If you think light switches and thermostats are not very high tech, think again. EnOcean GmbH is shipping wireless modules that use energy harvesting techniques so no batteries are required. To meet the new thrust to manage lights and temperature using wireless technologies that offer more precise control, modules must be small enough to fit in a light switch and be cost-competitive with battery-powered systems. EnOcean's 1.5-inch square module gathers energy from solar sources while also monitoring minute changes in pressure, temperature, vibration and motion to generate electricity. A Microchip Technology controller manages power gathering and radio communications. A proprietary radio transmitter helps keep power demands low.
A new method of modeling how they are created with chemical vapor deposition (CVD) could reduce the cost of carbon nanostructures used for for research and commercial applications, including advanced sensors and batteries.
BMW has already incorporated more than 10,000 3D-printed parts in the Rolls-Royce Phantom and intends to expand the use of 3D printing in its cars even more in the future. Meanwhile, Daimler has started using additive manufacturing for producing spare parts in Mercedes-Benz Trucks.
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