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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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 December issue focus on Data Acquisition.

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Technology Business Briefs

Panoramic Video Patent Portfolio.

Ten issued US patents for sale. Several U.S. applications: Computer Graphics Processing and Selective Visual Display Systems, Television, and Optics.

Watermarking, Cryptography & Anti-Piracy Patent Portfolio.

Eleven issued US patents for sale. Several U.S....

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Mega MRI

The world's most powerful medical magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) machine at the University of Illinois at Chicago has passed safety tests and will soon offer doctors a real-time view of biological processes in the human brain. The MRI, called the 9.4 Tesla (9.4T), will allow physicians to observe metabolic processes in real...

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Smart Studying

Science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) courses often employ graphs, diagrams, and figures, putting students with visual disabilities at a significant disadvantage. The company Livescribe has created a smartpen and paper technology that aims to bring these subjects to life for blind students.

Andy Van Schaack, a...

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Tech Needs of the Week

Technology is required to enable real-time detection of defects during the welding process. This could be achieved by a system that monitors parameters during the welding process and then analyzes changes, ascertains the presence and location of a weld defect, and if possible, its nature. Potential solutions should be...

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Plug-In Power

The University of California-Davis has licensed a new plug-in hybrid vehicle technology to Efficient Drivetrains Inc. (EDI) of Palo Alto, CA. EDI was founded in 2006 to commercialize the technology brought about by decades of work by Andy Frank, professor of mechanical and aeronautical engineering at UC Davis.

Unlike...

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High-Frequency Receiver

Researchers at Chalmers have succeeded in combining a receiver for high frequencies with an antenna on a small chip. Measuring just a few square millimeters, the receiver integrates an antenna, low-noise amplifier, and frequency converter, monolithically integrated on gallium arsenide.

The receiver is designed to...

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T-Ray Radiation

The hassle of going through airport security and taking off shoes, watches, belts, and other items could be alleviated with a safe form of electro- magnetic radiation called T-rays, or terahertz radiation. Scientists at the U.S. Department of Energy's Argonne National Laboratory, along with collaborators in Turkey and Japan, have...

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Techs of the Week

A cantilevered microbeam temperature sensor is free from the residual or induced stress characteristic of standard bridge-type strain gauges. The microbeam is supported at one end, and the other is free to oscillate relative to the substrate and is isolated from changes in strain caused from flexure of a diaphragm. The beam's...

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Sensitive Prosthetic Arms

Advances in limb prostheses have not obscured the fact that these devices still lack a sense of touch. Now, scientists from Northwestern University in Chicago have shown that transplanting the nerves from an amputated hand to the chest allows patients to feel hand sensation there. The findings could pave the way toward...

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Child's Play

Before you run out and buy the latest electronic games and devices for your kids this holiday season, Temple University and University of Delaware psychologists want you to think simple. They say the overarching principle is that children are creative problem-solvers and discoverers, and they are active. Children build their...

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Current Attractions

The MV1000 and MV2000 paperless portable recorders from Yokogawa Electric Corp. (Newnan, GA) have been named NASA Tech Briefs Product of the Month for December. The recorders have integrated display, recording, and communications functions. They record on-site changes in temperature, voltage, current, flow, and pressure.

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Technology Business Briefs

Low Cost Substrate Coating for High-Quality Ink-Based Printing

A novel approach of a coating method and composition of various substrates such as paper, canvas, polymeric films, etc. by utilizing a unique coating composition containing a dye-fixing compound.

Click here for more info.

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Assessing Crash Warnings

Engineers at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) have developed and tested a laser-based ranging system to assess the performance of automobile collision warning systems. Industry and the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) will use the technology to develop safety systems that alert drivers to...

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CO2 Storage

Storing carbon dioxide below the Earth's surface could be a safe, long-term solution to one of the planet's major contributors to climate change. University of Leeds research shows that porous sandstone, drained of oil, could provide a safe reservoir for carbon dioxide. The study found that sandstone reacts with injected fluids more...

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Tech Needs of the Week

RAID (Redundant Array of Inexpensive Disks) is a storage architecture that offers data security in case of system failure. A company seeks patented technologies fundamental to the architecture of RAID levels 0, 1, 5, and 6, and also in patented technologies that relate to them, such as hot swap, hot spare, RAID level...

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Spacial Students

NASA has selected 18 middle and high school teams across 12 states to fly in the 2007-2008 Student Launch Initiative rocketeering challenge. The annual challenge is designed to inspire young people to pursue careers in science, engineering, math, and technology - fields vital to NASA's ongoing mission in space.

The...

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Carbon-Neutral Hydrogen

Hydrogen as an environmentally friendly fuel source may be closer than we think, according to Penn State researchers. The researchers are employing microbial fuel cells to convert cellulose and other biodegradable organic materials directly into hydrogen, using naturally occurring bacteria in a microbial electrolysis cell...

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Neutron Scatter Camera

To help solve the problem of identifying smuggled special nuclear material (SNM), researchers at Sandia National Laboratories in California say a neutron scatter camera under development may be able to detect radiation from much greater distances and through more shielding than current detection...

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Techs of the Week

A high-temperature ceramics-based composite exhibits superior heat and oxidation resistance and frictional properties. The material comprises a dense carbon-fiber-reinforced SiC-infiltrated composite or a dense SiC-infiltrated composite with granular carbon dispersed. It shows excellent machineability and frictional properties....

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Smog Chemical Detector

Scientists at the U.S. Department of Energy's Brookhaven National Laboratory have developed a tool to quantitatively measure elusive atmospheric chemicals that play a key role in forming photochemical smog. The device measures atmospheric hydroperoxyl radicals - short-lived, highly reactive intermediates involved in...

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Data Conversion Shortcut

Mechdyne Corporation's VRCO Inc. subsidiary has demonstrated real-time interaction with professional 3D design tools in the 100 megapixel C6 Virtual Reality Room at Iowa State University's Virtual Reality Applications Center (VRAC) – the world's highest-resolution virtual environment. VRCO's Conduit software...

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NASA Briefs

The Web- based Real- Time Asset Monitoring (RAM) module enables emergency personnel to monitor and analyze data in the event of a natural disaster. The software can manage many disparate sources of data - including streaming data - within a facility, city, or county.

Learn more here.

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Technology Business Needs

Fuel and Solar Cell Technologies

This search for fuel cell system technologies includes the following: (1) Membrane Electronic Assembly (MEA) design & manufacturing; (2) MEA Membrane manufacturer/ supplier; (3) Supplier or material vendor of SGL graphite for stack manufacturing; (4) Hydrogen storage alloy...

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Bug Exterminator

Finding and fixing design bugs in computer chips after they've been fabricated in silicon can be a tedious and costly process due to signals being buried inside the silicone. Engineering researchers at the University of Michigan have developed a new technology called FogClear to automate post-silicon debugging. FogClear uses...

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Techs of the Week

A light-emitting diode (LED) array, formed on a substrate using an etching method, is shaped to produce uniform light intensity and high production yield. A terrace formed under the light-emitting edge surface together with the grooves protects the LED from handling-induced damage during mounting because it is formed in a...

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Laser Diagnoses Decompression

Though not among the top 10 causes of death, decompression sickness can be fatal. A University of Houston professor is seeking to develop a laser-based system that can diagnose the sickness in seconds. Decompression sickness affects those who experience sudden, drastic changes in the air or water pressure...

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Imaging Neural Cells

Scientists have identified a means to detect neural progenitor cells, which can develop into neurons and other nervous system cells, in the human brain using an imaging method called

magnetic resonance spectroscopy (MRS). The discovery could pave the way for improved diagnosis and treatment for depression,...

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Secure Payments

Credit card transactions may be a little more secure due to the Common Vulnerability Scoring System (CVSS) Version 2, which was recently adopted by the payment card industry. The system is co-authored by researchers at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) and Carnegie Mellon University, in collaboration with...

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