Lexis-Nexis, the on-line information service of Reed Elsevier, reports Sony has developed the industry's first small speakers made completely from recycled material. Milk cartons are among the materials used to manufacture the speaker cabinets. In fact, about 75% of the assembly is made from recycled paper. The assembly and components also contain 20% polyester foil and 5% aluminum, all of which did service elsewhere. Moreover, since no adhesives were used in construction, the material is recoverable and used yet again. If incinerated, the material produces no overly toxic fumes. The speakers themselves measure 17 cm across, 42 cm high, and 29 cm deep. They are considerably more pricey than comparable speakers made from non-recycled materials--about 40% more--but Sony is confident European demand for environmentally friendly products will move units off store shelves. Sales will begin in Switzerland, Austria, and Holland and the speakers will be generally available throughout Northern Europe as 1998 progresses. For more information, visit the Sony Web site at www.sony.com.
Two researchers from Cornell University have won a $100,000 grant from NASA to continue work to develop an energy-harvesting robotic eel the space agency aims to use to explore oceans on one of the moons of Jupiter.
Is the factory smarter than it used to be? From recent buzzwords, you’d think we’ve entered a new dimension in industrial plants, where robots run all physical functions wirelessly and humans do little more than program ever more capable robotics. Some of that is actually true, but it’s been true for a while.
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