There’s a cool new backlighting technology on display at the 63rd International Motor Show (IAA) in Frankfurt, Germany. The instrument luster on BMW’s new 5-series features inverse forming technology for three-dimensional black panel film that has no distorted effects. In conventional thermoforming, thinning occurs at certain places on the film causing polarization in these areas in the form of rainbow-like distortions known as Newton’s rings. Achim Hosenfeld, vice president electronics at Johnson Controls, says: “Unlike before, the film is placed down into the forming tool. The result is a special embossed surface structure that is imprinted by the texture of the tool. This eliminates the need for an expensive anti-reflective coating and also makes the display easy to read.”
The black 3D film produces a smooth transition between the flat printed surfaces of the analog instruments and the digital information display.
An MIT research team has invented what they see as a solution to the need for biodegradable 3D-printable materials made from something besides petroleum-based sources: a water-based robotic additive extrusion method that makes objects from biodegradable hydrogel composites.
Alcoa has unveiled a new manufacturing and materials technology for making aluminum sheet, aimed especially at automotive, industrial, and packaging applications. If all its claims are true, this is a major breakthrough, and may convince more automotive engineers to use aluminum.
NASA has just installed a giant robot to help in its research on composite aerospace materials, like those used for the Orion spacecraft. The agency wants to shave the time it takes to get composites through design, test, and manufacturing stages.
The European Space Agency (ESA) is working with architects Foster + Partners to test the possibility of using lunar regolith, or moon rocks, and 3D printing to make structures for use on the moon. A new video shows some cool animations of a hypothetical lunar mission that carries out this vision.
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