3D Metal Printing: Does It Add Up?


Prolific Renaissance artist Michelangelo said, “The sculpture is already complete within the marble block before I start my work. ... I just have to chisel away the superfluous material.” I wonder what the great visionary would think of exchanging his chisel for an additive-manufacturing tool such as today’s 3D printers. 3D printing has been around since the 1980s, when it was first kn... » read more

March’19 Startup Funding: Money Springs Forth


Another month, another couple of billion-dollar rounds. Singapore-based Grab raised nearly $1.5 billion from the SoftBank Vision Fund, bringing its total private funding to more than $4.5 billion and valuing the company at around $14 billion. Grab has acquired Uber’s ride-hailing business in Southeast Asia and now competes chiefly with Go-Jek of Indonesia in Thailand and other emerging mar... » read more

Manufacturing Bits: Feb. 19


Computed Axial Lithography Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL) and the University of California at Berkeley have developed a 3D printing method to produce a new class of polymer parts. The technology, called Computed Axial Lithography (CAL), projects photons on a resin in a vial within a 3D printer. In total, researchers have demonstrated the ability to shine 1,440 different proje... » read more

System Bits: Feb. 5


Rubbery material for stretchable electronics Researchers at the University of Houston came up with a rubbery semiconducting material that they say could find applications in stretchable electronics, such as human-machine interfaces, implantable bioelectronics, and robotic skins. Cunjiang Yu, Bill D. Cook Assistant Professor of mechanical engineering at the University of Houston and correspo... » read more

Power/Performance Bits: Nov. 6


Camera for object recognition Researchers from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign developed a new camera that could improve object detection in vehicles. Inspired by the visual system of mantis shrimp, the camera detects the polarization of light and has a dynamic range about 10,000 times higher than today's commercial cameras. "In a recent crash involving a self-driving car, th... » read more

Digital Fabrication’s Promise And Potential Pitfalls


Semiconductor functionality continues to expand, enabling robotic machines to analyze problems, make decisions and communicate information better than ever. These capabilities open the door for new applications such as Industry 4.0, a term now commonly used throughout Europe and the U.S. (more on Japan’s interpretation to follow). By integrating the performance capabilities of the Internet of... » read more

System Bits: Sept. 4


Quantum material is both conductor, insulator University of Michigan researchers reminded that quantum materials are a type of odd substance that could be many times more efficient at conducting electricity through a mobile device like an iPhone than the commonly used conductor silicon if physicists could figure out how they work. Now, a University of Michigan physicist has taken a step clo... » read more

Power/Performance Bits: Aug. 21


Physical neural network Engineers at UCLA built a physical artificial neural network capable of identifying objects as light passes through a series of 3D printed polymer layers. Called a "diffractive deep neural network," it uses the light bouncing from the object itself to identify that object, a process that consumes no energy and is faster than traditional computer-based methods of imag... » read more

Power/Performance Bits: Aug. 14


All-optical logic Researchers from Aalto University developed multifunction all-optical logic gates using a network of nanowires. To build the nanostructure, the team assembled two different semiconductor nanowires, indium phosphide and aluminum gallium arsenide. The nanowires have a unique one-dimensional structure, which allows them to function like nanosized antennas for light. Using ... » read more

The 3D Printing Revolution


3D printing always has been intriguing. More recently, it has become truly useful. And in the near future, it will become increasingly controversial. There are videos on YouTube documenting entire homes that are being printed in as little as 8 hours, priced as low as $4,000. So while there is a lot of buzz about AI eliminating jobs, 3D printing could add become another significant threat. ... » read more

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