Xerox says it has developed a conductive ink that creates a low-cost method to add computing power to plastic and other surfaces. One potential application is a “smart” pill box that tracks how much medication a patient has taken.
One of the technical breakthroughs was development of a conductive ink with a melting point below that of plastic. The silver ink has a melting point of 140C, compared to 267C for polycarbonate. Melting points for commodity plastics, such as polyethylene, are much lower and would not be used with the new inks.
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.