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The world’s first 3-D printed car took to the streets this weekend after being built in an amazingly short 44 hours. The vehicle, called Strati, was designed by Italian designer Michele Anoé, who won an international competition held by crowdsourcing carmaker Local Motors.  It was printed and rapidly assembled by a Local Motors team during a manufacturing technology show held last week in Chicago, then went on a drive on Saturday. 

Strati’s chassis and body were made in one piece out of a carbon fiber-impregnated plastic on a large-area 3-D printer. The machine put down layer after layer of the material at a rate of 40 pounds per hour.

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New York Fashion Week, which ended last Thursday, brought together the biggest names in haute couture to showcase some of the weirdest and wildest designs people could hang off their bodies. A number of bloggers took the opportunity to use NYFW as a backdrop to talk about science.

Our science comic contributor, makinaro, took it one step further. He wondered what would happen if designers took the most advanced technologies and scientific concepts to put into their fashions. We present his imagination at work.

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Why Heat The Building When You Can Heat The Person?

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by Michael Keller

Fall is rapidly approaching and temperatures have already started to drop in some areas of the country. It’s time to figure out where the jackets got hidden at the end of last winter and whether the heater is up for the task this year. 

Residential and commercial buildings were responsible for 40 percent of all the energy consumed in the U.S. in 2013. That total makes the lighting, heating and cooling of indoor residential and commercial spaces the most power hungry of all users, beating industrial and transportation consumption by more than 10 percent each. Buildings also contribute almost 40 percent of all U.S. carbon dioxide emissions. 

Focusing in, it turns out that space heating is the biggest energy hog and accounts for 37 percent of the total power consumed by U.S. buildings in 2010, according to the Buildings Energy Data Book

Why isn’t there a smarter way than heating rooms regardless of whether people are in them or that the living things that occupy a space take up only a fraction of the conditioned area?

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Txch This Week: Cancer-Detecting Nanotech And Produce Section Power Production

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by Jared Kershner

This week on Txchnologist, NASA tested experimental rocket engine injectors that were 3-D printed to enhance performance over traditionally manufactured components. This 3-D printing technique, called direct laser melting, consists of a machine that fires a laser at metal powder under the control of a computer design program, depositing layers of the metal on top of one another until the part is produced. The hope? To demonstrate that 3-D printed designs can truly revolutionize system performance along with production time and cost.

A team led by biophysicist Markus Sauer and chemist Jürgen Seibel have pioneered a new microscopy method, dSTORM, which stands for direct Stochastic Optical Reconstruction Microscopy. This allows for the visualization of objects in super resolution, revealing details of cells ten times better than ever before by stitching together multiple images to create a single, sharper one. By resolving objects by mere millionths of millimeters across, researchers will inevitably gain new insights into activity in infectious diseases and cancer in human cells.

Harvard roboticists are in the process of constructing a soft-bodied, untethered robot that can continue operating through fire, water, crushing force, and even freezing conditions. Its body is constructed from a composite of silicone, fabric, and hollow glass microspheres. The group’s gains are an important step forward: If robots such as these are to perform rescue missions and survive demanding weather conditions, they need to be able to roam and slither free from cumbersome power connections.

Now we’re bringing you the news and trends we’ve been following this week in the world of science, technology, and innovation.

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