Japanese OEMs, particularly in the electronics and IT fields, are leading the way on engineering applications for plant-based plastics. The latest: Fujitsu is testing a new polymer that uses caster oil extracted from the seeds of the caster bean. The new polymer is being tested for small components in notebook PCs and for mobile phones. A target application is connector covers. Five years ago, Fujitsu was one of the pioneers, using polymers based on corn-based polylactic acid in the chassis of a notebook PC. The goal of the new polymer, developed with Arkema, is better flexibility.
Plastic bags can become useful as either raw materials for plastics or feedstock for fuel. It's when they're not recycled that they become a major problem. That's what California's bag ban will prevent.
NASA's JPL and Caltech have achieved the mind-boggling feat of 3D printing multiple metals in a single end-part, grading from one alloy to another. They've also developed a method for combining metals with carbon fiber composites in end-production parts.
More and more robots are becoming more autonomous all the time. Now Lockheed Martin has completed a demo mission with two completely autonomous robotic vehicles performing resupply, reconnaissance, surveillance, and target acquisition.
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