Question of the Week

Question of the Week: Transportation
Will Interstate Power Coils Charge Electric Vehicles as They Drive?

Our “Q&A” article in the July issue of Tech Briefs highlighted the work of Dr. Burak Ozpineci from Oak Ridge National Laboratory. Ozpineci and his team are building a wireless power-transmission system that charges an electric vehicle as it drives along the road.

Question of the Week: Energy
Will ‘Mass-Less’ Energy Storage Finally Catch On?

A July Tech Brief highlights a “structural battery” from the Chalmers University of Technology that uses carbon fiber as a negative electrode and a lithium iron phosphate-coated aluminum foil as the positive electrode. The battery works as both a power source and as part of the main...

Question of the Week: Materials
Should Cities be More Strategic with Reflective Surfaces?

Cities around the world are adjusting – and in some cases overhauling – their infrastructure in an effort to cool temperatures in their areas. Los Angeles and New York City, for example, have adopted “grey infrastructure” efforts, like applying coatings to roofs and roads so that...

Question of the Week: Test & Measurement
Will Mobile Radar Replace the Stethoscope?

Our June issue of Tech Briefs highlighted a radar system that enables touch-free monitoring of heart sounds. A significant advantage offered by radar, according to the system’s inventors, is the fact that the values are recorded digitally and are thus not subjective, allowing human error to be...

Question of the Week: Energy
Will Better Sensors Lead to Greater Adoption of Hydrogen Power?

One of the final hurdles to hydrogen power is securing a safe method for spotting hydrogen leaks. A sensor, featured in the June issue of Sensor Technology, has a greater sensitivity than other detectors.

Question of the Week: Electronics & Computers
Will Recyclable Electronics Catch On?

Our June issue of Tech Briefs features a completely recyclable transistor from Duke University. The fully functional semiconductor is made out of three carbon-based inks that can be easily printed onto paper or other flexible, environmentally friendly surfaces.

Question of the Week: RF & Microwave Electronics
Will Rectennas Reduce Our Need for Batteries?

Rectennas act a bit like your car antenna. Instead of picking up radio waves, however, the tiny optical devices absorb light and convert it into power. The rectenna featured in today’s top story, generated half a nanowatt – a small amount of power that its inventors hope to increase.

Question of the Week: Aerospace
Will 'Zero-Impact' Planes Take Off?

Our May issue of Tech Briefs highlighted a hybrid-electric aircraft design from MIT that, according to its creators, could reduce global nitrogen oxide (NOx) emissions by 95 percent.

Question of the Week: Materials
Will Metal-Free Batteries Catch On?

Our lead story today highlighted a metal-free battery that degrades on demand. While a cobalt-less battery has its sustainability benefits, more work will need to be done for the Texas A&M-developed technology to compete with the lithium-ion standard.

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

Our lead story today highlighted the possible applications for a "living material" made from microalgae and cellulose.

Question of the Week
Will We See Human Exploration on Mars by 2040?

An INSIDER story last week highlighted another recent achievement on Mars: A rover instrument known as “MOXIE” created oxygen from the Martian atmosphere. The NASA-led demonstration is a first step toward human presence on the Red Planet, according to MOXIE principal lead Michael Hecht.

Question of the Week: Manufacturing & Prototyping
Can Moving Pins Cut 3D-Printing Costs?

An INSIDER story last week highlighted a 3D printer that uses a platform of movable pins to provide support for the created part. The invention eliminates the need for printed supports.

Question of the Week: Photonics/Optics
Do You See Potential for Objects That Change Shape via Light?

Taking inspiration from the butterfly, Tufts University researchers created light-activated composite devices that execute precise, visible movements and form complex three-dimensional shapes, without the need for wires or other actuating materials or energy sources.

Question of the Week: Robotics, Automation & Control
Will Robotic Exoskeletons Help the Elderly?

A team from the University of Waterloo is creating robotic exoskeleton legs that use A.I. to make their own steps and control decisions. "Learning" from a collection of sample-strolls around an environment, the system adjusts its movements based on the surroundings it senses.

Question of the Week: Robotics, Automation & Control
Will Underwater Exploration Go Battery-Free?

A Tech Brief featured in our April issue highlighted a battery-free pinpointing system from MIT called Underwater Backscatter Localization. Rather than emitting its own acoustic signals, the “UBL” reflects modulated signals from its environment. The reflections provide researchers with positioning...

Question of the Week: Sensors/Data Acquisition

This month’s Here’s an Idea episode highlighted a number of on-body sensors. Penn State professor Larry Cheng, for example, found a way to 3D-print a sensor directly on the skin (shown in the above...

Question of the Week: Propulsion
Will Turboelectric Aircraft Take Off?

A recent video on Tech Briefs TV highlighted NASA’s new idea for aircraft: the STARC-ABL. The concept under development aims to bridge the gap between current jet fuel-powered aircraft and future all-electric vehicles.

Question of the Week: Manufacturing & Prototyping
Will Technology Increasingly Integrate with Nature?

“Nature is much more advanced than we are, so we should use it,” said Dr. Ben Maoz, one of a team of Tel Aviv University researchers who created a robot that uses a dead locust’s ear to “hear” electrical signals and respond to them with movement. (Read our lead story to learn...

Question of the Week: Electronics & Computers
Do You See Applications for Electronics-Free Robots?

In our lead INSIDER story today, UCSD researcher Dylan Drotman talked to Tech Briefs about his team’s air-powered robot.

Question of the Week: Photonics/Optics
Would You Use the 'LaserFactory?'

A technology from MIT known as the "LaserFactory" integrates 3D printers and laser cutters to fabricate wearables, robots, and electronics components like sensors and actuators.

Question of the Week: Robotics, Automation & Control
Do You Like the Idea of Robots in the Hospital?

Our brand-new episode of Here’s an Idea highlighted a growing use of robots and robotic arms in the hospital. While technologies like “Tommy” and “Tiago” are helpful in completing tedious, repetitive tasks, the robots do lack a certain human touch, says our editor Sherrie Trigg.

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

A group of researchers are using a surprising ingredient in their robot design: Bubbles. (Watch the demo on Tech Briefs TV.)

Question of the Week: Robotics, Automation & Control
Can 'Bluebots' Preserve Coral Reefs?

A team of Harvard researchers have developed fish-inspired robots that can synchronize their movements like a real school of fish, without any external control. (Watch the robots in action on Tech Briefs TV.)

Question of the Week: Test & Measurement
Will We Make Vibration-Free Helicopters?

A Tech Briefs TV video features a test technology from the Army that’s informally known as a “Shaker.” The Multi-Degree of Freedom (MDOF) system will study the causes of vibrations in a helicopter’s many components and subcomponents. The Army researchers hope to use the conclusions of their study...

Question of the Week: Automotive
Has the Vehicle Become Your “Second Space?”

"Honestly, the car has become an office for some people just so they can get away from the noise of their house," said Carla Bailo at CES 2021 last week. "The sound [in the car] is great, and you can connect from anywhere."

Question of the Week: Robotics, Automation & Control
Will Robotics and Automation Lead to a Greater Appreciation of Nature?

Our lead INSIDER story today focused on the environmental impacts of robotics and automation.

Question of the Week: Robotics, Automation & Control
Would You Use a 'Twining' Robotic Gripper?

Our lead INSIDER story today focused on a twining robotic gripper that its inventor says is especially effective at grabbing thin objects like pencils, paintbrushes, and even a straightened paperclip.

Question of the Week: Sensors/Data Acquisition
Could ‘Smellicopters’ Someday Support Search-and-Rescue?

Our second INSIDER story today highlights an innovative combination of autonomous drones and live moth antennae: The “Smellicopter.”

Question of the Week: Materials
Will RepelWrap Catch On?

A material called "RepelWrap" won this year's "Create the Future" Design Contest. The thin film, invented by researchers at McMaster University, instantly fends off viruses and bacteria when the material is placed on a surface, including a door handle or railing.

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