Question of the Week

Question of the Week : Robotics, Automation & Control
Can AI Prevent Famine?

Today's INSIDER story demonstrated how artificial intelligence models are being used to mark areas most in need of famine relief and funding. Ed Hsu from the World Bank spoke at CES last week about his collaboration with AI heavyweights Google, Microsoft, and Amazon.

"We have to make sure that people living in...

Question of the Week : Automotive
Do You Expect Successful Cyberattacks on Today’s Connected Cars?

In today’s lead story, Stacy Janes showed optimism regarding the security of connected cars.

“The thing about connected vehicles right now is I don't think we have the scale to make a malicious attack financially viable,” said Janes. “By the time that scale is...

Question of the Week : Aerospace
Will Urban Air Mobility ‘Take Off?'

A Tech Briefs TV video demonstrates NASA’s rotary-wing “air taxi” concept. The vehicles, in theory, have the capacity for vertical take-off and landing, eliminating the need for long runways.

NASA hopes the air taxi will support Urban Air Mobility, a system that combines onboard/ground-piloted...

Question of the Week : Aerospace
How Strong is the ‘Ionic Wind?’

MIT has built the first-ever plane with no moving parts. Instead of turbine blades, propellers, and fans, the aircraft relies on an “ionic wind” — a silent but strong flow of ions, produced onboard, which generates enough thrust to propel the plane over a sustained, steady flight.

“This has...

Question of the Week : Test & Measurement
Can ‘The Ocean Cleanup’ Clean Up the Ocean?

The Ocean Cleanup, a nonprofit effort begun by Dutch inventor Boyan Slat, wants to clean up 50% of “The Great Pacific Garbage Patch” in five years, with the aim of a 90% reduction by 2040.

Using a 600-meter long floater, or collection platform, called System 001, the Cleanup technology...

Question of the Week : Energy
Will Stretchable, Printable Solar Cells Catch On?

A Rice University lab is making solar cells that are stretchable, printable, and paintable. Watch the demo on Tech Briefs TV.

This week's Question: Will Stretchable, Printable Solar Cells Catch On?

Share your thoughts in the comments section below.

Question of the Week : Imaging
Will AR and VR Help Automotive Manufacturers?

A reader recently asked our automotive expert: “How will the use of augmented reality and virtual parts impact the role of automotive parts manufacturers, such as PCB manufacturers, in prototyping and production?”

“AR and VR really will impact all manufacturers up and...

Question of the Week : Green Design & Manufacturing
Would You Use Carl Yee’s ‘Disappearing Ink?’

Our second INSIDER story today features a purposefully “lousy ink” – one that slowly fades after being printed. The gradual disappearance of the ink allows the paper to be used again and again.

Read the article, and let us know what you think.

This week's Question: Would...

Question of the Week : Materials
Will Paint-On coatings Become a Popular Way to Cool Down Buildings?

Our lead INSIDER story today featured a paint-on polymer that cools down buildings, through a process known as passive daytime radiative cooling.

Read the article, and let us know what you think.

This week’s Question: Will Paint-On coatings Become a Popular Way...

Question of the Week : Manufacturing & Prototyping
What NASA Spin-Off Stands Out to You?

NASA technologies have led to many of the commercial products and innovative solutions we use every day, from memory foam and freeze-dried foods to exercise equipment and water purifiers. The October issue of Tech Briefs showcased a number of these NASA spinoffs.

Read the Tech Briefs feature article,...

Question of the Week : Medical
Can Digital-Health Apps Reliably Change Patient Behavior?

Last week on TechBriefs.com, a reader had the following question for our medical-device expert:

"How can devices with IoT connectivity move beyond simple information sharing and gathering?"

Anytime you take medical device data and connect it to wearables or other devices,...

Question of the Week : Test & Measurement
Are You Currently Using Mechanical Test Equipment to Measure Strain?

One way to measure strain and deformation in a material is through digital image correlation and non-contact sensors. Next week, in a live webinar presentation, speakers from Trilion Quality Systems and MTS Systems Corp. will review how customers have used their imaging and...

Question of the Week : Materials
Are the Possibilities for Squid Proteins 'Potentially Endless?'

Our second INSIDER story today featured a new switching effect for thermal conductivity.

Professor Patrick Hopkins and his colleagues discovered that a responsive protein from squid ring teeth contained properties supporting an on-and-off kind of thermal regulation. When the...

Question of the Week : Materials
Have You Used Light-Curable Materials?

Manufacturers have turned to light-cure formulations to protect and improve a variety of components in the aerospace and defense industry, including image sensors, proximity systems, and printed circuit boards.

In a live webinar at 2 pm ET tomorrow, experts will discuss the advantages and benefits...

Question of the Week : Electronics & Computers
Are You Dealing with Power Failures?

Energy demands are increasing as consumer, industrial, and data communications markets require greater power distribution.

According to MarketWatch, energy consumption is growing 9% per year globally in the datacom industry.

In a live webinar at 2 pm ET today, experts will review ways to...

Question of the Week : Robotics, Automation & Control
Will Social Robots Enter the Consumer Market?

In today's lead story, neuroscientist Dr. Philipp Kellmeyer told Tech Briefs:

"For the next decade, my guess is that SARs will be mainly used in specialized medical facilities, such as stroke rehabilitation centers. But if the technical progress remains steady, they might also enter the...

Question of the Week : Robotics, Automation & Control
Can Popcorn Power Robots?

In last week's INSIDER, we featured a Q&A with Cornell University researcher Steven Ceron, who is experimenting with a new way — and delicious — way of powering robots: Popcorn.

Because kernels expand rapidly and exert force when heated, the unpopped granules may provide just the right kind of boost for...

Question of the Week : Semiconductors & ICs
A New ‘Moore's Law' for Smart Fabrics?

Instead of attaching semiconductors to fabric, an MIT team has found a way to add the technology right into the clothing fiber itself.

Professor and lead researcher Yoel Fink says the achievement in "smart," or functional, fabric will lead to a new kind of "Moore's Law," where performance and...

Question of the Week : Transportation
Are Robo-Fleets 'Very Economically Viable?'

Robo-taxi fleets are on the way, according to Chris Heiser, co-founder and CEO of Renovo, a California-based manufacturer of automotive operating systems.

Here's what Heiser said in our featured INSIDER story today:

"That is really the power of these fleets — they take a system that...

Question of the Week : Transportation
Will Cities be Ready for Autonomous Vehicle Fleets?

Autonomous vehicle fleets are on the way, according to Chris Heiser, co-founder and CEO of Renovo, a California-based manufacturer of automotive operating systems.

“It will happen in pockets first,” Heiser said in our INSIDER story today. “There will be leading cities in the U.S....

Question of the Week : Test & Measurement
A Role for Cell-Sized Robots?

Today's lead INSIDER story highlighted cell-sized robots developed by a team at MIT. The researchers say the nanobots could someday support oil-pipeline inspection or medical diagnostics. What do you think? Where Do You See Cell-Sized Robots Being Used?

Question of the Week : Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Which Superpower Do You Want Most?

Our latest episode of “Here’s an Idea” showcased a variety of technologies designed to give the human user a kind of “superpower”: a Spider-Man-like adhesive; an Iron Man suit; a Jet Pack; and (thermal) invisibility.

What ‘superpowers’ do you want most? (And do you think technology can...

Question of the Week : Sensors/Data Acquisition
Could Touch be the New Avenue for Communications?

Our lead story in today’s INSIDER highlights a 'general-purpose' tactile system designed to deliver information using text or speech symbols.

What do you think? Could Touch be the New Avenue for Communications?

Question of the Week : Medical
Do You See Applications for Seeing Through Walls?

A recent Tech Briefs TV video demonstrated an artificial-intelligence system developed by MIT researchers. The "RF-Pose" teaches wireless devices to sense people's movement, even from the other side of a wall. See the system in action.

The team says that RF-Pose could be used to monitor...

Question of the Week : Energy
Will Flexible Solar Cells Catch On?

Though a flexible solar cell offers exciting, new ways of powering vehicles, clothing, and other smart technologies, manufacturing the photovoltaic component is a challenge.

Given the high costs and short lifetimes of today's flexible cells, researchers at Aalto University in Finland and Université...

Question of the Week : Software
What’s the Hold-Up with Digital Product Development?

Digital technologies are bringing big data, automation, and mobile capabilities to processes like IT, HR, sales, and marketing, but what is the hold-up with product development? Has your product development process been modernized and “digitized?”

During a live webinar this...

Question of the Week : Transportation
Do You Trust Self-Driving Cars on Country Roads?

Most autonomous vehicles have been tested out in city environments, where tech companies like Google can build intricate 3D maps that lay out the exact position of every lane, curb, off-ramp, and street sign.

But what about areas with less definable features, like country roads or a...

Question of the Week : Manufacturing & Prototyping
How Do You Feel About Back-Flipping Robots?

Have you seen the ‘Atlas’ humanoid robot running outside yet? Watch a demo of the Boston Dynamics technology on Tech Briefs TV.

Beyond a morning jog, Atlas has been shown to accomplish tasks like stacking boxes and doing a backflip. What do you think? Do you like the idea of working...

Question of the Week : Manufacturing & Prototyping
What are your Biggest Manufacturing Challenges?

What parts of the design process are the most difficult? What information are you looking for now to help you with your job? Is there a specific technology area that can be challenging to find out the latest solutions for?

Let us know in the comments: What are your Biggest Manufacturing...

Question of the Week : Green Design & Manufacturing
Can a 'Cool' Strategy Improve Water-Purification Efforts?

Researchers from the University of Buffalo found a counter-intuitive way of improving the water-purification process: keeping things cool.

By using carbon-dipped paper to weaken light intensity, their new system increases efficiency and provides a more affordable water-treatment...