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

Power/Performance Bits: Dec. 19


Stabilizing perovskites Scientists at EPFL and the University of Cordoba found a way to improve the stability of perovskite solar cells. While perovskites show promising efficiencies as solar cells, they are soft crystalline materials and prone to problems due to decomposition over time. By introducing the large organic cation guanidinium (CH6N3+) into methylammonium lead iodide perovskites, t... » read more

Simulation-Driven Product Development In Additive Manufacturing


Additive manufacturing, or 3-D printing, has the potential to radically change the way in which products are conceived and designed. The additive process allows for unprecedented design complexity and design freedoms. Full subassemblies can be produced in one print eliminating costly joining operations. Parts can be customized and produced in small, made- to-order batches. Parts can be produced... » read more

System Bits: March 28


Automating biology experiments with adapted Lego kit To bring more of the features of modern biology labs — that often use robotic assemblies to drop precise amounts of fluids into experimental containers — to students and teachers, Stanford University researchers have shown how an off-the-shelf Lego kit can be modified to create inexpensive automated systems to do this in clubs or classro... » read more

Era Of 3D Printing Begins


3D printing has always been an interesting side technology. It's now about to become a mainstream technology. Until recently, the majority of applications for this technology have been limited for several reasons. First, there simply isn't enough history to bet the bank on commercial manufacturing using 3D printers. The initial patent for fused deposition modeling was issued in 1986, but ... » read more

System Bits: Sept. 13


Big data programming language MIT Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (CSAIL) researchers this week are presenting a new programming language, called Milk, that lets application developers manage memory more efficiently in programs that deal with scattered data points in large data sets. The researchers reminded that in today’s computer chips, memory management is base... » read more

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