Apple designers once again have scored with innovative use of materials. iMac first became an industrial design icon in 1998 when it introduced use of striking translucent plastic. The new iMac takes a dramatically different turn, making use of glass and ultra-thin aluminum, creating a new level of classy look. It’s a clean and simple design. The translucent plastic models in funky colors drew attention to the box. The new look makes it clear that this is a functional product where attention is focused on the desktop interface. The new 20-inch iMac is priced at $1,199, $300 less than the previous 20-inch model, and the 24-inch iMac starts at $1,799, $200 less than the previous 24-inch model.
A new compression molding compound material combines the light weight, strength, and rigidity of carbon fibers with the flexibility and lower cost of glass materials in a composite compatible with automotive production.
Plastic bearings are real and millions of them are in use doing heavy-duty jobs we used to think only metals could do. Some of Germany-based igus's bearings are traveling around the world as functional parts in a car to demonstrate what they can do.
Baxter showed off his 2.0-derived moves at ATX West this year. The big red guy still looks pretty much the same, but has some new abilities, mostly due to software. The research robot version is now being used in corporate R&D departments as a design platform.
End-production using 3D printing, including objects made of multiple materials in one pass, is getting closer to reality as we saw on the exhibit floor at the recent Pacific Design & Manufacturing Show.