Energy conservation is a hot topic on the nation's campuses. Competitions like the Dept. of Energy's Solar Decathlon are fostering ideas for reducing power consumption in homes. Georgia Tech's entry employed five solar-powered systems that managed lighting, HVAC, energy, plumbing and motion control systems. About 80 channels of analog and voltage data was measured and controlled by National Instruments' Compact Fieldpoint hardware. The plumbing control system used thermocouple and analog voltage input cards, while the energy control system used a Compact Fieldpoint system with analog conditioning. The user interfaces for each of the five systems, programmed in National Instruments' LabVIEW, ran on standard PCs.
An in-depth survey of 700 current and future users of 3D printing holds few surprises, but results emphasize some major trends already in progress. Two standouts are the big growth in end-use parts and metal additive manufacturing (AM) most respondents expect.
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