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)
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
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.
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.
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?
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.
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?
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.
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
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.
SpaceX has 3D printed and successfully hot-fired a SuperDraco engine chamber made of Inconel, a high-performance superalloy, using direct metal laser sintering (DMLS). The company's first 3D-printed rocket engine part, a main oxidizer valve body for the Falcon 9 rocket, launched in January and is now qualified on all Falcon 9 flights.
Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory and MIT have 3D-printed a new class of metamaterials that are both exceptionally light and have exceptional strength and stiffness. The new metamaterials maintain a nearly constant stiffness per unit of mass density, over three orders of magnitude.
Smart composites that let the material's structural health be monitored automatically and continuously are getting closer to reality. R&D partners in an EU-sponsored project have demonstrated what they say is the first complete, miniaturized, fiber-optic sensor system entirely embedded inside a fiber-reinforced composite.
The amount of plastic clogging the ocean continues to grow. Some startling, not-so-good news has come out recently about the roles plastic is playing in the ocean, as well as more heartening news about efforts to collect and reuse it.
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