Many people have ideas, but actually producing something – sketch, prototype, then final product – from those ideas, and having it mass-manufactured, is a hugely complex, time-consuming and expensive process.
If that product is an electronic and semiconductor technology-based hardware-and-software product, which is increasingly in demand these days, then that’s an even higher level of complexity and stress.
Autodesk has released a beta version of a generative design tool for its Netfabb additive manufacturing software, with a view to a full launch early next year.
Generative design is a term to describe an automation functionality within 3D design software which enables users to set parameters such as materials and physics and allow the software itself to conjure up a design.
Nothing is as straightforward as it might first sound. So, for example, one might imagine that, by using generative design software, a designer could set parameters for the computer to produce a structure and then use a 3D printer to output that structure, whether that structure is a single molecule of steel or a larger, more complex structure, like a car body. Basically, you could get the computer to do almost all of the design work.
The technology is available to do those things. And any designer who’s produced countless iterations of one basic design would certainly appreciate such powerful software. But is it really as simple as that? Probably not.
Dassault Systèmes is planning to launch an integrated 3D printing platform in the next few months, according to a senior executive at the company.
In an interview with RoboticsAndAutomationNews.com, Philippe Bartissol, vice president, industrial equipment industry, Dassault Systèmes, says the the initiative will be announced in the next two months.
The initiative will “address the complete ecosystem of 3D printing”, says Bartissol, adding: “It will not be only one customer using our platform extensively.
Aerotech has launched a motion control sensor with a parallel-kinematic design which provides unmatched geometric performance, says company, adding that it also offers superior positioning resolution and linearity with the direct-metrology capacitive sensor.
Aerotech’s QNP3 series XYZ piezo positioning stages combine sub-nanometer resolution, high dynamics, and excellent geometric performance in a compact three-degree-of-freedom (DoF) package.
They come with a 40 mm x 40 mm clear aperture with closed-loop travels up to 100 µm x 100 µm x 10 µm (open-loop travels to 120 µm x 120 µm x 12 µm).
Surgical robots today are large and unwieldy. This causes a number of challenges in the operating theatre.
Setting up and managing the robots, for example, takes up valuable operating time. It’s also difficult to swap a robot in and out of a surgical procedure if traditional tools are more appropriate for some elements of an operation. And there are safety issues when clinical staff work in close proximity to a large piece of moving equipment.
So a surgeon has to weigh the benefits of surgical robotics against these limitations for each procedure where a robot is used.
The most complex crystal designed and built from nanoparticles has been reported by researchers at Northwestern University and the University of Michigan. The work demonstrates that some of nature’s most complicated structures can be deliberately assembled if researchers can control the shapes of the particles and the way they connect using DNA.
“This is a tour de force demonstration of what is possible when one harnesses the chemistry of DNA and combines it with nanoparticles whose shapes encourage a particular crystal structure,” said Chad A. Mirkin, the George B. Rathmann Professor of Chemistry in the Weinberg College of Arts and Sciences at Northwestern.
Nanotechnology promises to bring materials together in new ways, forging new capabilities by design. One potential application for crystals built of nanoparticles, such as these newly reported ones, is the control of light — nanoparticles interact well with light waves because they are similar in size. This could lead to materials that can change colors or patterns on command or block certain wavelengths of light, while transmitting or amplifying others. New types of lenses, lasers and even Star Trek-like cloaking materials are possible. Continue reading Most complex nanoparticle crystal ever made by design
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