The 20 lightest objects in the world. Sawdust as 3D printer ink. Robot dogs kick their joysticks to the curb. 3D printing engine compressor cases. Will neuromorphic vision technology usher in an era of intelligent robots?
1. Material Science Light Reading
Pun intended. Seems it’s been a while since we’ve had a fun listicle on here! This had me a little wary at first, but it goes from 0 to 100 real quick! It starts with some cutesy, albeit interesting, objects that might inspire some further Googling, but before you know it, you’re knee deep in the subatomic particles of the standard model. Enjoy! WAIT! Before we move on to the next article, it’s time for Steve’s Physics Phun Phact of the week! Subatomic particles usually come in pairs. For example, every type of quark has an equal and opposite type. One of these quarks is the “strange.” It was named such because when it was discovered, the particle was moving erratically and acting, well, strange! When its polar opposite quark was discovered, naturally, it had to be named “charm.” You know? Because the opposite of someone strange is someone charming. I’ll stop. I promise this is true though!
2. Wood Additive
You ever heard of growing a part out of wood? A part that is NOT some kind of shrub? Well, now you have, and you’re welcome! Like the jungles of the Amazon, this tech is wild! It’s so much more than just machines squirting out a slurry of glue and sawdust. The company doing this – appropriately named “Forust” – is starting out with manufacturing as a service (MaaS). Send ‘em a design, and they’ll grow it for you. I really want to 3D scan my hand to make a bespoke-fit walnut shift knob for my car!
3. Industrial Setting-Programmed Robotics
Turns out, even the most well-mannered dogs need training, and robot dogs are no exception! “A proof-of-concept collaboration to enable robots and machines to follow humans and other machines in industrial applications. It integrates a PFFtag smart following module prototype and Boston Dynamics Spot robot platform controlled by Trimble advanced positioning technology, superseding a joystick.”
4. 3D-Printed Intermediate Compressor Case
“The additive manufacturing of end-use turbine engine components is slowly but surely being ushered in. … Set to be used in a demonstrator program for Rolls-royce’s upcoming UltraFan engine, the ICC was developed as part of Clean Sky 2, Europe’s largest aeronautics research program focused on reducing the CO2 emissions and noise levels of today’s aircraft engines.”
5. Neuromorphic Vision
“This form of vision is defined as the development of artificial systems and circuits that exploit information typically found in the human eyes biological systems. … Humans remain dominant (over computers and industrial robots) at one critical thing that neither of those technologies can handle and that is the ability to recognise, interpret, analyse and intelligently learn from information gathered via data and real-time practical experiences.”
To access Tech Trends, login to or register for an MTInsight account at: https://www.mtinsight.org/