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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Technologies of the Week

The Magtorque sensor provides a simple, low-cost means to monitor torque on rotating elements. It uses a small and magnetoelastic sensor attached to the shaft that is monitored remotely via an inductive pickup. It provides sensitive and repeatable measurements of applied torque without direct physical contact.

...

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Cell Phone Sensors

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is researching the use of cell phones equipped with sensors that could detect biological agents such as anthrax, as well as radioactive isotopes and toxic chemicals. Since fixed sensors can't be placed everywhere, the solution could soon be in everyone's hands.

Gentag, a...

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Current 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 June's first-time advertisers.

Alpha Security Group is a publicly traded company that seeks to acquire a homeland security or defense business. Contact...

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Technology Business Brief

This modulator was developed to provide circuitry and apparatus that create specialized optical signals suitable for use as a digital photonic clock, a pulse amplitude modulator, and a bi-stable optical memory cell.

More information here.

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Green Bricks

Researchers from Freight Pipeline Company (FPC) taking part in a National Science Foundation (NSF)-sponsored project have found that bricks made from fly ash -- fine ash particles captured as waste by coal-fired power plants -- may be even safer than predicted. Instead of leaching minute amounts of mercury as earlier predicted, the...

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Alternative Fuel

Sugar - to - Hydrogen Technology Could Lead to Fuel Independence

Researchers at Virginia Tech, Oak Ridge National Laboratory, and the University of Georgia have proposed using polysaccharides, or sugary carbohydrates, from biomass to directly produce low-cost hydrogen for the new hydrogen economy.

According to...

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Coming Attractions

This monthly review lets you "meet" the new advertisers appearing in NTB and its supplements. Here's a sneak peek at the products, services, and offers available from May's first-time advertisers.

3Dconnexion (San Jose, CA) is a provider of 3D navigation devices for 3D design and visualization applications.

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Tech Needs of the Week

A global specialty chemical company is seeking innovative "green" renewable raw materials, products, and processes for replacement of existing non- environmentally friendly solvents, while not compromising the performance or significantly increasing the cost.

To respond to this Tech Need click here.

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NASA News

NASA's Solar and Heliospheric Observatory (SOHO) now enables scientists to forecast solar radiation storms, giving future astronauts time to seek shelter and ground controllers time to safeguard satellites. The new method offers as much as one-hour advance notice when a storm is approaching.

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NASA Innovative Partnership

As part of NASA's Partnership Seed Fund program, Goddard Space Flight Center is integrating the ILIADS software, a geospatial information system (GIS) it developed for lunar applications, with Questus(TM), a management and planning software tool developed by United Space Alliance (USA) for space shuttle operations....

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Technologies of the Week

This invention provides low-molecular-weight polyesters and polyamides useful

for flushing wet pigments and manufacturing color concentrates. More specifically, the compositions of the invention are effective for flushing wet pigments, producing pigment dispersions, and then producing colored polymers with the...

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First Responder Software

First responders will be able to better prepare individuals with special needs thanks to new open-source software developed at the U.S. Department of Energy's Argonne National Lab. The Special Population Planner software is an extension to commercial ArcView Geographic Information Systems (GIS) software, and provides a...

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Improved Plastics

A team of researchers at the California Institute of Technology (Caltech) has uncovered certain properties of shish-kebabs -- tiny structures that can form when polymers crystallize during flow -- that should lead to improved materials in the most widely used plastics.

Shish-kebabs are made of polymers known as...

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Hazardous-Materials Detection

Researchers at Purdue University are developing a system that uses

mathematical models and sensors to locate passengers releasing hazardous materials or pathogens inside airline cabins. The research has shown that the technique can track a substance to an area the size of a single seat.

The technique,...

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Tech Needs of the Week

A method is needed to visually detect the presence of pathogenic bacteria or microbes on human hands regardless of the presence of beneficent micro- organisms and without killing the latter. The solution must be safe for humans and easily applicable by a common user.

To respond to this Tech Need click here.

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NASA News

A patch of Martian soil analyzed by NASA's rover Spirit is so rich in silica that it may provide some of the strongest evidence yet that ancient Mars was much wetter than it is now. The processes that could have produced such a concentrated deposit of silica require the presence of water.

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"Private" Surveillance

The Laser-Based Item Monitoring System (LBIMS), developed by researchers at the Department of Energy's Oak Ridge National Laboratory, balances the need for high-resolution monitoring and personal safety with confidentiality and personal privacy. Using low-cost reflective tags placed on objects, LBIMS maps the precise...

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Custom Contacts

University of Rochester (New York) researchers have developed custom- designed contacts for people with keratoconic eyes, which are rare but disabling. From the side, the eyes look more pointed or cone-shaped than round. The condition causes people to see halos, and double and triple images. About 1 in 2,000 people suffer from...

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Techs of the Week: Gas Sensing and Monitoring

CLEANSENS is a non-dispersive infrared gas photometer used to measure the presence and concentration of high-GWP (Global Warming Potential) gases, including HFCs, PFCs, and SF6. It uses a patented dual-beam sensor to achieve a very wide dynamic range of detection. The sensor employs an electrically...

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Sensor/Actuator System Wins NASA Invention of the Year

A team from Langley Research Center in Hampton, VA, has been awarded the 2006 NASA Government Invention of the Year for the MacroFiber Composite Actuator and Sensor (MFC), an actuator and sensor system that is more durable than a piezoelectric system, and provides increased unidirectional...

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Current Attractions

Imaging Technology(TM), a supplement to NASA Tech Briefs published three times a year, contains a special section called Applications. Here's an Insider preview of an Application story in the automotive field in the June issue:

Infrared Night Vision Expands What Drivers Can "See"

Seven years ago, General...

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Techology Business Brief

A method and system allow you to combine inductive coupling for remote power and data transmission and capacitive coupling, while the IC card is attached to the terminal in order to transfer a large amount of energy.

For more information, click here.

The Technology Business Briefs portray licensing or...

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Quantum Dot Photodetectors Could Spawn New Imaging Techniques

Researchers at Northwestern University's Center for Quantum Dots (CQD) have developed new quantum dot infrared photodetectors (QDIPs) that could result in new imaging techniques for medical and biological imaging, night vision, and infrared imaging from space. Using nanotechnology to...

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VITA Announces Partnership with ABP International

VITA, the trade association dedicated to fostering ANSI-accredited, open- system architectures in a variety of critical embedded system applications, announced that ABP International (ABPI) has become a VITA Media Partner (VMP) focusing on the technologies, products, and trends directly...

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Revolutionary Stove Could Help Reduce Poverty

Led by the School of Electrical and Electronic Engineering at The University of Nottingham (U.K.), a research team is using thermoacoustic technology for the first time to convert biomass fuels into energy to power a combination stove, refrigerator, and generator. Part of the ~$4M SCORE (Stove for...

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Tech Needs: Delivery System for Controlled Release of Actives

A technology is needed to enable delivery of active compositions/components triggered at a specific time and/or in a specific place. The delivery mechanism could be triggered by a large range of conditions, and can comprise a new chemistry formulation, modification of an existing...

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NASA-Funded Robotic Sub Explores Earth's Deepest Sinkhole

Scientists have begun the final leg of a five-year, NASA-funded mission to reach the bottom of Cenote Zacatón in Mexico, the world's deepest known sinkhole. Using the Deep Phreatic Thermal Explorer (DEPTHX), scientists aim to learn more about Cenote Zacatón's physical dimensions, the...

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New on the Market: Incremental Encoders and Linear Shafts
Alpha Gear Drives (Bartlett, IL) released the low-backlash Alphira(TM) Servo Planetary Gearheads for low-end applications. For cyclic and continuous operation, and with a 20,000-hour service life, the unit comes in four sizes and features five reduction ratios.

Click here to learn...

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"Fly-By-Wire" Flap Actuator System Developed for Light Jet

Eaton Corporation (Irvine, CA) partnered with Embraer (Brazil) in the development of a "fly-by-wire" wing flap actuator system, developed specifically for the new Embraer Phenom 100 Very Light Jet (VLJ). Fuselage construction began in March.

Traditional mechanical flap systems...

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