Technology, entertainment, and design leaders have affirmed that technology's next big wave would be its intersection with medicine. At the recent Tedmed conference (www.tedmed.com), America Online Founder Stephen M. Case told the New York Times that he senses something is bubbling—the same feelings he had when he got involved with the Internet 25 years ago. The newspaper reports that Americans spend $1.4 trillion annually on health care and health care products. No wonder some of the hot items unveiled at Tedmed included a key chain that stores a person's health records and an armband that measures how many calories its wearer has burned.
A new service lets engineers and orthopedic surgeons design and 3D print highly accurate, patient-specific, orthopedic medical implants made of metal -- without owning a 3D printer. Using free, downloadable software, users can import ASCII and binary .STL files, design the implant, and send an encrypted design file to a third-party manufacturer.
For industrial control applications, or even a simple assembly line, that machine can go almost 24/7 without a break. But what happens when the task is a little more complex? That’s where the “smart” machine would come in. The smart machine is one that has some simple (or complex in some cases) processing capability to be able to adapt to changing conditions. Such machines are suited for a host of applications, including automotive, aerospace, defense, medical, computers and electronics, telecommunications, consumer goods, and so on. This discussion will examine what’s possible with smart machines, and what tradeoffs need to be made to implement such a solution.