Researchers at Sandia National Laboratories are working to eliminate energy guzzling incandescent and fluorescent lights and replace them with semiconductor LEDs. Lighting is responsible for approximately 20% of electricity consumption and use of LEDs mean big energy savings. "LEDs could be 10 times more efficient than incandescent bulbs and two times more efficient than florescent," says Jerry Simmons, a department manager at Sandia National Laboratories. Although LEDs were first demonstrated in 1962, new LED colors are available that, when combined, form white light. The researchers believe that the development and adoption of solid-state lighting could end up cutting the nation's electrical consumption by 10% if LEDs could be made more efficiently and less costly. "LEDs will need to decrease their cost as well as improve their energy-conversion efficiency and the quality of their white light", says James M. Gee, senior scientist, Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy Technologies at Sandia National Laboratories. "Many observers in the community believe that this can be achieved in 10 years with a concerted, coordinated national effort, which is proposed in the Next-Generation Lighting Initiative that is part of energy policy bills in Congress today." The Sandia researchers are studying the physics of the gallium nitride-based materials from which LEDs are made, to boot photon generation and high light extraction. For more information, go to www.sandia.gov.
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.