For decades, the world has recognized the importance of providing highway and other outdoor workers with uniforms that feature a reflective material. Today, consumers who purchase athletic footwear or snowmobile suits want retail manufacturers to follow the "visible" example set by the road-construction industry. With this in mind, 3M has introduced a line of "sparkle" films that have a glitter-like appearance that it hopes will attract the attention of a younger market. Available as an unsealed film, the Scotchlite product features highly retroreflective microprizmatic lenses formed in a durable transparent resin. Its shiny, glossy appearance maintains a high degree of reflectivity even when wet, says Susan Haider, 3M marketing manager. Currently, the film comes in red, green, yellow, orange, blue, white, fluorescent red-orange, and fluorescent lime-yellow. It can be customized into logos, piping, graphic representations, and other design elements. Phone Lori Wood at (612) 733-9781.
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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