Question of the Week

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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?”

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.

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?

Question of the Week: Mechanical & Fluid Systems
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.

Question of the Week: Electronics & Computers
Would You Wear a 'Mind-Reading' Headset?

A Tech Briefs TV video this week featured AlterEgo, a “mind-reading” wearable headset from MIT's Media Lab.

The technology allows a user to silently converse with a computing device, AI assistant, or application without any audible voice or discernible movements. The wearable device...

Question of the Week: Materials
Will sponges effectively soak up oil spills?

This week’s lead INSIDER story highlights the Oleo sponge – a reusable material that may someday support oil-spill remediation efforts.

Question of the Week: Manufacturing & Prototyping
Will All-Liquid 3D-Printing lead to ‘Liquid Electronics’?

A recent video on Tech Briefs TV featured an achievement from Berkeley Lab scientists who have developed a way to print all-liquid 3D structures.

Question of the Week: Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Can a Harpoon Help with Space Clean-Up?

Once released from the International Space Station, the "RemoveDEBRIS" spacecraft will facilitate four demonstrations. One of the ideas: A harpoon. During the scheduled RemoveDEBRIS demo, the spear will be aimed at a target plate made of representative satellite materials.

Question of the Week: Propulsion
Will 'jet-powered' feet support search-and-rescue applications?

Tech Briefs TV this week featured research from the Guangdong University of Technology in China: A team of engineers developed a ducted-fan propulsion system that drives the legs of a bipedal robot. Watch the video, and let us know what you think.

Question of the Week: Aerospace
Can a 'HAMMER' Protect Us from Asteroids?

Today's lead story featured a theoretical 'HAMMER' spacecraft designed to serve as a kind of asteroid "battering ram," delivering an impact at 22,000 miles per hour.

Question of the Week: Robotics, Automation & Control
Will social robots play a major role in keeping humans happy?

Our lead INSIDER story today featured a discussion of how robots may someday interact with humans.

Question of the Week: Energy
Will low-cost 'smart glass' catch on?

Our second INSIDER story today featured an achievement from University of Delaware engineers: liquid-activated panels that change from transparent to opaque.

Question of the Week: Transportation
Will laser-based imaging help self-driving cars someday see around corners?

An autonomous-driving technology from Stanford University gives vehicles the capability to "peek" around corners. Tech Briefs spoke with the creators of the laser-based system. To make the technology road-ready, the team still needs to speed-up the data-acquisition...

Question of the Week: Sensors/Data Acquisition
Will edible electronics catch on?

In this week's Tech Briefs TV video, Rice University scientists demonstrated an ability to embed graphene into paper, cloth, and even your breakfast. Why etch patterns into toast? James Tour, a chemist at Rice University, envisions never-before-seen applications, like embedding electronics as a self-cooking heat...

Question of the Week: Photonics/Optics
Can Lasers Offer a Viable Charging Option?

Today’s INSIDER featured a laser system from the University of Washington — a technology that can charge a smartphone from across the room.

Question of the Week: Robotics, Automation & Control
Will cockroach-inspired robots support search-and-rescue?

This week’s INSIDER featured a robot that moves like a cockroach. By studying the fundamental principles of object traversal, the technology’s inventors want to apply the idea to search-and-rescue robots. What do you think? Will cockroach-inspired robots support...

Question of the Week: Manufacturing & Prototyping
Would you use color-changing 3D printables?

In today’s INSIDER, MIT researcher Professor Stefanie Mueller said that her laboratory’s color-changing 3D printables support new customizable objects and accessories, as well as opportunities for product designers showing off their prototypes.

Question of the Week: Manufacturing & Prototyping
Would you wear a moisture-managing ski jacket?

Today's INSIDER featured an electronic textile technology designed to keep skiers warm and dry. What do you think? Would you wear a moisture-managing ski jacket?

Question of the Week: Data Acquisition
Have you implemented Bluetooth- or Internet-enabled data logging?

This week's INSIDER featured a story about one company's transition to Internet-enabled data logging. The deployed system allowed the repair center’s users to remotely analyze a part’s vibration measurements. We want to hear from you. Have you implemented Bluetooth- or...

Question of the Week: Sensors/Data Acquisition
Would you wear a fingernail UV sensor?

Last week’s INSIDER showcased a new UV wearable sensor from L'Oréal and Northwestern University engineers.

Question of the Week: Transportation
Are cities ready for the arrival of electric autonomous vehicles?

In this week’s INSIDER, city official David Schirmer shared how Beverly Hills is preparing for the arrival of electric vehicles. Municipalities, he said, will require new kinds of smart traffic signals, charging stations, and changes to building codes. A Tech Briefs reader asked...

Question of the Week: Manufacturing & Prototyping
Have You Used Metal Additive Manufacturing?

Today's INSIDER featured a story about the growing role of metal additive manufacturing in industries like aerospace, automotive, and healthcare.

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