News reports drone on constantly these days with more and more negative information. I don’t get the same kind of vibe when I talk to design engineers every day for my writing about materials and fastening technology for Design News. Most incredible to me are reports on advances in medical technology by American inventors and engineers. The most recent was an interview I had with Dave Danitz, the vice president of research and development at Novare Surgical Systems In California, which recently developed and brought to market an instrument called RealHand that allows laparoscopic surgery through a single port—and even through natural orifice such as a mouth. The result is a dramatic reduction in the risk of infection.
Invented by Danitz, the RealHand is a fully mechanical instrument up to 45 centimeters in length in which jaws at the distal end move inside the human body in reaction to movements of a surgeon’s hands on a handle. Small articulating links connect the jaws to the shaft and the handle to the shaft, which can vary in length from 24 to 45 centimeters. There are no electronics in the device.
Although introduced just six months ago, a number approaching 100 surgeons use the tool.
Dow Chemical and several other companies have launched a program in Omaha, Neb. to divert about 36 tons of plastics from landfills in its first phase, and convert it into energy used for cement production.
A make-your-own Star Wars Sith Lightsaber hilt is heftier and better-looking than most others out there, according to its maker, Sean Charlesworth. You can 3D print it from free source files, and there's even a hardware kit available -- not free -- so you can build one just in time for Halloween.
Some next-generation bio-based materials are superior in performance to their petro-based counterparts, but also face some commercial challenges. This is especially true of certain biopolymers, adhesives, coatings, and advanced materials.
Cars and other vehicles, as well as electronics and medical devices, continue to lead the use cases for the new plastics products we've been seeing, as engineers design products for tougher environments.
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