AMT Tech Report: Issue #154

What ever happened to hydrogen fuel cell cars? Toyota’s (micro)chip on their shoulder – and in their inventory reserves. Averting robo-dog supremacy. Robots coming of age. Additively manufacturing gun barrels.
by Stephen LaMarca
Apr 16, 2021

What ever happened to hydrogen fuel cell cars? Toyota’s (micro)chip on their shoulder – and in their inventory reserves. Averting robo-dog supremacy. Robots coming of age. Additively manufacturing gun barrels. Here's the latest tech article roundup from this week's Tech Report.


1. Where Did the Hydrogen Fuel Cells Go?

A colleague recently asked me to investigate hydrogen fuel cells and how they’re manufactured. This, of course, got me thinking, “Uh, what ever happened to them?” Seriously, though: Remember all those hideous hydrogen concept cars (the posters of which I may or may not have hung up in my middle school bedroom)? Woof. Welp, this video has some “Insight” as to why. (That’s a joke for the elite… Yes, it’s a gas hybrid and not a hydrogen vehicle, but it greatly influenced the Clarity.) Apparently, there’s still a market for HFCs, so I’m gonna keep digging.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b88v-WvqzeQ

2. Toyota and the Chip Shortage

Yeah, yeah – more cars. Deal with it. As Ben and I have mentioned on the AMT Tech Trends Podcast, there’s something of a silicon deficit right now since the pandemic has left a lot of people working from home and buying up computer components. Toyota was prepared, however, since the Japanese auto industry has gone through a drought like this before.

https://jalopnik.com/toyota-prepared-for-the-chip-shortage-years-ago-why-di-1846641653

3. Spot’s Spot

Over the past year or so, I’ve had a change of heart toward Boston Dynamics’ robo-dog, Spot. A lot of the work Boston Dynamics has done has always been fascinating and incredible – albeit a tad bit creepy. And if you never thought Spot was at least a little scary, go watch the “Metalhead” episode of Black Mirror. I’ve since warmed up to Spot, and I totally think I’d purchase one if they weren’t $70,000 or so. After all, they don’t need to be vaccinated, fed, shed, or brushed. They’re hypoallergenic and physically can’t chew up your bespoke, no. 8 shell cordovan Goodyear-welted Oxfords. Kinda worth it, if you ask me. However, if you ever find one of these crypto-canines committing an unsavory act, here’s how to shut it off.

https://mashable.com/article/how-to-shut-down-boston-dynamics-robot-dog-spot/

4. Mr. Robo Risin’

OK, we’ve definitely covered this topic before, and if you haven’t heard a statement like, “The number of robots used in distribution has increased during the pandemic. Their ranks will only continue to grow as distributors realize the many benefits they offer…” then this is a good read to get you caught up. However, as I love etymology and Slavic culture and heritage, I can’t believe I’m only now learning where the term “robot” comes from.

https://www.dcvelocity.com/articles/50211-robots-on-the-rise

5. Metal Additive Gun Barrels

What do transformative manufacturing technologies and military research have in common? Australia’s involved! Full disclosure: This article left me high and dry. I was expecting so many more details on additively manufacturing gun barrels… Alas, there’s much left to be desired. Cool to know somebody’s doing it though!

https://www.wideformatonline.com/news/wide-format-news/11118-3d-printers-to-help-produce-warfighters-and-weapons-barrels.html


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Author
Stephen LaMarca
Manufacturing Technology Analyst
Stephen LaMarca has a background in physics and is passionate about mechanical devices. He oversees and operates AMT’s testbed, including a 5-axis CNC ...
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