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 : Automotive
CES Preview: New Cybersecurity Challenges for Increasingly Connected Cars
CES Preview: New Cybersecurity Challenges for Increasingly Connected Cars
Irdeto's Stacy Janes tells Tech Briefs if he feels safe driving today's connected cars.
CES Preview: New Cybersecurity Challenges for Increasingly Connected Cars
Blog : Electronics & Computers
Answering Your Questions: How Consumer-Grade and Industrial-Grade Lithium-Ion Batteries Handle the Cold
Answering Your Questions: How Consumer-Grade and Industrial-Grade Lithium-Ion Batteries Handle the Cold
A reader asks: How does an “industrial-grade” lithium-ion battery stack up to the one in your phone?
Answering Your Questions: How Consumer-Grade and Industrial-Grade Lithium-Ion Batteries Handle the Cold
Blog : Automotive
Catching Up with Automotive Cybersecurity Researcher (and Jeep Hacker) Chris Valasek
Catching Up with Automotive Cybersecurity Researcher (and Jeep Hacker) Chris Valasek
In 2015, Chris Valasek and Charlie Miller demonstrated a hack of the Jeep Cherokee. Valasek tells Tech Briefs what has changed since then.
Catching Up with Automotive Cybersecurity Researcher (and Jeep Hacker) Chris Valasek
Blog : Energy
Answering Your Questions: Will Solar Panel Efficiency Improve?
Answering Your Questions: Will Solar Panel Efficiency Improve?
Don’t hold your breath, says Jeff Crystal from Voltaic Systems.
Answering Your Questions: Will Solar Panel Efficiency Improve?
Blog : Manufacturing & Prototyping
Answering Your Questions: How Long Should a Failure Mode and Effects Analysis (FMEA) Take?
Answering Your Questions: How Long Should a Failure Mode and Effects Analysis (FMEA) Take?
An FMEA provides a step-by-step way of identifying product failures. Carl Carlson explains just how long the process takes.
Answering Your Questions: How Long Should a Failure Mode and Effects Analysis (FMEA) Take?
Blog : Aerospace
After a Successful Landing, What’s Next for the InSight Mission?
After a Successful Landing, What’s Next for the InSight Mission?
InSight project manager Tom Hoffman spoke with Tech Briefs about the importance of digging deep in our knowledge of Mars.
After a Successful Landing, What’s Next for the InSight Mission?
Blog : Energy
New Metal-Air Battery Design Offers a Potential Boost to Electric Vehicles
New Metal-Air Battery Design Offers a Potential Boost to Electric Vehicles
Professor Hart spoke with Tech Briefs about why his team's new battery may someday find its way beyond niche applications and into electric vehicles.
New Metal-Air Battery Design Offers a Potential Boost to Electric Vehicles
Blog : Sensors/Data Acquisition
Answering Your Questions: How Good are Automotive Sensor Simulation Models?
Answering Your Questions: How Good are Automotive Sensor Simulation Models?
A reader asks our industry experts: "How good are the simulation models for automotive ADAS sensors?"
Answering Your Questions: How Good are Automotive Sensor Simulation Models?
Blog : Green Design & Manufacturing
Researchers Convert Plastic Bottles into Aerogels that Insulate and Absorb
Researchers Convert Plastic Bottles into Aerogels that Insulate and Absorb
Researchers from the National University of Singapore (NUS) are trying to solve the problem of plastic waste by converting it into something useful: Aerogels.
Researchers Convert Plastic Bottles into Aerogels that Insulate and Absorb
Blog : Imaging
Modular Robots Change Shape – Depending on the Task
Modular Robots Change Shape – Depending on the Task
Professor Hadas Kress-Gazit tells Tech Briefs about the "great promise" of autonomous modular robots.
Modular Robots Change Shape – Depending on the Task
Blog : Aerospace
Answering Your Questions: For an Electric-Aircraft Future, Do We Need to Rethink Design?
Answering Your Questions: For an Electric-Aircraft Future, Do We Need to Rethink Design?
For an electric-aircraft future, it's not enough to just change components. You have to rethink design, our expert tells one reader.
Answering Your Questions: For an Electric-Aircraft Future, Do We Need to Rethink Design?
Blog : Green Design & Manufacturing
From Trash to Treasure: How to Convert ‘Fatberg’ Waste into Biofuel
From Trash to Treasure: How to Convert ‘Fatberg’ Waste into Biofuel
Have you heard of "fatbergs?" Researcher Asha Srinivasan explains how her team is turning masses of fat, oil, and grease into biofuel.
From Trash to Treasure: How to Convert ‘Fatberg’ Waste into Biofuel
Blog : Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Now Deploying from the ISS: A Harpoon, A Net, and Other Ideas for Cleaning Up Space Debris
Now Deploying from the ISS: A Harpoon, A Net, and Other Ideas for Cleaning Up Space Debris
Richard Duke spoke with Tech Briefs about the nature of the space-junk problem — and how his team plans to fix it.
Now Deploying from the ISS: A Harpoon, A Net, and Other Ideas for Cleaning Up Space Debris
Blog : Green Design & Manufacturing
Want to Reduce Paper Consumption? ‘Disappearing Ink’ is No Joke
Want to Reduce Paper Consumption? ‘Disappearing Ink’ is No Joke
Carl Yee invented a new kind of "Invisible Ink," so he could print paper without the guilt.
Want to Reduce Paper Consumption? ‘Disappearing Ink’ is No Joke
Blog : Imaging
How Will VR and AR Impact Automotive Manufacturers?
How Will VR and AR Impact Automotive Manufacturers?
How will the use of AR and virtual prototypes impact the role of automotive parts manufacturers? A reader asks our expert.
How Will VR and AR Impact Automotive Manufacturers?
Blog : Materials
An Alternative to Air Conditioning: A Paint-On Polymer That Cools Down Your Building
An Alternative to Air Conditioning: A Paint-On Polymer That Cools Down Your Building
A new solution, applied like paint, cools down rooftops, buildings, water tanks, vehicles, and even spacecraft.
An Alternative to Air Conditioning: A Paint-On Polymer That Cools Down Your Building
Blog : Imaging
How Robert Holmes Finds Near-Earth Asteroids from His Home-Built Observatories
How Robert Holmes Finds Near-Earth Asteroids from His Home-Built Observatories
Robert Holmes spoke with Tech Briefs about his path from "amateur" astronomer to NASA pro.
How Robert Holmes Finds Near-Earth Asteroids from His Home-Built Observatories
News : Automotive
'Invisible Glass’ Takes First Prize in ‘Create the Future’ Contest
'Invisible Glass’ Takes First Prize in ‘Create the Future’ Contest
The grand-prize-winning nanotechnology coating imparts anti-reflection and water-repellency capabilities to surfaces made of silicon, glass ,and some plastics, including Teflon.
'Invisible Glass’ Takes First Prize in ‘Create the Future’ Contest
Blog : Aerospace
A Closer Look at Bats, Hummingbirds Offers New Ideas for Flying Robots
A Closer Look at Bats, Hummingbirds Offers New Ideas for Flying Robots
Rivers Ingersoll spoke with Tech Briefs about why it is so important to have an up-close understanding of the hummingbird and nectar bat.
A Closer Look at Bats, Hummingbirds Offers New Ideas for Flying Robots
News : Sensors/Data Acquisition
Answering Your Questions: How Can Medical IoT Devices Move Beyond Simple Information Gathering?
Answering Your Questions: How Can Medical IoT Devices Move Beyond Simple Information Gathering?
Is there more to the "Internet of Medical Things" than just data gathering? A reader asks our experts.
Answering Your Questions: How Can Medical IoT Devices Move Beyond Simple Information Gathering?
Blog : Test & Measurement
Meet Lindley Johnson, Planetary Defense Officer (and Asteroid Hunter)
Meet Lindley Johnson, Planetary Defense Officer (and Asteroid Hunter)
NASA's Lindley Johnson explains how the exciting business of asteroid detection does have its moments that are “like any other office job.”
Meet Lindley Johnson, Planetary Defense Officer (and Asteroid Hunter)
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 : Robotics, Automation & Control
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 : Manufacturing & Prototyping
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
News : 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?