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 : Energy
Energy Monitor Helps Coast Guard Find Faulty Electrics on Board
Energy Monitor Helps Coast Guard Find Faulty Electrics on Board
The MIT system can monitor the behavior of electronic devices within a building, a factory – and even a 270-foot Coast Guard cutter.
Energy Monitor Helps Coast Guard Find Faulty Electrics on Board
Blog : Robotics, Automation & Control
Answering Your Questions: When to Use Collaborative Robots in Manufacturing
Answering Your Questions: When to Use Collaborative Robots in Manufacturing
A reader asks: What types of considerations need to be made before you go in on collaborative robots?
Answering Your Questions: When to Use Collaborative Robots in Manufacturing
Blog : Manufacturing & Prototyping
3D-Printable Sensor ‘Turns Blue’ to Detect Trace Amounts of Water
3D-Printable Sensor ‘Turns Blue’ to Detect Trace Amounts of Water
The sensor supports new ideas in food-quality control, environmental monitoring, and more.
3D-Printable Sensor ‘Turns Blue’ to Detect Trace Amounts of Water
Blog : Sensors/Data Acquisition
Inside the Invention of a Snore-Stopping Sleep Mask – From Idea to Prototype to Product
Inside the Invention of a Snore-Stopping Sleep Mask – From Idea to Prototype to Product
It took two and a half years, 60 prototypes, and even some of his children’s craft foam, but Curtis Ray turned his idea into invention.
Inside the Invention of a Snore-Stopping Sleep Mask – From Idea to Prototype to Product
Blog : Energy
High-Speed Jet Mixer Efficiently Turns Algae into Fuel
High-Speed Jet Mixer Efficiently Turns Algae into Fuel
A new technology may lead to a more mainstream use of algal biofuels.
High-Speed Jet Mixer Efficiently Turns Algae into Fuel
Blog : Software
Readers Select 2018 Products of the Year
Readers Select 2018 Products of the Year
See which three products won our 2018 Readers' Choice contest.
Readers Select 2018 Products of the Year
Blog : Manufacturing & Prototyping
Calling All Innovators: 'Create the Future' Contest is Open for Entries
Calling All Innovators: 'Create the Future' Contest is Open for Entries
Your design idea could win you $20,000.
Calling All Innovators: 'Create the Future' Contest is Open for Entries
Blog : Motion Control
On a Firefighter’s Jacket, a Self-Powered Tracking Sensor Takes the Heat
On a Firefighter’s Jacket, a Self-Powered Tracking Sensor Takes the Heat
The wearable is fireproof, thanks to a carbon aerogel nanocomposite material.
On a Firefighter’s Jacket, a Self-Powered Tracking Sensor Takes the Heat
Blog : Transportation
Answering Your Questions: What Areas of Study Are Desirable for the Autonomous Industry?
Answering Your Questions: What Areas of Study Are Desirable for the Autonomous Industry?
With self-driving vehicles poised to take the road, how can today’s engineers prepare themselves to support an autonomous future?
Answering Your Questions: What Areas of Study Are Desirable for the Autonomous Industry?
Blog : Materials
Porous Carbon Fibers: How a Car Could Someday Store Its Energy 'Everywhere'
Porous Carbon Fibers: How a Car Could Someday Store Its Energy 'Everywhere'
Tesla uses batteries to store energy underneath the car seats. What if we could store energy everywhere on the vehicle?
Porous Carbon Fibers: How a Car Could Someday Store Its Energy 'Everywhere'
Blog : Nanotechnology
Graphene Breakthrough Puts Nanolithography ‘Back in the Toolbox’
Graphene Breakthrough Puts Nanolithography ‘Back in the Toolbox’
Graphene may play a greater role in tomorrow electronics, thanks to an achievement from the Technical University of Denmark.
Graphene Breakthrough Puts Nanolithography ‘Back in the Toolbox’
Blog : Transportation
Answering Your Questions: Are There Regulations for Machine Learning in Vehicles?
Answering Your Questions: Are There Regulations for Machine Learning in Vehicles?
How do you regulate a system that, in effect, is learning as it goes?
Answering Your Questions: Are There Regulations for Machine Learning in Vehicles?
Blog : Photonics/Optics
A Morphing Soft Actuator Expands the Motion Options
A Morphing Soft Actuator Expands the Motion Options
Even a shape-morphing plane is possible, says Harvard's Ehsan Hajiesmaili.
A Morphing Soft Actuator Expands the Motion Options
Blog : Manufacturing & Prototyping
3D-Printed Rubber Repairs Itself
3D-Printed Rubber Repairs Itself
A new material development from USC brings us a step closer to self-healing sneakers.
3D-Printed Rubber Repairs Itself
Blog : Materials
What is 'Metallic Wood?' Nickel, Plus Nano-Pores
What is 'Metallic Wood?' Nickel, Plus Nano-Pores
By adding nanopores to nickel, James Pikul and his team created a kind of "metallic wood."
What is 'Metallic Wood?' Nickel, Plus Nano-Pores
Blog : Manufacturing & Prototyping
Answering Your Questions: How to Sell Top Management on Failure Analysis, FMEA
Answering Your Questions: How to Sell Top Management on Failure Analysis, FMEA
A Failure Analysis may help find problems during product development, but what role should top management play in an FMEA?
Answering Your Questions: How to Sell Top Management on Failure Analysis, FMEA
Blog : Manufacturing & Prototyping
Embodied Logic: Researchers Build Artificial Venus Flytrap
Embodied Logic: Researchers Build Artificial Venus Flytrap
Professor Jordan Raney spoke with Tech Briefs about what’s possible when you can embody 3D-printed objects with logic.
Embodied Logic: Researchers Build Artificial Venus Flytrap
Blog : Transportation
More from CES 2019: Attack Surfaces Expand as Cars Increasingly Connect
More from CES 2019: Attack Surfaces Expand as Cars Increasingly Connect
David Barzilai from Karamba Security tells Tech Briefs what threats to the connected car concern him the most.
More from CES 2019: Attack Surfaces Expand as Cars Increasingly Connect
Blog : Medical
CES 2019 Digital Health Trends: Three 'Invisible' Technologies that Monitor the Heart
CES 2019 Digital Health Trends: Three 'Invisible' Technologies that Monitor the Heart
From CES 2019: Tech Briefs looks at three standout health-monitoring products.
CES 2019 Digital Health Trends: Three 'Invisible' Technologies that Monitor the Heart
Blog : Software
CES 2019: Artificial Intelligence Forecasts Famine
CES 2019: Artificial Intelligence Forecasts Famine
From CES 2019: For famine relief, the World Bank is turning to artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning.
CES 2019: Artificial Intelligence Forecasts Famine
Blog : Mechanical & Fluid Systems
‘Levitation’ Leads to More Durable MEMS Switches
‘Levitation’ Leads to More Durable MEMS Switches
Professor Sherry Towfighian spoke with Tech Briefs about how a new MEMS design will improve our cell phones and power lines.
‘Levitation’ Leads to More Durable MEMS Switches
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 : Communications
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 : Test & Measurement
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
Question of the Week
Would You Cook with ‘Julia?’