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.

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Laser Beam

A research scientist at the University of Michigan has created what may be the world's most powerful laser beam. The record-setting beam measures 20 billion trillion watts per square centimeter and contains 300 terrawatts of power. That's roughly 300-times the capacity of the US electrical grid. The laser beam's power is concentrated...

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3-D Imaging

A new technology called FINCH (Fresnel INcoherent Correlation Holography), invented by researchers at Johns Hopkins University and Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, could make three-dimensional imaging quicker, easier and less costly than current methods. According to Gary Brooker, director of Johns Hopkins University's Microscopy...

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Combing for Diseases

A team led by Jun Ye, a physicist at JILA - a joint institute of the National Institute of Standards and Technology and the University of Colorado at Boulder - demonstrated an optical technique for simultaneously identifying tiny amounts of a broad range of molecules in the breath, potentially enabling a fast, low-cost...

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NASA Briefs

A robotic arm tool for rapidly acquiring permafrost (RATRAP) is being developed at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPO). The RATRAP is for acquiring samples of permafrost on Mars or another remote planet and immediately delivering the samples to adjacent instruments for analysis.

Read more here.

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Tech Needs of the Week

Polished aluminum begins to re-oxidize and pit almost immediately, especially when exposed to climates along the sea or in hot, humid areas. A company is looking for a coating or surface-protection process to protect polished aluminum used outdoors and keep it free of scratches. The solution should be clear and have a...

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Gecko Gauze

MIT researchers created a waterproof adhesive bandage inspired by gecko lizards that may soon join sutures and staples as a basic operating room tool for patching up surgical wounds or internal injuries. The MIT researchers built the adhesive with a biorubber and, using micropatterning technology, shaped the biorubber into different...

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Current Attractions

Each month, NTB highlights tech briefs related to a particular area of technology in a special section called Technology Focus. Here are some of the technologies featured in the February issue focus on Test and Measurement.

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Detecting Toxic Metals

The Department of Energy's Pacific Northwest National Laboratory has developed a portable detection system that identifies personal exposure to toxic lead and other dangerous heavy metals. The device accurately detects lead and other toxic metals in blood as well as in urine and saliva. It can provide an accurate blood...

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Techs of the Week

A far-field optical appearance meter captures hemispherical light distributions. Appearance is recognized as a property that determines an important part of the human interface. The usual way to assess the overall appearance is by a trained person examining the surface visually under standard illumination. It is literally in...

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High-Frequency CMOS Circuit

Researchers from the University of Florida and Texas Instruments have developed a high-frequency circuit made with a common CMOS transistor. The circuit is expected to find its way into environmental monitoring equipment to detect pollution, noxious gases or bioterrorism agents. It can also be used in medical...

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Carbon Recycling

Researchers at the Georgia Institute of Technology have developed a strategy to capture, store and eventually recycle carbon from vehicles. Their goal is to create a sustainable transportation system that uses a liquid fuel and traps the carbon emission in the vehicle for later processing at a fueling station. The carbon would...

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Technology Business Briefs

Inkjet Printing Patents

The company is an inkjet printer manufacturer looking to acquire patents to support consumer oriented printing operations. Patents related to next generation photo printing and other mass market consumer printing technologies would be considered. Click here for more info.

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Current Attractions

While working on designing an X-ray navigation system for NASA's next- generation Black Hole Imager, Dr. Keith Gendreau, a physicist at the Goddard Space Flight Center, developed the world's first X-ray communication system.

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Tech Needs of the Week

A company is looking for a seasoning, in any form, that delivers the flavor and aroma of potato. This may be accomplished in a powder or a liquid, or in an encapsulation that releases when the right sensor is encountered. The delivery mechanism is open to discussion. The solution should be cost-effective and backed up by...

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Knee Brace

Scientists at the University of Michigan have created a new energy-capturing knee brace that can generate enough electricity from walking to operate a portable GPS locator, cell phone, motorized prosthetic joint, or implanted neurotransmitter. The wearable mechanism works similarly to how regenerative braking charges a battery in...

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Current Attractions

The DASYLab 10 graphical programming software from Measurement Computing (Norton, MA) was named NTB Product of the Month for February. Designed for test and measurement applications, the software is compatible with Microsoft Vista and can be configured as an enhanced Y/t chart, X/Y chart, or data chart recorder. It supports...

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Tech Briefs

An electronics architecture has been developed to enable the rapid construction and testing of prototypes of robotic systems. A system employing this architecture can easily be reconfigured to satisfy various needs with respect to input, output, processing of data, sensing, actuation, and power.

Click here for more info.

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Soils and Landmine Detection

Metal detectors are the most common technique used to search for landmines, many of which reside in the tropics where intensively weathered soils have properties that can limit the performance of metal detectors. To examine the problem, geoscientists at the Leibniz Institute for Applied Geosciences and the Federal...

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Techs of the Week

The use of outdoor wireless access points for services such as Internet access is gaining popularity. At the same time, there is an opportunity for municipalities to improve city lighting operational costs by using lamp management systems. A technology enables the design of a system that achieves advanced lamp management, and...

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Portable Electronics Chip Design

Researchers at MIT and Texas Instruments have unveiled a new chip design for portable electronics that is reportedly up to ten times more energy- efficient than present technology. The design could lead to cell phones, implantable medical devices, and sensors that last far longer on a battery charge.

The...

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Whale Hearing

Researchers from San Diego State University and the University of California used computer models to mimic the effects of underwater noise on an unusual whale species, and discovered a new pathway for sound. Advances in Finite Element Modeling (FEM), computed tomography (CT) scanning, and computer processing have made it possible...

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Current Attractions

Communications and telecommunications are needs that are deeply engrained in human history. These needs have significantly evolved over time, enabling today's content-rich (text, music, images and video), real-time, and multi-location exchanges through electrical, optical, or electromagnetic signals conveyed by different...

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Technology Business Briefs

Seeking Large Diverse Patent Portfolios

500+ patents and ideally addressing different markets. Networking area: DSL, Cable modem, power over ethernet, broadband, audio/video, bandwidth expansion software. Mobile: Mobile infrastructure, applications (imaging, security, commerce). Memory: Flash/solid state....

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Mucosal "Boosters"

Two novel proteins have the potential to enhance the production of antibodies against a multitude of infectious agents. Terry D. Connell, professor of microbiology and immunology at the University at Buffalo New York, developed and patented the LT-IIa and LT-IIb enterotoxins and their respective mutant proteins as new mucosal...

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Tech Needs of the Week

A company wishes to buy US patents in the following general areas:

-Digital cameras and imaging, including CCD, low-light imaging, high-speed imaging, non-visible wavelengths, motion/lighting compensation, and automatic focusing.

-Display technology, including LCD, DLP, OLED, electronic ink, flexible...

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Techs of the Week

A method to join and seal the flow field plate to the gas diffusion layer or the coolant plate of a fuel cell structure eliminates seals and gaskets in the fuel cell assembly. This design potentially achieves considerable cost reduction and simplifies assembly. Eliminating the seal reduces the chance of stack failure due to...

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Intermediate-Mass Black Holes

A violent fate awaits a white dwarf star that wanders too close to a moderately massive black hole. According to a new study from the University of California at Santa Cruz, the black hole's gravitational pull on the white dwarf would cause tidal forces sufficient to disrupt the stellar remnant and reignite nuclear...

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Tech Needs of the Week

A company is seeking enhancement to an existing consumer package that saves weight, money, shipping costs, and also preserves the product. Current packaging is cylindrical. The new consumer packaging should convey the qualities of freshness, taste, novelty, and differentiation from other products. It should be able to be...

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Pill Predictions

Researchers at the University of Washington developed a tiny camera designed to take high-quality, color pictures in confined spaces. Such a device could find warning signs of esophageal cancer, the fastest growing cancer in the United States. The scanning endoscope developed at UW consists of just a single optical fiber for...

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