Fibers: How a Car Could Someday Store Its Energy 'Everywhere'
Porous Carbon Fibers: How a Car Could Someday Store Its Energy 'Everywhere'
Tesla uses batteries to store energy underneath the car seats. What if we could store energy everywhere on the vehicle?
Porous Carbon Fibers: How a Car Could Someday Store Its Energy 'Everywhere'
Blog : Nanotechnology
Graphene Breakthrough Puts Nanolithography ‘Back in the Toolbox’
Graphene Breakthrough Puts Nanolithography ‘Back in the Toolbox’
Graphene may play a greater role in tomorrow electronics, thanks to an achievement from the Technical University of Denmark.
Graphene Breakthrough Puts Nanolithography ‘Back in the Toolbox’
Blog : Data Acquisition
Answering Your Questions: Are There Regulations for Machine Learning in Vehicles?
Answering Your Questions: Are There Regulations for Machine Learning in Vehicles?
How do you regulate a system that, in effect, is learning as it goes?
Answering Your Questions: Are There Regulations for Machine Learning in Vehicles?
Blog : Photonics/Optics
A Morphing Soft Actuator Expands the Motion Options
A Morphing Soft Actuator Expands the Motion Options
Even a shape-morphing plane is possible, says Harvard's Ehsan Hajiesmaili.
A Morphing Soft Actuator Expands the Motion Options
Blog : Manufacturing & Prototyping
3D-Printed Rubber Repairs Itself
3D-Printed Rubber Repairs Itself
A new material development from USC brings us a step closer to self-healing sneakers.
3D-Printed Rubber Repairs Itself
Blog : Materials
What is 'Metallic Wood?' Nickel, Plus Nano-Pores
What is 'Metallic Wood?' Nickel, Plus Nano-Pores
By adding nanopores to nickel, James Pikul and his team created a kind of "metallic wood."
What is 'Metallic Wood?' Nickel, Plus Nano-Pores
Blog : Manufacturing & Prototyping
Answering Your Questions: How to Sell Top Management on Failure Analysis, FMEA
Answering Your Questions: How to Sell Top Management on Failure Analysis, FMEA
A Failure Analysis may help find problems during product development, but what role should top management play in an FMEA?
Answering Your Questions: How to Sell Top Management on Failure Analysis, FMEA
Blog : Materials
Embodied Logic: Researchers Build Artificial Venus Flytrap
Embodied Logic: Researchers Build Artificial Venus Flytrap
Professor Jordan Raney spoke with Tech Briefs about what’s possible when you can embody 3D-printed objects with logic.
Embodied Logic: Researchers Build Artificial Venus Flytrap
Blog : Transportation
More from CES 2019: Attack Surfaces Expand as Cars Increasingly Connect
More from CES 2019: Attack Surfaces Expand as Cars Increasingly Connect
David Barzilai from Karamba Security tells Tech Briefs what threats to the connected car concern him the most.
More from CES 2019: Attack Surfaces Expand as Cars Increasingly Connect
Blog : Sensors/Data Acquisition
CES 2019 Digital Health Trends: Three 'Invisible' Technologies that Monitor the Heart
CES 2019 Digital Health Trends: Three 'Invisible' Technologies that Monitor the Heart
From CES 2019: Tech Briefs looks at three standout health-monitoring products.
CES 2019 Digital Health Trends: Three 'Invisible' Technologies that Monitor the Heart
Blog : Software
CES 2019: Artificial Intelligence Forecasts Famine
CES 2019: Artificial Intelligence Forecasts Famine
From CES 2019: For famine relief, the World Bank is turning to artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning.
CES 2019: Artificial Intelligence Forecasts Famine
Blog : Sensors/Data Acquisition
‘Levitation’ Leads to More Durable MEMS Switches
‘Levitation’ Leads to More Durable MEMS Switches
Professor Sherry Towfighian spoke with Tech Briefs about how a new MEMS design will improve our cell phones and power lines.
‘Levitation’ Leads to More Durable MEMS Switches