Biotech may come to the rescue when it comes to meeting future demand for corn needed for both food and ethanol. According to a study released by the National Center for Food and Agricultural Policy, U.S. farmers gained an additional 8.3 billion pounds of yield in 2005 due to biotech crops, including an extra 7.6 billion pounds of corn. This represents a 29 percent increase over 2004's harvest. The report notes that plant biotechnology boosted corn production by 39 billion pounds since it was introduced in the late 90s. That represents 1.9 billion gallons of ethanol.
Altair has released an update of its HyperWorks computer-aided engineering simulation suite that includes new features focusing on four key areas of product design: performance optimization, lightweight design, lead-time reduction, and new technologies.
At IMTS last week, Stratasys introduced two new multi-materials PolyJet 3D printers, plus a new UV-resistant material for its FDM production 3D printers. They can be used in making jigs and fixtures, as well as prototypes and small runs of production parts.
In a line of ultra-futuristic projects, DARPA is developing a brain microchip that will help heal the bodies and minds of soldiers. A final product is far off, but preliminary chips are already being tested.
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