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Rewilder's Bags Made From Beer Filters, and Why Repurposing is Better Than Recycling

Core 77 - Sun, 2017-12-10 23:30

Designers Lisa Siedlecki and Jennifer Silbert worked in fashion and architecture, respectively, two industries where they saw their share of wasted materials. Three years ago they'd had enough and quit, teaming up to produce something useful and ecologically responsible. "We started Rewilder to combat the fast fashion craze with meticulous design, ethical materials, and high quality," they write.

With the goal of repurposing existing materials, Siedlecki and Silbert began to do research and found that beer manufacturers use enormous swaths of polypropylene filters during the manufacturing process, then throw the unrecyclable filters away. They also found that climbing gyms deem ropes unsafe after just six months of use, then those go in the trash. And they found that painting contractors have no use for the leftover custom color paints from one job to the next.

The duo then set up a means of acquiring these materials and designed a line of useful products that could be made from them:

To divert items from landfill and instead see them as a useful and free (or low-cost) raw material to produce useful objects is a goal all designers should have. I've read through Rewilder's philosophies, printed below, and wish that these principles were part of every design school's curriculum.


Rewilder's "THINGS WE BELIEVE IN"


REPURPOSING:
Extending the useful life of a material; the evolution of a material from industrial byproduct to design object. Repurposing means that we are not making new material; instead, we're careful to use materials that are already made. Repurposing is better than recycling.

DESIGN:
Design is a powerful tool with the ability to influence thoughts and actions. As designers we feel responsible for starting conversations about the things we make and consume. We take a thoughtful approach to every decision – what materials we use, where we get them, how we fabricate, and with whom we partner.

HANDCRAFT:
Making things by hand brings us closer to the end product and allows us to thoughtfully consider each detail. The close-knit relationship between design and making results in beautiful, long-lasting objects that fulfill our intentions.

TRANSPARENCY:
Production is hard, and we want to share our knowledge about the decisions we make. Ask us questions and we'll answer them!

PRESERVING NATURAL RESOURCES:
Los Angeles has the lowest green space per capita in the country. Even so, nature is all around us, and we believe in preservation both in our backyards and on a global scale. We support organizations that keep plastic out of the ocean, and keep waste out of our local natural resources.

FAIR PRICING:
The price of our products reflects the actual cost of producing items in a responsible manner in the US.

OUR MISSION STATEMENT:
We are passionately creative makers who believe in repurposing materials already in circulation rather than making them anew, and creating long-lasting products valued as design objects in order to inspire thoughtfulness and impact people's relationship with the things they buy.

If you're a design entrepreneur looking to make a difference, you can start by visiting a material recovery facility to see what gets thrown away. Read this entry on how Siedlecki and Silbert did just that several years ago, and the benefits and insights they gained from the visit.


Design Job: Marketing Communications Agency Vitamin is Looking for a Creative Front-End Web Developer in Baltimore, MD

Core 77 - Sun, 2017-12-10 23:30

Are you ready to work in a new environment? Let’s do this! Now is the time to make that move to an agency position that empowers you to own your work from start to finish, create great things and work on challenging digital projects. Here at Vitamin, we love WordPress. If you have WP skills, that’s a big plus. Got some PHP and some MySQL skills too? Another big plus.

View the full design job here

Insane Footage of L.A. Wildfires Burning Alongside the Morning Commute

Core 77 - Sun, 2017-12-10 23:30

Yesterday morning, this commuter in L.A. shot this insane footage of the wildfire burning alongside the 405 freeway:

Not the typical morning commute... pic.twitter.com/kJIOQeqsIK

— A. Mutzabaugh CMT (@WLV_investor) December 6, 2017 ">

That…doesn't look real. You could be forgiven for thinking the people of Los Angeles have pissed off a vengeful Greek god.

Thus far the death toll is estimated at 40 people, and nearly 200,000 have had to evacuate. The L.A. Times reports that today the situation may worsen, as powerful winds are in the forecast: "We are in the beginning of a protracted wind event," said Ken Pimlott, director of the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection. "There will be no ability to fight fire in these kinds of winds," Pimlott said.


Today's Urban Design Observation: Failures of Design Lead to the Need for Aftermarket Products

Core 77 - Sun, 2017-12-10 23:30

The storefront for this appointment-only, high-end jewelry store in SoHo has a shabby appearance.

The black paint probably looked chic for the first week after it was applied. But now it is chipped and peeling, and we see that black is a poor choice because it readily shows dust. The paint is also peeling on the "Fuck Off, Don't Sit Here" protuberances.

About those protuberances. The job of the designer is to create a space that serves the client's needs. But these windows have been set back, meaning passersby can sit on the sill. This store doesn't want that, so has installed the protuberances.

I inspected them and they are made from injection-molded plastic. They, too, have not weathered well and are cracking.

Reader Mike pointed out that these protuberances are plastic closure strips like these, used for corrugated roofing. If the designer had anticipated the client's needs, there would be no need for them to have purchased and installed these strips. But because the need was unanswered, the closure strip company is able to make some extra sales, and some handyman or carpenter is then hired to install them. A failure of design, then, has unwittingly contributed to the economy.

Good Thing Founder Jamie Wolfond's "Thoughtfully Designed Objects for the Home" Ultimate Gift Guide

Core 77 - Sun, 2017-12-10 23:30

Jamie Wolfond is a Toronto-based designer. He is curious about materials, patterns, colors, simple physics and manufacturing systems. He believes that the relationship between a designer, manufacturer and consumer needs to be evolving constantly. He founded Good Thing in 2014.

View the full content here

These Solar Windows Change Tint as They Generate Energy

Design News - Fri, 2017-12-08 11:47

Developing aesthetically pleasing, yet utilitarian, photovoltaic windows that can generate solar energy for home, offices, and other buildings is at the moment a Holy Grail of sorts for the green building industry.

Lance Wheeler (front) of the U.S. Department of Energy’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) developed a switchable photovoltaic window along with (from left) Nathan Neale, Robert Tenent, Jeffrey Blackburn, Elisa Miller, and David Moore. The window automatically darkens from transparent as it generates solar energy. (Source: NREL)

While there are some technologies that have already been developed for this purpose, the opportunity is still wide open. Enter the Department of Energy’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL), which has developed a switchable photovoltaic window that automatically darkens from transparent as it generates solar energy.

Lance Wheeler, a scientist at NREL who worked on the project, told Design News the technology bridges the gap between providing a window that is functional for its own purpose as well as can serve another by generating electricity when sunlight is available.

“There is a fundamental trade-off between a good window and a good solar cell,” Wheeler said. “This technology bypasses that. We have a good solar cell when there’s lots of sunshine and we have a good window when there’s not.”

The window developed by the team is thermochromic, using advanced materials such as perovskites—which also are being used to develop conventional solar panels – and single-walled carbon nanotubes, according to researchers.

As described in a paper published in the journal Nature Communications, the window works by responding to heat, transforming from transparent to tinted and generating electricity as it darkens. Molecules of methylamine cause the color change in the glass by a process of reverse absorption that is activated by heat from the sun.

When solar energy heats up the device, the molecules are driven out, darkening the window. When the sun is not shining, the device is cooled back down, and the molecules re-absorb into the window, leaving it to appear transparent.

In tests researchers found this process takes about three minutes. When the window is transparent, an average of 68 percent of light in the visible portion of the solar spectrum passes through, they said. When the window darkens, only three percent is allowed through the window.

The NREL team posted a video online that demonstrates how the switchable solar window technology works. (Source: NREL)

This is in contrast to existing solar window technologies, which are static, meaning they are designed to harvest only a fraction of the sunlight without sacrificing too much in the way of transmitting visible light needed for viewing or for the comfort of building occupants, according to the researchers.

In tests, the window demonstrated a solar-power-conversion efficiency of 11.3 percent, which is a breakthrough for thermochromic technologies, according to Wheeler.“There are thermochromic technologies out there, but nothing that actually converts that energy into electricity,” he said.

Researchers have already explored how to commercialize the technology in a short-term program last year with industry partners and concluded that it is possible to do so for a variety of uses, including vehicles, buildings, and other applications.

Elizabeth Montalbano is a freelance writer who has written about technology and culture for more than 15 years. She has lived and worked as a professional journalist in Phoenix, San Francisco and New York City. In her free time she enjoys surfing, traveling, music, yoga and cooking. She currently resides in a village on the southwest coast of Portugal.

HCL Adds Real-Time Analysis to Its Design-for-Manufacturing Software

Design News - Fri, 2017-12-08 04:08

HCL Technologies has released version 5.0 of its design-for-manufacturability solution, DFMPro. The new version supports the latest Creo Parametric version 4.0 and offers enhanced functionality for real-time analysis of product design. The enhancement was developed to provide quick and instant feedback on the manufacturability of CAD designs.

DFMPro 5.0 is designed to quickly identify issues with manufacturability. This video shows the process. Visuals courtesy of HCL Technologies.

DFMPro 5.0 is equipped to identify potential production problems based on typical tools and processes used by manufacturers. When specific tools are outside one that are typically used, the software can be adjusted. “DFMPro includes information about common tools used for certain processes and it provides organizations an ability to configure the software as per any specific tools used by their suppliers or in their manufacturing facilities,” GH Rao, president of Engineering and R&D Services at HCL Technologies, told Design News. “Many of the best practices available in DFMPro are independent of specific manufacturing equipment and contribute to creation of a ‘good’ design, reducing dependency on specific manufacturing resources.”

Quick Feedback on Potential Production Issues

DFMPro 5.0 was updated to offer real-time feedback on designs, with the goal of quicker collaboration for rework and improved productivity. It was also designed to support complete model analysis via the standard DFMPro workflow. “DFMPro verifies the input models as per the recommended best practices and if there are areas of the design which deviate from these then the software warns the user about the actual parameters observed on the CAD model versus the recommended values as per the organizational settings,” said Rao.

With the update, HCL wanted to shorten product development time, minimize development cost, and ensure a smooth transition into production for quick time-to-market. DFMPro is powered by HCL’s DFX framework, providing a knowledge environment to help users achieve successful design processes and thus improve productivity by eliminating rework. 5.0 complements and leverages the design functionalities of PTC Creo Parametric.

Targeting Product Design for Specific Industries

While the enhancements in DFMPro 5.0 were created to assist design engineers in the core industries of HCL’s customer base, the functionality is used in other industries as well. “In this new version of DFMPro, the major enhancements will primarily benefit our customers and prospects in the high-tech, healthcare, consumer goods, and communications industries,” said Rao. “However, we believe the real-time analysis functionality will help designers irrespective of the kind of industry they work in. DFMPro, which is available on various CAD platforms, is also used by customers in aerospace, automotive, and semiconductor industries.”

 

READ MORE ARTICLES ON DIGITAL MANUFACTURING:

 

The advancements in DEMPro 5.0 were determined from a mix of customer requests and functions that customers would logically need with having asked. “When defining the product roadmap and release plans, we seek input from various sources including customers and industry experts, and we also look at market trends,” said Rao. “This specific version was driven by customer inputs and certain features which we anticipate will help our customers and prospects.”

 

REGISTER FOR PACIFIC DESIGN & MANUFACTURING 2018

Pacific Design & Manufacturing, North America’s premier conference that connects you with thousands of professionals across the advanced design & manufacturing spectrum, is back at the Anaheim Convention Center February 6-8, 2018! Over three days, uncover software innovation, hardware breakthroughs, fresh IoT trends, product demos and more that will change how you spend time and money on your next project. CLICK HERE TO REGISTER TODAY!

 

Rob Spiegel has covered automation and control for 17 years, 15 of them for Design News. Other topics he has covered include supply chain technology, alternative energy, and cyber security. For 10 years, he was owner and publisher of the food magazine Chile Pepper.

Lauren Ko's Incredibly Designey Pies

Core 77 - Thu, 2017-12-07 21:41

Operating under the motto "When all hell bakes loose," Seattle-based Lauren Ko creates pun-captioned pies that look like they should be in a design museum.

Making the best of a plaid situation. ??| Heavy-hearted over the current state of national and international affairs. Is it truly so hard to look beyond oneself for a second and exercise compassion and be kind (and choose scientifically-based facts over bs?) ??

A post shared by Lauren Ko (@lokokitchen) on Oct 3, 2017 at 6:58pm PDT

I’ll make it worth your argyle. ??| Almond Cream Tart à la @davidlebovitz with spiced red and white wine poached pineapple quince (hey there heyyy, @westseattleproduce!). You guys, the internet is such a crazy thing. I’m over here trying real hard to be cool but...OMGGGGG HIIIIIIIII. And thank you. ??

A post shared by Lauren Ko (@lokokitchen) on Oct 26, 2017 at 7:01pm PDT

Not for the faint of tart. ????| Eva from @bakestreet did this incredible weave with bread and I couldn’t get it out of my head. Her video tutorial made this gory Halloween variation unboolievably accessible. @bakingamoment’s chocolate pie crust with a jammy strawberry-cherry-raspberry filling. | Quería intentar el diseño que hizo @bakestreet con pan pero yo con una tarta (masa de tarta de chocolate por @bakingamoment). Gracias por el excelente vídeo, Eva—fue súper fácil seguir. Acá tienen tarta tipo Halloween de fresa-cereza-frambuesa. ??

A post shared by Lauren Ko (@lokokitchen) on Oct 30, 2017 at 6:58pm PDT

Puns N’ Roses. ??| I know, snore, everybody’s doing the rose apple thing and no one can touch Queen @julie_jonesuk’s technique, but I had to try it (verdict: v slippery). Pink apple rose tart with dulce de leche crème and sugared pecans for glittery crunchy bitz.

A post shared by Lauren Ko (@lokokitchen) on Nov 2, 2017 at 6:59pm PDT

Ring around the cozy. ??| @taraobrady’s Chai Masala Pumpkin Pie via @food52. Considering my lifelong allegiance to Team Apple, this was a wildly convincing argument for the Pumpkin Posse. You’ve gourd to give it a chai. ??

A post shared by Lauren Ko (@lokokitchen) on Nov 7, 2017 at 7:00pm PST

Incredibly, 30-year-old Ko only began baking a year ago, and she's not a designer by training; her day job is at Seattle Colleges, where she's Executive Assistant to the Chancellor. She cranks these out in her spare time.

More than sweets the eye. ??| @food52’s Sweet Potato Pie with a PURPLE sweet potato twist! A spudderly fun and colorful option for the Thanksgiving table among the traditional golden, orangey hues. A tutorial for constructing this crust will be out sometime this week. Keep an eye on my stories for the exciting details!

A post shared by Lauren Ko (@lokokitchen) on Nov 14, 2017 at 7:00pm PST

Go boldly where no cran has gone before. ??| Preempt any holiday piesaster and snag a bushel of plump, fragrant, and most notably, high in pectin cranberries from @paradise_meadow_cranberries for a guaranteed jammy filling. Last year, I brought an overly juicy, undercooked pie to Thanksgiving dinner and had to sit by mortified as my in-laws politely insisted on eating their slices, oozing raw bottoms and all. Crust me, it was a dough blow. SAVE YOURSELVES FROM IMPENDING DOOM—do what you cran, do what is pieght. ???? #sponsored

A post shared by Lauren Ko (@lokokitchen) on Nov 21, 2017 at 6:55pm PST

"I'm driven by color and pattern, so I'm constantly brainstorming color combinations and geometric patterns that I think I can replicate with pie dough [and] fruit," Ko told Buzzfeed. "What I create during a particular baking session is also often informed by produce that is in season and what's currently in my fridge."

Check out Ko's Instagram, which was only started in August and already has 89,000 followers.

Tools & Craft #76: One of the Last Federalist Buildings in Manhattan

Core 77 - Thu, 2017-12-07 21:41

I walk by 513 Grand Street fairly often, it's on the way to my cousin's house, and what struck me is that in a city full of older buildings, the style of 513 Grand marks it as one of the oldest.

By today's standards it's a very small house and dates from a time when Manhattan was a very low rise city, full of similar small townhouses that functioned as a home, a business, or both. According to city records it was built between 1827 and 1828, and is one of the few remaining Federalist buildings left in the city. This is the time period when New York was growing, prospering, and furniture makers like Duncan Phyfe were busy defining a New York furniture style. Furniture can be packed up and collect, buildings cannot and on investigation the history of the building is both really interesting, and not at all unusual.

You see what makes this building stand out in my mind is that it's so darn typical. It only survived because at no time did anyone feel like tearing it down. Lower Manhattan has lots of buildings like it and during each building boom they wear a "Kick Me" sign and then they are gone. As far as anybody knows, Neither Washington, Jefferson, or Lincoln ever slept there. All it is is a sort of building that a moderately successful person of early 19th century NY could strive for, which makes it interesting to me at least. After many ups and downs over the years, and conversion to and from a storefront, today the building is a private residence. 

In 2007 the building was up for landmark consideration and consequently a long report was prepared detailing the history of the building and its owners. The report touches on the transition of lower Manhattan from a new English city with farms, to merchant houses, early 19th century New York, records of slavery, and freedom from slavery, as the city and nation grew and matured. It's worth reading, click here: 513_Grand_St_house.pdf.

If you have the urge to take a virtual walk around the area, you can see lots of older buildings in the area. Here is a Google street view, which allows you to roam around it. (Kossar's - which has great bialys is up the block, and if you follow Grand Street west to the Bowery (go right when you are facing the building) you will come to a great series of Chinese food stores which are always mobbed and also some of my wife's favorite food shopping. On your right you will also pass Seward Park HS - where my dad went to school with Bernie Schwartz - later better known as Tony Curtis. Google took the pictures early in the day, when the streets are pretty empty, but go full screen and you get a great tour, later in the day the streets are impassable.


Reader Submitted: An Exploration of Sandstone and Discarded Materials, Resulting in a Stark Collection of Furniture

Core 77 - Thu, 2017-12-07 21:41

A collection of sandstone tables, stools, lamps and trays created after observing the operations of a local, family-owned quarry and resulting from an exploration into alternative outcomes for discarded material.

View the full project here

Design Job: Rock the Boat as Boston Whaler's Senior Designer in Edgewater, FL

Core 77 - Thu, 2017-12-07 21:41

Work in a loose and exciting environment while seeing your ideas come to life. You will generate and develop concepts for Brunswick Boat Group products with a focus on Boston Whaler. Create exciting products through a process that has a strong focus on user centered design through extensive contextual research. You will gain an understanding of how and why people use boats and be able to translate insights, while using your intuition, into industry leading products.

View the full design job here

Worx's JawSaw: An Unusual Twist on the Chainsaw

Core 77 - Thu, 2017-12-07 21:41

The JawSaw by Worx is a very strange-looking chainsaw variant. Take a look at how this thing operates:

It kind of looks like a toy so I wasn't inclined to take it seriously, but it's getting surprisingly good reviews on Amazon.

I'm thinking that if they do another remake of "The Texas Chainsaw Massacre," Worx should pay for product placement.

Want a Han Solo Parka? Columbia is Selling "Empire Strikes Back" Outerwear

Core 77 - Thu, 2017-12-07 21:41

Clothing brand Columbia has licensed the rights to fashion designs from "The Empire Strikes Back" and, starting on Friday, will be selling the following items:

These are limited edition, with the company only producing 1,980 of each (1980 being the year "ESB" came out). Each one costs $400.

"It is TOO eco-friendly. It's not real fur, you stupid droid." "I really want some of that spaghetti, but I don't want to mess up this outfit." "I know this base like the back of my hand. My right hand, which I will always have."


Japanese House With an Anti-Seismic, Climbable Bookshelf

Core 77 - Thu, 2017-12-07 21:41

Earthquakes in Japan are common enough that when I lived there, I saw that most folks had braces between the top of their bookshelves and the ceiling. These were basically spring-loaded closet rods placed vertically that prevented the unit from tipping forward, but did nothing to prevent the books themselves from shaking out of the shelves.

Japanese architect Shinsuke Fujii has designed a house with a built-in bookcase that is tilted, keeping the books in place during quakes. It is also floor-to-ceiling and climbable, as the shelves protrude.

As you can see from this exterior shot, the house was designed with this feature in mind.


Machine Control Logic Design in 3 Basic Steps

Design News - Thu, 2017-12-07 03:51

Automation continues to push Industry 4.0 with various sensor and embedded technologies. In an industrial panel, the machine controls are designed to perform specific work. The operation of machines includes analog, digital, and motion control capabilities. The machine controls must operate with full functionality as designed. To design machine controls for such industrial applications as parts transfer, material handling, and processing a design process must be established. To develop these industry systems, a design methodology is required.  Three basic design methodology sections required in developing machine controls consists of control signals, decision, and action.

 

The logic control for industrial machines can be divided into three basic sections. (Source: Don Wilcher)

 

Control Signal

The control signal initiates the machine control operation through a set of electromechanical contacts or repetitive electronic switching. The target control device such as an electromechanical relay, solenoid, or visual-audible annunciator will be activated by control signals. If the electromechanical or electronic switching device is not active, the control signal will not energize the target electromechanical or electronic load. The machine controls specification will provide the type of electromechanical or electronic switching device to use for the desired control signal.

Examples of control signal devices consist of the following electromechanical or electronic components:

  • pushbutton switches
  • limit switches
  • flow switches
  • temperature switches
  • photoswitches
  • HMI panels
  • proximity switches

Decision Section

The work to be done by the machine control is achieved by decisions. The heart of the decision section is a core digital processing system. A digital processing system can be divided into two subsections: data paths and control logic. The digital paths include arithmetic and data movement circuits like basic adders and shift registers. The control logic provides timing signals to orchestrate proper sequences for correct machine operation. The decisions are accomplished by a central processing unit. In the early days of programmable machine controls a microprocessor was used. Today, FPGAs, PSoCs, or ARM-Cortex based microcontrollers can perform decision processing activities efficiently and rapidly. Arithmetic, sequencing, low level logic, and control operations are typical decision activities carried out in the machine controls programmable processor. Combinational circuits using basic logic gates like AND, OR, NOT, NAND, NOR, and EXOR perform low level decisions for the target machine control. These low- level gates can be implemented using FPGAs or PSoCs.

The decision section receives control signals from the electromechanical or electronic switching device. The electrical information will be in an analog or digital format in which the decision section will process. An appropriate output signal is provided that will drive a specific machine control action. The decision functions are traditionally coded in a high-level language such as C, C++, or a graphical format consisting of a ladder logic program. The actual decision parameters will be provided in the machine controls’ functional specification.

 

The CPU performs the decision activity for industrial machine controls. Programmable ICs like microcontrollers or FPGAs can provide central processing of control signals generated by electrical-electronic input devices. (Source: Don Wilcher)

Action

After the decision section processing logic functions have been specified in a software requirements specification, the output action function needs to be specified. The action is traditionally physical either providing motion, visual, or audible function. The action directs the motion, visual, or audible effects of the machine control. Motors, solenoids, LED pilot lamps, LCD displays, and electronic annunciators are examples of electromechanical and electronic action components used for output machine control functions. The CPU’s output control data can be sent to electromechanical or electronic actuators hardwired to an industrial machine control panel using traditional MC (machine control) wire. Another alternative to MC wire is AS-Interface (Actuator Sensor) which is a simple two-wire network. AS-interface is a wiring replacement that connects electromechanical or electronic actuators to a CPU-based industrial machine control panel by a digital communication protocol.

 

AS-Interface based machine controllers can replace traditional MC wire that direct the actions of such electromechanical actuators like solenoids and motors. (Source: Siemens)

 

Electromechanical relays and solid-state drives operate based on the machine controls’ direct- action capability. Partitioning your machine control designs into these three basic sections will allow industrial systems to be designed effectively. Testing and troubleshooting industrial systems can also be performed using this basic design methodology, as well.

This design method presented will serve as a template for future automation and machine control applications. Additional information on electromechanical and industrial solid-state devices can be found in the Electrical Motor Controls for Integrated Systems fifth addition textbook. AS-Interface protocol can be found on the Siemens website.

Don Wilcher is a passionate teacher of electronics technology and an electrical engineer with 26 years of industrial experience. He’s worked on industrial robotics systems, automotive electronic modules/systems, and embedded wireless controls for small consumer appliances. He’s also a book author, writing DIY project books on electronics and robotics technologies. Besides being an Electrical Engineer, he’s a Certified Electronics Technician with ETA International and Alabama State Certified Electronics Instructor.

DoE Identifies Material as Fastest Solid-State Conductor for Magnesium Battery

Design News - Thu, 2017-12-07 02:28

Magnesium batteries are one of the energy-storage chemistries in line to replace lithium-ion batteries, which are eco-unfriendly and can even be dangerous. However, to date magnesium batteries have had a number of limitations to being suitable to the task.

 

Now researchers at the Department of Energy (DoE) have made a significant breakthrough in developing solid-state magnesium-ion batteries that are both energy dense and safe by discovering the fastest magnesium-ion solid-state conductor to date, researchers said.

 

Commercial batteries use liquid electrolytes—the reason for the flammability in lithium-ion batteries that has resulted in fires and explosions. However, solid-state conductors—which potentially can be electrolytes—tend to be more fire resistant.

 

Using something like this instead of an electrolyte is a good fit for magnesium batteries, which is so new, “it doesn’t have any good liquid electrolytes,” said Gerbrand Ceder, a senior faculty scientist at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory who worked on the project alongside researchers at Argonne National Laboratory and MIT. “We thought, why not leapfrog and make a solid-state electrolyte?”

Researchers identified magnesium scandium selenide spinel as the material for a new class of solid conductors that researchers said can transport magnesium at unprecedented speeds. They used a combination of computational materials, science methodologies, synthesis, and a variety of characterization techniques to identify the material, which has magnesium mobility.

Researchers published a paper about their work in the journal Nature Communications.

 

Argonne scientist Baris Key (left) at work in his nuclear magnetic resonance lab. Key worked with researchers at Berkeley Lab on the discovery of the fastest-ever magnesium-ion solid-state conductor. (Source: Argonne National Laboratory)

 

Key to proving that magnesium ions could move through magnesium scandium selenide spinel as rapidly as theoretical studies had predicted was conducting what are called nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) spectroscopy experiments. This was the job of paper co-author Baris Key, a research chemist at Argonne.

He said that the tests—which were among the first experiments to prove the theoretical research—were crucial to confirm that what scientists surmised was indeed true.

“It is not often that the theory and the experiment agree closely with each other,” Key said. “The solid state NMR experiments for this chemistry were very challenging. … As we’ve shown in this study, an in-depth understanding of short- and long-range structure and ion dynamics will be the key for magnesium ion battery research.”

NMR is similar to magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), but instead of showing hydrogen atoms of water in biological substances, it is tuned to detect other elements--including the lithium or magnesium ions that are found in battery materials.

However, though the experiments proved the speed at which ions move through it, other results were inconclusive due to the unknown structure of a material with complex properties, Key said.

The team plans to do further work to use the conductor in a battery, although researchers acknowledged that it will be quite awhile before this application is ready for prime time. However, it does prove what scientists did not think was possible—that magnesium could move quickly through a solid material, they said.

Elizabeth Montalbano is a freelance writer who has written about technology and culture for more than 15 years.

 

 

UBM Announces the 2017 Annual Creativity in Electronics Awards Winners

Design News - Wed, 2017-12-06 22:58

Winners of the 2017 Annual Creativity in Electronics (ACE) Awards were announced during a live ceremony held at the San Jose Convention Center, in conjunction with Embedded Systems Conference (ESC) Silicon Valley.

Twenty leading organizations and individuals, including Ajay Bhatt, co-creator of USB, received accolades for their trending new products and accomplishments, as well as several other awards, including company of the year, executive of the year, design team of the year, IoT product of the year, and the Tomorrow’s Reality Award.

Ajay Bhatt, co-creator of USB, received the Lifetime Achievement Award during last night's ACE Awards ceremony.

“We are honored to recognize some of the brightest minds in the electronics industry for their impeccable achievements at the 2017 ACE Awards,” said Nina Brown, vice president of events, UBM. “This is an industry that is continually on the cutting-edge of innovation and we are thrilled to have the opportunity to fully identify the impact that they are having on the world.”

The 2017 ACE Award winners are:

Company of the Year: Achronix Semiconductor Corporation 

Executive of the Year: Sam Heidari - Quantenna

Design Team of the Year: NEO Tech - NEO Tech Design Services 

Internet of Things Product of the Year: Analog Devices - SmartMesh IP with Virtual Manager 

Tomorrow's Reality: Bedrock Automation - Bedrock Open Secure Automation System with Cybershield 2.0

Ultimate Products Category Winners:

Analog ICs: Analog Devices - LTC2947 

Automotive: Maxim Integrated - MAX2175 Remote Tuner Solution 

Development Kits: Nordic Semiconductor - Nordic Thingy:52 

LEDs and Lighting: OSRAM Opto Semiconductors - IR OSLON - SFH 4735

Logic/Interface/Memory: Marvell Technology Group - Marvell 88NV1160 DRAM-less SSD controller 

Passive, Interconnects and Electromechanical: Vishay Intertechnology - T59 Polymer Surface-Mount Chip Capacitors 

Power: Maxwell Technologies - Maxwell Technologies Generator Starting Solutions (GSS) 

Processors (CPUs, MPUs, MCUs, SoC, FPGAs): Cypress Semiconductor Corp. – PsoC 6 

Sensors: Texas Instruments - mmWave 

Software: Jungo Connectivity Ltd. - CoDriver

Test and Measurement Systems and Boards: Tektronix - 5 Series MSO

Wireless/RF: Maja Systems - 60Ghz CMOS Single Chip Transceiver 

In addition, the ACE Awards also honored Ajay Bhatt, former chief architect at Intel and co-creator of USB, with the Lifetime Achievement Award; and Daniel Beeker, principal engineer, NXP Semiconductor, with the first-ever ESC Speaker of the Year Award. The Jim Williams Innovation and Education Award, which is presented to an engineer who has made substantial contributions to the advancement of knowledge in the field of engineering and design by publishing his or her own technical articles, speaking at industry events, or otherwise sharing experience that adds to the growth of engineering, was presented to Jacob Beningo, embedded software consultant, Beningo Embedded Group.

Congratulations to all of our winners!

 

Nike's Bras & Innovation Design Director Nicole Rendone Shares Her "Active Gifts for Active Women" Ultimate Gift Guide

Core 77 - Wed, 2017-12-06 21:40

Nicole Rendone is the Design Director for Nike Bras & Innovation with more than?12?years of experience designing bras, underwear, swimwear and intimate apparel innovation. A graduate of the Fashion Institute of Technology in Fashion Design; Intimate Apparel, Rendone works closely with designers and innovators within the Nike Innovation Team as well as engineering teams to create new, performance solutions for the most important sporting garment for women. A strong believer that the right bra can change a woman’s life, she is spearheading?Nike bra design to empower women to break barriers with confidence in both sport and in life.

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Reader Submitted: A Log Splitting Device Designed for... Children?

Core 77 - Wed, 2017-12-06 21:40

For my honors research in Integrated Product Design at the University of Technology Sydney, I designed an interactive log splitting device intended for children to use in daycare centers. The machine explores the child developmental theory of risky play through harnessing mechanical principles, cause and effect and mimicry.

'Stop That!' 'Watch out!' 'Be Careful!'

These phrases are pervasive among modern parents. Increasingly, however, research shows children benefit from risky play, and over-protection can be counterproductive. Risky play is the combination of fear and exhilaration. It permits children to test their boundaries and flirt with uncertainty. Moreover, it offers valuable lessons for life, and for this reason fire pits and other higher risk experiences are being trialled in early child-hood centers around Australia.
Chop is an interactive log splitting device, designed for children, allowing them to contribute to the first step in the fire-making process.

Safety is paramount. The notion of danger is key.

Children work together to rotate a spring loaded axe into a log. The spring compresses, building anticipation and offering a visualization of the force involved. Eventually, the pressure reaches a critical point and as the log begins to split, the spring unloads, shooting into the log, providing an exhilarating reward for the children's hard work.

View the full project here