Question of the Week

Question of the Week: Energy
Will Indoor Light Someday Power Our Smart Devices?

Our lead INSIDER story today looks at “perovskite-inspired” materials that can absorb indoor light at higher efficiencies than ever before.

Question of the Week: Software
Would You Use 'Tsugite' Software for Woodworking?

A recent INSIDER story highlighted a new tool for architects, furniture-makers, and woodworking beginners. The interactive software from the University of Tokyo, known as "Tsugite," provides milling machine instructions and on-screen design guidance so that users can piece an object together...

Question of the Week: Electronics & Computers
Will Paper-Based Keypads Catch On?

The “5 Ws” feature of our November issue of Tech Briefs highlights a paper-based keypad being developed at Purdue University.

Question of the Week: Unmanned Systems
Will Mobile Docking Stations Become an Essential Part of Underwater Exploration?

An INSIDER story this month highlighted an innovative way of supporting underwater robots: mobile docking stations.

Question of the Week: Robotics, Automation & Control
Would You Use a ‘SwingBot?’

A “SwingBot” robotic arm from MIT can learn the physical features of a handheld object through tactile exploration. Instead of using cameras or vision methods, the robot’s grippers use GelSight tactile sensors that measure the pose and force distribution of the object. Watch the demo on Tech Briefs TV.

Question of the Week: Electronics & Computers
Will Self-Erasing Chips Catch On?

University of Michigan engineers reported that their new self-erasing chips could help stop counterfeit electronics or provide alerts if sensitive shipments are tampered with. The chips use a new material that temporarily stores energy, changing the color of the light it emits. The self-erase period takes seven...

Question of the Week: Wearables
Will We Someday 'Draw' Sensors On Our Skin?

A Tech Brief featured in our October issue showcases how University of Missouri researchers are creating pencil-drawn sensors. The engineers demonstrated that the simple combination of pencils and paper could be used to create personal, health-monitoring devices.

Question of the Week: Photonics/Optics
Will Flat Fisheye Lenses Play a Greater Role in Medical Imaging and Consumer Electronics?

A recent Tech Briefs TV video demonstrated an achievement from engineers at MIT and the University of Massachusetts at Lowell. The teams designed the first completely flat fisheye lens to produce crisp, 180-degree panoramic images. The lenses, according to...

Question of the Week: Sensors/Data Acquisition
Do Software Advancements Make You Feel Safe in an Autonomous Vehicle?

Our lead story today features self-driving car software that prevents accidents by understanding and anticipating safe traffic behaviors.

Question of the Week: Manufacturing & Prototyping
Can Courtesy Be Programmed Into Self-Driving Cars?

During a recent webcast, a Tech Briefs reader raised an interesting question about self-driving cars:

Question of the Week: Electronics & Computers
Will 'Biomorphic' Batteries Support a Future of Tiny Robots?

A Tech Briefs TV video highlighted a rechargeable zinc battery from the University of Michigan that integrates into the structure of a robot to provide much more energy. The “biomorphic” battery, according to researchers, could provide 72x more energy for robots.

Question of the Week: Robotics, Automation & Control
Are You OK With a Robot Taking Your Vitals?

The "Spot" robot, developed by Boston Dynamics, can measure skin temperature, breathing rate, pulse rate, and blood oxygen saturation in healthy patients, from a distance of 2 meters.

Question of the Week: Robotics, Automation & Control
Will Sound Support Valuable Robotics Tasks?

Our lead story today demonstrated how Carnegie Mellon researchers are building a dataset of sounds to help robots detect specific objects.

Question of the Week: Aerospace
Will Rovers Find Life Below the Surface of Mars?

Our lead story today highlighted a hypothesis from astrophysicist Dimitra Atri. Atri believes that the sub-surface conditions of Mars could be home to organic molecules.

Question of the Week: Robotics, Automation & Control
Will SpaceBok Someday Reach the Moon?

Our lead story today highlights the jumping space robot known as SpaceBok.

“We are at the stage where we want to go into more challenging environments: caves, craters, highlands, areas in which we would find water or other volatiles, or information about the geological history of a certain...

Question of the Week: Imaging
Do the Advantages of Tiny Cameras Outweigh Privacy Risks?

A recent Tech Briefs TV video showcased a wireless camera from the University of Washington – a device that is small enough to fit on an insect’s back, literally.

While the imaging advancement offers potential applications in biology and exploration, the UW team acknowledged...

Question of the Week: Propulsion
Will Electric Aircraft Take-Off in Everyday Aviation?

In May of 2020, the “eCaravan” aircraft, powered by a 750-horsepower electric motor and more than 2000 pounds of lithium-ion batteries, flew to a height of over 2500 feet, at over 100 miles per hour. The all-electric airplane was built by magniX, Seattle-based electric propulsion...

Question of the Week: Robotics, Automation & Control
Will ‘Roboats’ Catch On?

Our July issue of Tech Briefs highlighted a fleet of “roboats” that could someday transport people, collect trash, and self-assemble into floating structures.

The Roboat autonomous robotic boats — rectangular hulls equipped with sensors, thrusters, microcontrollers, GPS modules, cameras, and other...

Question of the Week: Aerospace
Will Morphing Wings Take Off?

Our lead INSIDER story today showcased a morphing MADCAT aircraft wing.

“From a first glance, it literally doesn’t look like anything that anyone’s ever seen before,” said MIT researcher Ben Jennet in our Here's an Idea episode.

How about you? Will Morphing Wings Take Off?

Question of the Week: Imaging
Can Camera Systems Replace the Wall-Mounted Thermostat?

Our lead INSIDER story today showcased an autonomous 'HEAT' camera system that uses facial temperatures to determine a room's optimum temperature.

What do you think? Can Camera Systems Replace the Wall-Mounted Thermostat?

Share your questions and comments.

Question of the Week: Manufacturing & Prototyping
Do You See Yourself Someday Printing in 4D?

You’ve heard about 3D printing, but what about 4D?

A Tech Briefs TV video this week showcased how Rice University researchers’ new way of making shape-shifting materials. The “4D-printed” objects can be manipulated to take on alternate forms when exposed to changes in temperature,...

Question of the Week: Energy
Will We Ever See Humidity Panels Alongside Solar Panels?

Our lead INSIDER story featured an experiment from Tel Aviv University that supports the idea of water vapor as an alternative energy source.

What do you think? Will We Ever See Humidity Panels Alongside Solar Panels?

Share your questions and comments.

Question of the Week: Energy
Will On-Demand Octane Improve Fuel Economy?

A video on Tech Briefs TV this month demonstrated a Pacific Northwest National Laboratory technology that enables on-demand octane by portioning ethanol from gasoline. PNNL researchers believe their invention could increase fuel economy and lower greenhouse gas emissions. Do you agree? Watch the video...

Question of the Week: Manufacturing & Prototyping
Will More Manufacturers Go With Metal 3D Printing?

Our most recent issue of Tech Briefs featured a roundtable discussion about the future of 3D printing. The industry pros, including Stratsys Direct Manufacturing CEO Kent Firestone, spoke about how metal additive manufacturing has yet to catch on, due to cost constraints and build limitations....

Question of the Week: Materials
How Would You Use Gecko-Inspired Adhesion?

A team at Georgia Tech has discovered a Velcro-like way of mass-producing gecko-inspired adhesives. Principal investigator Prof. Michael Varenberg believes his team’s technology can someday be used on pick-and-place industrial machines, wall-scaling cleaners, and even small repair robots that travel...

Question of the Week: Robotics, Automation & Control
Will Soft Robots Reach Cheetah-Like Speeds?

Our lead INSIDER story today featured a proof-of-concept robot that moves at almost 3 body lengths a second.

Question of the Week: Materials
Will ‘Flexoskeletons’ Catch On?

Engineers at the University of California San Diego have found a new way to make soft, flexible, 3D-printed robots. The “flexoskeletons” are both made of a rigid material and a thin sheet of polycarbonate that acts as a flexible base. Watch the demo on Tech Briefs TV.

What do you think? Will...

Question of the Week: Sensors/Data Acquisition
Will Biosensors Be Used Effectively in Crowded Environments?

A team used to making pollutant-detection systems is adapting their technologies to spot coronavirus.

Question of the Week: Automotive
Will 'Metal-Air Scavengers' Power Vehicles and Robots?

Penn Engineering researchers have introduced a "metal-air scavenger" vehicle, which gets energy not from a battery, but from breaking chemical bonds in the aluminum surface it travels over. The technology, which works like both a battery and an energy harvester, has 13 times more energy...

Webcasts

Upcoming Webinars: Manufacturing & Prototyping

Machine Vision for Industrial Inspection

Upcoming Webinars: Electronics & Computers

Protecting Power Electronics from EM and RF Interference

Upcoming Webinars: Electronics & Computers

Vehicle Electrification

Upcoming Webinars: Sensors/Data Acquisition

The Evolution of SOSA

Upcoming Webinars: Software

Next-Gen Vehicle Architectures and the Role of HPCs

Tech Talks: Medical

Testing Home Healthcare Medical Devices

Videos