Welcome to Cyber Dump number 73, your look at what's happening in this insane age of technology we live in. As always, all the source links and a transcript of this video are on the NODE site. Let's have a look at what's been happening this week.
Lots of powder-related 3D printing news this week. Firstly, I saw this video of a Viridis3D printer the other day and thought it was pretty fascinating. This giant printer is designed for making casting molds for foundrys.
It works in a similar way to an SLS printer, in that it first deposits a layer of fine sand on the bed, smoothes it off, then instead of melting with a laser, it has a bunch of inkjet heads on, which print a curable resin layer, sticking the sand together. It repeats the process layer by layer until it's made the object, then molten metal can be poured directly into these to create metal parts.
Apparently this is a burgeoning area of metal manufacturing, allowing foundry operators to speed up production times, making way for smaller production runs of custom metal pieces.
German company Additive Drives have designed a working copper winding section of an electric motor, all completely 3D printed.
According to them, this method creates slightly more efficient motors because there are no gaps between the parts that are usually occupied by round copper wire, plus it can be printed in a single piece using SLS technology with a copper fill of about 65%.
A team at Cambridge University are also working on a project to improve the manufacturing of metallic 3D printed parts, by using computer-generated holography.
The downside of using a single laser SLS printer is that the intense heat generated in melting the powders can be difficult to control precisely, leading to imperfections. To get around this, the team is building a multi-laser system which creates a type of 3 dimensional hologram with the light waves, which in theory should lead to much higher print definition and speed.
Michigan Robotics Dynamic Legged Locomotion Lab has shown off a video of their Cassie Blue bot walking at 2.1m/s, which is a slow jogging pace. Imagine a bunch of these stomping down the street towards you.
A bunch of different companies have started designing or retrofitting existing bots with UV lights as a way to disinfect offices and warehouses etc.
The first is the smart guard by packaging company Piedmont. I wonder how effective these are considering they only clean the exposed surfaces.
Researchers at MITCSAIL have built something similar, and theirs has been working at a Boston Food Bank.
This one by F&P Robotics is slightly different. The Lio is a personal robot, basically an articulated robotic hand on wheels, that can perform a range of tasks, including going around and UV cleaning often touched surfaces like door handles.
In other news, French company Naio Technologies have released an updated version of their Ted vineyard weeding robot.
Once plots have been mapped out either manually, with GPS or with a drone, this bot can work autonomously for up to 8 hours, going back and forth, removing weeds from the vines. One interesting benefit with using this technology is that it removes the need for spraying chemicals on the plants.
So far it's been trialed by over 20 wine-growers throughout France.
Researchers at EPFL in Switzerland have developed a new take on haptic feedback for virtual reality.
The team has created extremely small and thin soft actuators which press up against the skin. When a small electronic pulse is supplied, this pushes out the little bubble shape enough to stretch the skin and create a touch sensation.
The goal is to create gloves or suits with many of these actuators to improve immersion for both workplace training like surgery and obviously games. I wonder what pairing this kind of technology with exoskeletons would do for making it feel like you can touch, and manipulate virtual objects?
Automation company Dexterity recently announced their AI driven pick and packing system that they have been working on in secret for a few years.
The company claims to offer a full stack packing capability, which can adapt to many different environments.
I mentioned the Amazon-backed self-driving truck trials occurring last week. Well, the company is working on many different fronts, including new trials of their Scout delivery robots which will be expanding to Atlanta and Franklin, Tennessee soon. Though they can work autonomously, during the field test, they'll be accompanied by Amazon staff.
Hilti unveiled their EXO-01 workplace exoskeleton last week. This is mainly aimed at construction workers who are carrying tools above their heads for long periods.
Unlike other exos we've seen, this one requires no power, and is designed to shift weight from the workers arms, to their hips.
Youtube user Ian Davis uploaded a video a couple weeks back demonstrating a custom hand he built for himself. This guy definitely knows what he's doing, this thing is so well made it's unbelievable.
Currently the hand works purely mechanically, responding to wrist movements to engage a grip or splay motion, but Ian plans on adding electronics to the device to individually lock and unlock the fingers for greater dexterity.
And finally, the team at Unlimited Tomorrow showed off their new lightweight robotic prosthetic, the TrueLimb.
Each device is personalized for each recipient, and currently costs around $8k, which is apparently much less than other competitors out there. It's still probably worth it for the potential quality of life improvements these could bring.
Alright, that's it for this week. If you missed the pre-order a few weeks back, I just wanted to let you know the NODE Vol 02 zines are in stock in the shop. Anyways, thanks for watching, and I'll see you in the next video.
Music: Xtract - Audiotool Day 2016 (CC License)