Manufacturing Bits: July 26


Jumping films Riken and the University of Tokyo have developed a tiny autonomous actuator. The actuator, which is based on a special material, can automatically curl up or straighten out when exposed to ambient humidity. And in certain conditions, the film can even jump into the air by itself. A video can be seen here. Researchers placed a material called guanidinium carbonate into a hig... » read more

Manufacturing Bits: Feb. 3


Robotic plants In 2012, the European Commission launched the so-called Plantoid project. In the project, researchers hope to devise synthetic robotic plants. Inspired by plant roots, the robots could be used for soil monitoring and other applications. The group is devising so-called artifacts. These components resemble plants and plant roots. The new technologies expected to result from the... » read more

The Week In Review: Manufacturing


Tesla Motors plans to build a new 35-GWh, lithium-ion cell production facility for its electric vehicles. It sounds like a good idea. But the factory will bring about only a modest reduction in battery costs, and could create significant overcapacity in the arena, according to Lux Research. “The Gigafactory will only reduce the Tesla Model 3’s cost by $2,800, not enough to sway the success ... » read more