The push to erase what's called the digital divide is moving forward quickly as computer makers and others bring out inexpensive PCs designed for school children in underdeveloped regions. Companies producing Intel's Classmate PC are ramping up for production, with an expected starting price somewhere between $200-300. The competitor to the One Laptop Per Child program employs a 900 MHz Celeron CPU, also offering wireless networking. A color screen and rugged design should help children in emerging markets compete with those growing up in regions where computers are commonplace.
New versions of BASF's Ecovio line are both compostable and designed for either injection molding or thermoforming. These combinations are becoming more common for the single-use bioplastics used in food service and food packaging applications, but are still not widely available.
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 radio show will show what’s possible with smart machines, and what tradeoffs need to be made to implement such a solution.