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 self-propelled robot developed by a team of researchers headed by MIT promises to detect leaks quickly and accurately in gas pipelines, eliminating the likelihood of dangerous explosions. The robot may also be useful in water and petroleum pipe leak detection.
Aerojet Rocketdyne has built and successfully hot-fire tested an entire 3D-printed rocket engine. In other news, NASA's 3D-printed rocket engine injectors survived tests generating a record 20,000 pounds of thrust. Some performed equally well or better than welded parts.
Researchers at MIT's d'Arbeloff Laboratory are developing shoulder- and hip-mounted robotic arms to help workers in aircraft manufacturing perform difficult or complex assembly tasks that would normally require two people.
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