Billy's Blog

Join the conversation! Tech Briefs' Digital Editorial Manager Billy Hurley provides his take on today’s innovative technology developments and the topics most important to you.

Blog : Manufacturing & Prototyping
How To Get Your Company to Take 3D Printing Beyond Prototyping
How To Get Your Company to Take 3D Printing Beyond Prototyping
A reader asks: "Why do organizations struggle to see 3D printing or additive manufacturing for more than prototyping? "
How To Get Your Company to Take 3D Printing Beyond Prototyping
Blog : Energy
‘Smart’ Squid Material Offers Thermal Conductivity, On Demand
‘Smart’ Squid Material Offers Thermal Conductivity, On Demand
Researchers discovered that an on-and-off kind of thermal regulation is possible if you look to the squid.
‘Smart’ Squid Material Offers Thermal Conductivity, On Demand
Blog : Mechanical & Fluid Systems
NASA’s Curiosity Rover Finds a New Way to Drill Down
NASA’s Curiosity Rover Finds a New Way to Drill Down
A NASA researcher spoke with Tech Briefs about the importance of the Curiosity rover's latest find on Mars.
NASA’s Curiosity Rover Finds a New Way to Drill Down
Blog : Manufacturing & Prototyping
Answering Your Questions: "What is Your Advice for a 3D Printing Beginner?"
Answering Your Questions:
A readers asks two 3D-printing veterans: "What is your advice to someone starting out with additive manufacturing?"
Answering Your Questions:
Blog : Manufacturing & Prototyping
Design Tool Brings a ‘Structural’ Approach to Color
Design Tool Brings a ‘Structural’ Approach to Color
A new approach to structural coloration is more freeform than you might expect.
Design Tool Brings a ‘Structural’ Approach to Color
Blog : Imaging
How to Evaluate a Vision System Integrator
How to Evaluate a Vision System Integrator
Many manufacturers are relying on vision system integrators to implement machine vision. Our expert tells a reader how to find the right one for you.
How to Evaluate a Vision System Integrator
Blog : Robotics, Automation & Control
Intelligent Machines: Can You Build a Robot You Can Trust?
Intelligent Machines: Can You Build a Robot You Can Trust?
For social robots to become commonplace in clinical settings, engineers will need to build both technology improvements as well something slightly more complicated: Trust.
Intelligent Machines: Can You Build a Robot You Can Trust?
Blog : Manufacturing & Prototyping
How to Authenticate a 3D-Printed Part: ‘Explode’ and Embed a QR Code
How to Authenticate a 3D-Printed Part: ‘Explode’ and Embed a QR Code
Researcher Nikhil Gupta tells Tech Briefs why "exploding" a QR code inside a 3D-printed part makes counterfeiting practically impossible.
How to Authenticate a 3D-Printed Part: ‘Explode’ and Embed a QR Code
Blog : Sensors/Data Acquisition
Are There Limitations in Autonomous-Vehicle Simulation Methods?
 Are There Limitations in Autonomous-Vehicle Simulation Methods?
A reader asks our expert: As autonomous vehicles enter the market, where are the weak spots in simulation?
 Are There Limitations in Autonomous-Vehicle Simulation Methods?
Blog : Software
How to Simulate an Avalanche – And All Its Subtle Mechanics
How to Simulate an Avalanche – And All Its Subtle Mechanics

Simulation is a helpful go-to tool for assessing risk, but what if the event being simulated is an avalanche – a complex event with countless parameters and physical...

How to Simulate an Avalanche – And All Its Subtle Mechanics
Blog : Mechanical & Fluid Systems
How to Power Robots with Popcorn
How to Power Robots with Popcorn

Cornell researchers have discovered a novel – and delicious – way to power simple robots: Popcorn.

How to Power Robots with Popcorn
Blog : Materials
Functional Fabric Brings Semiconductors Directly to the Fiber
Functional Fabric Brings Semiconductors Directly to the Fiber
Instead of attaching semiconductors to fabric, an MIT team has found a way to add the technology right into the fiber themselves.
Functional Fabric Brings Semiconductors Directly to the Fiber
Blog : Sensors/Data Acquisition
Autonomous Vehicles are Expensive – Why is Hailing One So Cheap?
Autonomous Vehicles are Expensive – Why is Hailing One So Cheap?
A reader asks: “If autonomous vehicles are too expensive for an individual to own, how is the cost per mile so low to hail one?”
Autonomous Vehicles are Expensive – Why is Hailing One So Cheap?
Blog : Materials
A New Way to Replace Plastic Packaging: Crab Shells and Tree Fibers
A New Way to Replace Plastic Packaging: Crab Shells and Tree Fibers
Georgia Tech researchers have created a sustainable plastic packaging material, using two ingredients you might not expect in a snack machine: crab shells and tree fibers.
A New Way to Replace Plastic Packaging: Crab Shells and Tree Fibers
Blog : Data Acquisition
How Soon Will Autonomous Vehicle Fleets Take the Streets?
How Soon Will Autonomous Vehicle Fleets Take the Streets?
Automated vehicles – fleets of them – may soon change the way we travel through cities. "How soon?" asks a reader.
How Soon Will Autonomous Vehicle Fleets Take the Streets?
Blog : Energy
Scientists Find Right Combination for a Better Flow Battery
Scientists Find Right Combination for a Better Flow Battery

By introducing some new ingredients to the flow battery, Stanford University scientists are advancing a new way to store wind and solar electricity.

Scientists Find Right Combination for a Better Flow Battery
Blog : Sensors/Data Acquisition
Engineers Teach Computers to Detect Radiation Damage
Engineers Teach Computers to Detect Radiation Damage
Engineers from the University of Wisconsin–Madison and Oak Ridge National Laboratory are teaching computers to quickly detect microscopic radiation damage.
Engineers Teach Computers to Detect Radiation Damage
Blog : Test & Measurement
Researchers Ready Cell-Sized Robots for Inspection Tasks
Researchers Ready Cell-Sized Robots for Inspection Tasks

Researchers at MIT have created cell-sized robots that may someday be used to inspect and analyze hard-to-reach locations, from oil pipelines to the human body.

Researchers Ready Cell-Sized Robots for Inspection Tasks
Blog : Sensors/Data Acquisition
How Would You Use An Electronic Circuit Sensor Sticker?
How Would You Use An Electronic Circuit Sensor Sticker?

Researchers at Purdue University and the University of Virginia have designed peelable electronic films that can be cut and pasted onto any object, offering new sensing capabilities to...

How Would You Use An Electronic Circuit Sensor Sticker?
Blog : Robotics, Automation & Control
Is It Important to Know How a Robot is 'Feeling?'
Is It Important to Know How a Robot is 'Feeling?'

Talking about your feelings can be difficult. Now imagine if you’re a robot.

Is It Important to Know How a Robot is 'Feeling?'
Blog : Mechanical & Fluid Systems
New Products at Sensors Expo 2018: IMUs, Microcontrollers, Transducers, and More
New Products at Sensors Expo 2018: IMUs, Microcontrollers, Transducers, and More
See five of the new products released this week at Sensors Expo 2018.
New Products at Sensors Expo 2018: IMUs, Microcontrollers, Transducers, and More
Blog : Energy
From Chemical Engineer to Solar-Powered Whiskey and Beer: Meet Jim Batdorf, Chief Distiller
From Chemical Engineer to Solar-Powered Whiskey and Beer: Meet Jim Batdorf, Chief Distiller
Jim Batdorf tells Tech Briefs about his unique career path, from chemical engineer to distiller of solar-powered spirits.
From Chemical Engineer to Solar-Powered Whiskey and Beer: Meet Jim Batdorf, Chief Distiller
Blog : Manufacturing & Prototyping
A ‘Green’ Concrete Calls for Less Cement, More Ash
A ‘Green’ Concrete Calls for Less Cement, More Ash
Researchers from Rice University are finding ways to use greater amounts of fly ash in an effort to build a “greener” kind of concrete.
A ‘Green’ Concrete Calls for Less Cement, More Ash
Blog : Software
Answering Your Questions: What is Virtual Prototyping (for Optics)?
Answering Your Questions: What is Virtual Prototyping (for Optics)?
Just because it's computer simulation doesn't mean it's virtual prototyping. Our expert explains.
Answering Your Questions: What is Virtual Prototyping (for Optics)?
Blog : Sensors/Data Acquisition
To Communicate, Researchers Test the Power of Touch
To Communicate, Researchers Test the Power of Touch

Could touch be the new avenue for communications? Researchers from MIT and Purdue University think so and are working on a “general-purpose” tactile system that delivers information...

To Communicate, Researchers Test the Power of Touch
Blog : Manufacturing & Prototyping
Following Up: What is the Future of Flexible Solar Cells?
Following Up: What is the Future of Flexible Solar Cells?
Researcher Jaana Vapaavuori answered an additional question regarding the future of flexible solar cells.
Following Up: What is the Future of Flexible Solar Cells?
Blog : Imaging
With a Conductive Thin Film, Researchers Test a Silver Screen
With a Conductive Thin Film, Researchers Test a Silver Screen
PhD student Jes Linnet hopes that a silver-based, transparent conductive electrode film offers a longer-lasting alternative for flexible screens and electronics.
With a Conductive Thin Film, Researchers Test a Silver Screen
Blog : Software
Answering Your Questions: Can CFD Software Simulate 'Wear and Tear' on an Engine?
Answering Your Questions: Can CFD Software Simulate 'Wear and Tear' on an Engine?
Simulation tools offer insight into the physical processes of heavy-duty engines. But what about natural wear and tear?
Answering Your Questions: Can CFD Software Simulate 'Wear and Tear' on an Engine?
Blog : Energy
Will Flexible Solar Cells Soon Power Our Devices?
Will Flexible Solar Cells Soon Power Our Devices?
Professor Jaana Vapaavuori spoke with Tech Briefs about the manufacturing methods that could someday decrease the cost and increase the lifetime of flexible solar cells.
Will Flexible Solar Cells Soon Power Our Devices?
Blog : Materials
Studying the Secrets Behind Spider Glue
Studying the Secrets Behind Spider Glue
How does a spider's glue maintain its stickiness, even in high humidity? Researchers in Akron investigated the question.
Studying the Secrets Behind Spider Glue