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
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.
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
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.
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.
A make-your-own Star Wars Sith Lightsaber hilt is heftier and better-looking than most others out there, according to its maker, Sean Charlesworth. You can 3D print it from free source files, and there's even a hardware kit available -- not free -- so you can build one just in time for Halloween.
Some next-generation bio-based materials are superior in performance to their petro-based counterparts, but also face some commercial challenges. This is especially true of certain biopolymers, adhesives, coatings, and advanced materials.
Cars and other vehicles, as well as electronics and medical devices, continue to lead the use cases for the new plastics products we've been seeing, as engineers design products for tougher environments.
LeMond Composites, founded by three-time Tour de France cycling champion Greg LeMond, is the first to license a new carbon fiber production method invented by Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) that's faster, cheaper, and greener.
This month will mark the launch of the SpeedFoiler, a super-fast, ultra-lightweight foiling catamaran that can fly short distances over water faster than other foiling designs, in part because of its carbon composite materials.
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