From CES 2017: From the company that revolutionized 3D printing with composite carbon fiber, comes a breakthrough in metal. The Metal X greatly accelerates innovation, delivering metal parts overnight using a new technology at a fraction of the cost. Leave 20th century manufacturing in the dust and create anything from industrial replacement parts to injection molds to working prototypes.
Bridget Butler Millsaps for 3DPrint.com: What’s so incredible about the soft robotic hand created by a team at Cornell? It can grip, sort, and sense what it is touching. But what’s truly astounding is the potential it offers in terms of price and prosthetics for the future. Bringing forth further innovation and progress to the world of robotics, at $50 one can see how it might have realistic, significant impact on numerous levels.
Dispelling the idea of robots as lovable but clunky machines with a steel and rigid grip, Cornell researchers have managed to create what looks like—and offers the feel of—a human hand. This means that the task list for robots may expand exponentially as they are able to handle more delicate items, to include items like food and other fragile products. This also means that they would be able to work with people without injuring them, such as in a medical setting. Cont'd...
A Complete Review of Semiconductor Lasers And a Few Words About What You Can Do With a 5.6 W Semiconductor Laser
Stephen Shankland for CNet: Get ready for the third chapter in the book of Silicon Valley.
During the first chapter, innovation in Silicon Valley was about atoms, carving up silicon wafers into the electronic transistors that started the computing revolution. The second one, more ethereal, brought the triumph of internet services like Facebook and Google.
To be competitive now, a company must blend both approaches. That's the view of HP Chief Engineer Chandrakant Patel, who rose through the HP Labs ranks over 30 years to secure 151 patents and become the company's chief engineer.
"The 21st century will require Silicon Valley to be a cyber-physical valley," Patel said. Cont'd...
James Vincent for The Verge: 3Doodler's 3D-printing pens have always had a lot of potential (who doesn't want a souped-up glue gun that can draw 3D structures in midair?), but in our hands-on with the pens, their rough build quality means they come across more as toys than serious design tools. The company's latest model, the 3Doodler Pro, wants to shake up this perception, offering professional users more control, faster-setting plastics, and a whole new range of materials to work with.
Some of the new filaments on offer are pretty wild, too. 3Doodler says the Pro supports materials including wood, copper, bronze, nylon, and polycarbonate. Obviously, this doesn't mean you'll be sticking a length of dowel in the back of the Pro to draw tiny pieces of wooden furniture — instead, these new materials blend elements of their namesake into the plastic standard filament. Cont'd...
Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory: A team of Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory researchers has demonstrated the 3D printing of shape-shifting structures that can fold or unfold to reshape themselves when exposed to heat or electricity. The micro-architected structures were fabricated from a conductive, environmentally responsive polymer ink developed at the Lab.
In an article published recently by the journal Scientific Reports (link is external), lab scientists and engineers revealed a strategy for creating boxes, spirals and spheres from shape memory polymers (SMPs), bio-based "smart" materials that exhibit shape-changes when resistively heated or when exposed to the appropriate temperature.
Lab researcher Jennifer Rodriguez examines a 3D printed box that was "programmed" to fold and unfold when heated
While the approach of using responsive materials in 3D printing, often known as "4D printing," is not new, LLNL researchers are the first to combine the process of 3D printing and subsequent folding (via origami methods) with conductive smart materials to build complex structures. Cont'd...
Shalini Saxena for ArsTechnica: Customizable, wearable electronics open the door to things like heart-monitoring t-shirts and health-tracking bracelets. But placing the needed wiring in a complex 3D architecture has been hard to do cheaply. Existing approaches are limited by material requirements and, in the case of 3D writing, slow printing speeds. Recently, a research team at Harvard University developed a new method to rapidly 3D print free-standing, highly conductive, ductile metallic wires.
The new method combines 3D printing with focused infrared lasers that quickly anneal the printed nanoparticles into the desired architecture. The result is a wire with an electrical conductivity that approaches that of bulk silver. Cont'd...
By Tiernan Ray for Barron's: Bernstein Research’s Alberto Moel, who follows tech-industrial companies such as Corning(GLW) and AU Optronics (AUO), this afternoon offered up a thinks piece on robotics andfactory automation, arguing that some of the costs of automation beyond the basic cost of the robot are about to get dramatically cheaper, thanks in large part to artificial intelligence akin to what Alphabet (GOOGL) and others are doing.
Moel notes that the basic components of factory robots are only falling by perhaps 6% per year, their cost reduction bounded by things such as casings and servomotors and reduction gears that don’t rapidly fall in cost.
But, writes Moel, the cost to install and adjust these machines on a factory floor is ten times their component cost and that stuff can be reduced more dramatically:
How much this integration costs varies widely. An often-cited rule of thumb is that a $50,000 robot will need $500,000 of integration costs before it is all said and done. Of course, these integration costs can be amortized over many robots, so perhaps a better estimate would be 3-5x the robot cost [...] But I do believe we are at an inflection pointthat will materially increase the capability of automation systems and substantially reduce programming, setup, and fixturing costs which are the largest cost element in most automation efforts. So instead of a measly 6% YoY cost reduction , we get 25-30% YoY declines, and automation Nirvana. Cont'd...
MICHAEL D. WHEELER for Photonics.com: Global manufacturing has undergone enormous changes in the past decade as many developing countries have joined the club of tier-one manufacturing nations, a recession stalled demand, and employment fell precipitously in leading economies. Yet manufacturing remains critical to the future of both developing and advanced worlds, driving innovation, productivity and competitiveness, and offering a pathway out of poverty.
Recent attention has focused on “advanced manufacturing,” which replaces traditional labor-intensive processes with ones based on the newest technologies. It encompasses a family of activities that depends on information, computation, software, sensing and networking, while making use of cutting-edge materials and emerging capabilities such as nanotechnology.
Advanced manufacturing is an especially potent propellant of future economic growth, distinguished by continual process improvement and rapid new product introduction. These critical features will lead to the building of lighter, more fuel-efficient automobiles, the creation of “needleless” tests for medical conditions like diabetes, and the fabrication of semiconductors with 10 times the current processing power. Cont'd...
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