Ghassan E. Jabbour is a University of Arizona professor developing an inkjet printing process that produces photovoltaic devices such as solar cells. He uses digitized images on a computer and sends them to a printer that sprays an organic solution onto an electrically conductive surface. He describes the printed product as a self-illuminated photograph. "The new process uses inkjet to vary the conductivity of the conductors," says Jabbour. "Basically, we design an electronic circuit, scan it to a computer, then send it to the printer." He programmed the printer to interpret colors and convert them to particular chemicals that produce predetermined reactions. "We do some chemistry that allows us to control where we want a lot of electrons and where we don't want electrons." His self-illuminated photographs print in visible colors, but he can also print in colors in the infrared wavelength range that are invisible to the naked eye. For more information, go to www.ua.edu.
Sensor deployment in automated factories should be done slowly and conservatively, otherwise engineers may face the loss of hundreds of thousands or even millions of dollars, an Internet of Things expert will tell attendees at the upcoming Design & Manufacturing Show in Minneapolis.
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