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Engineering Materials
Plastics, Adhesives & Coatings Miniaturize Products
6/15/2012

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Solar panel frames (1) are getting lighter, and the electrical junction boxes (2) and connectors (3) that carry the electrical current they generate are getting smaller, aided by plastics with low-temperature impact resistance that meet electrical and flame retardancy requirements.   (Source: SABIC Innovative Plastics)
Solar panel frames (1) are getting lighter, and the electrical junction boxes (2) and connectors (3) that carry the electrical current they generate are getting smaller, aided by plastics with low-temperature impact resistance that meet electrical and flame retardancy requirements.
(Source: SABIC Innovative Plastics)

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Ann R. Thryft
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Swallowable endoscope
Ann R. Thryft   6/15/2012 1:18:45 PM
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Some of the most interesting and fun applications I found during reporting this story were the small health monitoring devices. For example, you can see pictures of the Japanese swallowable endoscope in use, both outside and inside the body, here:
http://sanfrancisco.ibtimes.com/articles/170187/20110627/japanese-scientists-invent-mermaid-tiny-remote-controlled-pill-camera-examine-digestive-tract.htm
and a video of one from the University of Washington here:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AlQN3c04mu0

Tim
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Re: Swallowable endoscope
Tim   6/17/2012 7:58:25 AM
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This endoscope is amazing technology. It reminds me of the movie Innerspace, but the difference is that the minature endoscope is real and not science fiction. Great and informative article.

Ann R. Thryft
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Re: Swallowable endoscope
Ann R. Thryft   6/18/2012 12:59:04 PM
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Thanks, Tim. Interestingly, the Japanese version is not the only swallowable endoscope. There are several different models. senya, thanks for catching that editing glitch--it should have said "one lead, not three." The Zio in fact uses two electrodes.

NadineJ
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Great support article
NadineJ   6/15/2012 6:42:01 PM
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A few years ago, I wrote a trend report titled "Smaller, Faster, Better" highlighting not only nano and micro technologies but also a general sizing down across the board.  A striking number of experts dismissed it as irrelevant for the American market.  I love having articles like this that back up my trend reports with current information.  Thank you!


I'd love to see the process 3M and IBM are developing in action.  It sounds amazing.  It's good to see 3M in new areas.

Ann R. Thryft
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Re: Great support article
Ann R. Thryft   6/18/2012 1:00:23 PM
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Nadine, you are welcome. Since "smaller, faster, better" is an ongoing trend cluster in electronics over the last several decades--both at the board level and the system level--I'm surprised that anyone would dismiss this idea. What about the American market was seen as unusual in this context?

NadineJ
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Re: Great support article
NadineJ   6/18/2012 4:17:04 PM
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Everyone seemed to recognize the concept for electronics easily.  I pointed out that their cell phones are more powerful than their first PCs.  But, they didn't get that it was also relevant for other areas such as autos, housing and urban-planning.  I pointed out the popularity of the Mini, not only as an efficient city car but as great unisex design.  It was dismissed as a fluke.

All you can do is stand by your work and wait for others to see it too.

Ann R. Thryft
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Re: Great support article
Ann R. Thryft   6/19/2012 12:34:16 PM
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Thanks for that clarification and context. I see what you mean. Autos certainly, but only to a point, since many Americans are taller/larger than people elsewhere. Housing I've also heard about, but smaller living spaces, except for seniors, generally does meet with a lot of resistance among American consumers. The one I don't get is urban planning: what aspect of that is or could get smaller?

NadineJ
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Re: Great support article
NadineJ   6/19/2012 5:16:14 PM
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Ann-for years moving to the suburbs was seen as a sign of upward mobility.  That lead to the ex-urbs and an increasing need for private-cars to commute to work or shopping centers.

Today, partly because of the sustainability movement, the city is popular again.  People want to live, work and shop within walking distance, or at least a short ride on public transit.  Urban planners have been consulting with trend forecasters lately to help them understand this new dynamic.  Neighbourhoods are coming back.

In autos, smaller cars like the Mini or Prius have a deceptive amount of interior space for those who need it vertically or horizontally.  Yet, they're shorter and, easier to park, than most sedans on the roads in the US.

Greg M. Jung
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Smaller, Less Invasive
Greg M. Jung   6/17/2012 9:55:42 PM
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Well said on the trend for smaller and less invasive procedures which help to reduce our health care costs in the long run.

Less invasive procedures produce less risk for the patient and result in safer and less costly procedures.

Smaller products result in the need for a smaller footprint which saves precious horizontal space (to keep overhead costs down) in the clinic.

senya
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Iron
Zio Patch
senya   6/18/2012 10:04:20 AM
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I am wondering about iRhythm Technologies approach (page 2) to use 1 electrode to acquire ECG. For an electrical signal to exist (unless the device is catching electrons) 2 terminals must be provided. The picture itself shows 2 electrodes, or to make this claim accurate, it shows 2 electrically connected terminals

Beth Robinson
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Iron
Rapid diagnostics
Beth Robinson   6/19/2012 8:54:30 PM
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It's not just electronics either. My employer is a supplier of absorbent media that goes into rapid diagnostic lateral flow devices. Think pregnancy test. Most have a minimum of 5 different materials within the case. And there is continued research to make tests that work for more and more pieces of information and with various bodily fluids. It takes an appropriate chemical treatment and combination of materials for the tests to work effectively.

Ann R. Thryft
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Blogger
Re: Rapid diagnostics
Ann R. Thryft   6/20/2012 1:00:12 PM
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Thanks, Nadine, that makes sense. And Beth, thanks for that good detailed input on more miniaturization in medical devices.

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