Being available in only dark earth-tones does not seem like a detrimental limitation. Consider how many plastic things are molded in black. Black was almost always an industrial designer's first choice in product definition for electronics (Henry Ford was a visionary!)
Plus, having developed thin-wall flow characteristics right off the bat is a huge benefit. Recall the earliest polymers (1960's) were very limited due to their sticky viscosities. Robust, thin-wall engineered polymers didn't really start showing up until decades later, which I utilized while developing products in the 1990's. And more than 90% of those products were marketed in black.
This is news to me, Ann -- Good news -- as I'd not previously heard of Bioplast and Cereplast, or Algaeplast. Once again, DN has helped keep me current with developing trends. But what is the expected life of this stuff-? Does it begin the decompositional breakdown immediately upon injection and last "X" years-? Or, can a product sit comfortably on shelf for forever, and then only begin to decompose when exposed to extended sunlight or other environmental conditions-? What is the catalyst to trigger its main purpose, being biodegradable-?
It's really promising to see the use of bio material in what used to be completely synthetic plastic. I have to say, though, the material in the photo looks pretty strange! Kind of like it came from some kind of prehistoric swamp land or something. :) But hey, anything that improves the materials process and makes it more environmentally friendly is good in my book. Thanks for keeping on top of this space, Ann.
Agreed, Nadine, narrow color choices are a limitation of algae-based bioplastics. Sort of like Henry Ford--any color as long as it's black, uh, I mean, dark green, brown or black. Personally, I like those colors, at least for some household items like kitchenware.
In a bid to boost the viability of lithium-based electric car batteries, a team at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory has developed a chemistry that could possibly double an EV’s driving range while cutting its battery cost in half.
Using Siemens NX software, a team of engineering students from the University of Michigan built an electric vehicle and raced in the 2013 Bridgestone World Solar Challenge. One of those students blogged for Design News throughout the race.
Robots that walk have come a long way from simple barebones walking machines or pairs of legs without an upper body and head. Much of the research these days focuses on making more humanoid robots. But they are not all created equal.
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.