Mechatronics Zone Blog

DoE 3D-Prints Solar-Power Receivers with 20-Percent Light-Absorbing Improvement

By Elizabeth Montalbano | November 6, 2017

Researchers at the Department of Energy have 3D-printed solar-power receivers that are up to 20 percent better at absorbing sunlight than current technology, as well as less expensive to fabricate.

What Happens If EV Tax Credits Are Scrapped?

By Charles Murray | November 3, 2017

News yesterday of a potential elimination of the federal EV tax credit rankled automakers, many of whom worried that it would be a setback to the industry-wide effort to bring affordable electric cars to the market.  

The potential elimination of the $7,500 credit, revealed yesterday by House Republicans who are crafting a major overhaul of the US tax code, would most likely slow sales of EVs and force automakers to further cut prices on vehicles that are already losing money, experts said.

Graphene, Silver Nanowires Used to Develop Flexible Material for Smartphone Screens

By Elizabeth Montalbano | November 3, 2017

Anyone who has a smartphone knows how easy it is to break your screen with an accidental drop or impact with a hard surface.


Now researchers at the University of Sussex may have found a solution to this problem by leveraging what’s rapidly becoming the most useful material in chemistry: graphene.

Could Smart Connectors Aid the IIoT?

By Charles Murray | November 2, 2017

The move toward “edge computing” in the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) gained momentum recently, as Harting Technology Group ratcheted up its effort to bring intelligence to electrical connectors.

Stretchy Optical Fiber Captures Body Motion to Replace Sensors

By Elizabeth Montalbano | November 2, 2017

Researchers in China have become the first to develop optical fiber that can sense a wide range of motion, paving the way for a strain-sensing fabric for sensing that can replace individual sensors in wearable, robotic, and other types of technology.

Detecting the Cyber Enemy Within

By Rob Spiegel | November 1, 2017

“There are two kinds of companies: those that know they’ve been hacked and those that don’t know they’ve been hacked.”

I heard these chilling words a couple years ago at an IoT conference. The implication is there may be bugs inside a company’s network that are laying low, collecting vital information and waiting for an opportune time to attack.

The Varied Power of the Industrial IoT

By Array | November 1, 2017

With Intel projecting IoT products growing to 2000 billion devices by 2020 – just three years from now – the talk of IoT-everything is running high. We’re hearing about connected watches and a multitude of medical devices. But the quickest way to a clear return-on-investment in IoT, according to analyst groups such as ARC Advisory, is in industrial settings.

Many of the technologies that make up Industrial IoT are actually well-established in their own right. The diagram below shows six layers that make up what most people consider to be the Industrial IoT.


How Blockchain is the Key to a Secure IoT

By Chris Wiltz | October 31, 2017
Blockchain, the technology behind the cryptocurrency Bitcoin, is looking like the best bet to creating a secure IoT. 

Expanding Polymer Creates Printable, ‘Peel and Go’ Self-Folding Structures

By Elizabeth Montalbano | October 31, 2017

Researchers have developed a new method that produces a printable polymer structure that begins to fold itself up as soon as it’s peeled off the printing platform, opening the door for new designs in printed electronics and other applications.

Global Robot Sensor Market to Expand 50% by 2022

By Rob Spiegel | October 30, 2017

Sensors on robots are becoming increasingly important as robotics applications expand across a wide range of industries, from automotive and agriculture through manufacturing, entertainment, logistics, military, and healthcare. With the total number of robots increasing and cost of sensors going down, there’s a robust market for sensors on robots. The overall dollars spent on sensors for robotics is expanding even while the cost-per-sensor is decreasing.