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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Tech Needs of the Week

A company is looking for innovative or improved PVCu and composite products, systems, and manufacturing technologies for home exterior building and construction products and systems. Value, product performance, lifetime, and ease of installation are of interest. Wanted are new building materials, improved manufacturing...

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Steel-Strength Plastic

University of Michigan researchers have created a composite plastic that's as strong as steel but lighter and transparent. The composite plastic is made of layers of clay nanosheets and a water-soluble, glue-like polymer. UM engineering professor Nicholas Kotov and others have solved a problem that has confounded engineers...

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Drug Development Model

MIT researchers have developed a computer model that could improve a class of drugs based on antibodies. The model can predict structural changes in an antibody that will improve its effectiveness. The team already has used the model to create a new version of cetuximab, a drug commonly used to treat colorectal cancer,...

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Say and Surf

While the Internet offers valuable information for people with disabilities, many of those people cannot use a handheld mouse to surf the Web. Researchers at the University of Washington have developed software that provides an alternative using the oldest mode of communication: the human voice. Vocal Joystick software is an...

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Silicon-Based Light Detector

Researchers at chipmaker Intel Corp. have developed a silicon-based light detector that reportedly outperforms those made of more expensive materials. The device can detect light flashes at a rate of 40 gigabits per second. By comparison, detectors used in fiber-optic networks operate at 10 gigabits per...

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Techs of the Week

A linear illumination system based on a highly reflective external enclosure improves light efficiency and brightness when utilizing fluorescent lamps, light emitting diodes (LED), laser diodes, organic LEDs, electroluminescent strips, or high-intensity discharge lamps as the light source. The system provides a critical...

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Artificial Cornea

For an estimated 10 million people worldwide who are blind due to cornea damage or disease, there may be hope in the form of an innovative artificial cornea design that reportedly overcomes the limitations of existing artificial corneas.

Existing cornea implants need to be made larger to prevent excess corneal tissue...

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Current Attractions

Spectrophotometers are more commonly used today by manufacturers to ensure first-time color quality and lot-to-lot consistency of products on the factory floor. These instruments, as a result, must meet some very demanding conditions, including uneven lighting, high humidity levels, varying temperatures, and shock and...

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Technology Business Briefs

Portfolio of Clock Synchronization Patents Available for Sale

Two US-issued patents and a family of international counterparts are for sale. A hybrid-type clock synchronization tool includes analog and digital components, and optimizing clock skew.

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Detecting TB

Technology developed for two European Space Agency (ESA) missions could soon be used to cost- effectively, rapidly, and accurately diagnose tuberculosis (TB). Scientists at The Open University and the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine (LSHTM) are developing a mass spectrometer capable of detecting TB in countries where...

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National Nano Engineering Conference

NASA Tech Briefs' 2007 National Nano Engineering Conference (NNEC), November 14-15 at the Marriott Boston Copley Place, is the premier event focused on current and future developments in engineering innovations at the nanoscale, as well as the commercialization of nanotechnology. The event also includes the...

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Pinpointing Venous Diseases

University of Cincinnati (UC) radiologists have developed a new technique for capturing images of chest veins that helps diagnose venous diseases. Multi-detector computed tomography (CT) scanners are currently used to create 3D images of arteries. Veins are more difficult to accurately image. The new technique allows...

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Tech Needs of the Week

A company seeks to deactivate or otherwise interfere with the action of pectin methylesterase and polygalacturonase enzymes, which interfere with the processing of certain fruits by degrading fruit pectins. Release of the enzymes decreases the thickening power of the fruit solids, as they act on cell wall pectins. By...

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Vascular System Mimic

Labs are currently working on growing synthetically engineered tissues such as muscle or cartilage needed for transplants. Towards that end, Cornell University engineers have developed a microvascular system that can nourish growing tissues. They have engineered tiny channels within a water-based gel that mimic a vascular...

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Pushing Measurement to the Edge

Researchers from the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), IBM, and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, have pushed the measurement of thin films to the edge to produce the first data on how the edges of metallic thin films contribute to their magnetic properties. The results may impact the...

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Techs of the Week

A frictional properties test mechanism for an aircraft brake comprises a means for providing inertial rotary motion, a wheel element attached to the inertial rotary motion means, a means for effecting braking of the wheel element and including braking load receiving means, a means for creating oscillatory motion of the braking...

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NASA News

Objects just a few millimeters across could pierce the thin aluminum skin of spacecraft such as the International Space Station orbiting 220 miles above Earth. And even a tiny hole can mean a leak of pressurized air. Dale Chimenti, an Iowa State University professor of aerospace engineering, is leading a team that has been contracted...

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Last Chance to Design & Win!

Your unique invention could win you $20,000 or other great prizes in the 2007 Create the Future Design Contest, presented by SolidWorks Corp. and NASA Tech Briefs. Innovative design ideas are being accepted in six categories: Machinery, Equipment, and Component Technology; Consumer Products; Medical; Safety and...

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Current Attractions

NASA's Inductive Monitoring System (IMS) is a new computer program that monitors gyroscopes that keep the International Space Station properly oriented in space. Engineers will add the new software to a group of existing tools to identify and track problems related to the gyroscopes. If the software detects warning signs, it...

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Technology Business Briefs

Small Geometry Flash EEPROM & DRAM Memory Patents

These patents cover such topics as Flash EEPROM and DRAM device, high storage capacity, cell size, cell layout, product material, etching masking material, photolithography technique, narrower spacing between adjacent line patterns, high packing density of...

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Unwarped at Warp Speed

Researchers at the University of Warwick in the UK have developed a way to identify partial, distorted, scratched, smudged, or otherwise warped fingerprints in a few seconds. Previous techniques have tried to identify a few key features on a fingerprint and match them against a database of templates. The new method...

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NASA Briefs

Johnson Space Center (Houston, TX) has invented photocatalytic/ magnetic composite particles as an improved method of photocatalysis for removing chemical and biological pollutants from air and water. Read more here.

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Tech Needs of the Week

A company seeks an aerosol that can be easily launched using a pulsed jet fogger, has reflectivity or other optical properties, and is safe for human cutaneous and pulmonary contact. Visually reflective aerosols are sought with emitted or reflected light that can be manipulated using laser or other optical sources. Click...

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Small Strength

Researchers at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute have developed a new technique for identifying and repairing small, potentially dangerous cracks in aircraft wings and other structures made from polymer composites. By infusing a polymer with electrically conductive carbon nanotubes, and then monitoring the structure's electrical...

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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 October issue focus on Sensors.

Wirelessly Interrogated Position or Displacement Sensors

Researchers at NASA's Langley Research...

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Techs of the Week

The Jettison D® is an ionizer that works in conjunction with a diesel engine's emission control system to decrease the amount of pollutants emitted while improving fuel economy, reducing maintenance, and enhancing engine performance. It changes unburned oil droplets and vapors emitted from the engine into light, burnable...

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High-Tech Helmets

The University of Illinois (UI) at Urbana- Champaign and Unity High School in Tolono, IL, have teamed with Simbex, a research and product- development company in New Hampshire, to develop a system inside a football helmet that monitors head injuries. It works in tandem with helmets made by Riddell, and was first tested on the...

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Coming Attractions

This monthly review lets you "meet" the new advertisers appearing in Defense Tech Briefs (DTB). Here's a sneak peek at the products, services, and offers available from October's first-time advertisers.

AVX Corp. (Myrtle Beach, SC) offers products for defense, aerospace, and space applications, including ceramic...

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Technology Business Briefs

Portfolio of Mobile Messaging Patents for Sale

Four U.S. patents, several U.S. applications and a family of international counterparts are available.

Reinforced Micromodule

This technology relates to a reinforced micromodule of the kind for supporting an integrated circuit adapted here for use in...

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