The first thing I do in the morning when I get to work is to put my laptop in the docking station, turn it on, then hang up my coat and put away the laptop bag. When it finally gets to the login screen, I enter my password and hit Enter – then it’s time for getting that coffee and maybe chat to a colleague. It takes what feels like forever to approve my company password, to start up Windows 7 and open up a program or two. And when I click to open Outlook and Word it takes so long that my coffee is at a comfortable drinking temperature at this point.
The articles I’ve read previously on 3D, likens it to such a revolutionary invention that it sounds like it can solve almost any problem, from hearing aids to drones in Afghanistan (D’Aveni, 2015, pp.40-48). I figured, maybe there is some kind of memory that has previously been impossible, because of production methods? Which might now be possible because of this thin, fine, precise robotic production method? And from the choices of material? Quite right, I did find something.
Zarek et al. (2015) has looked into how heat-activated shape memory polymers (SMPs) can be produced today thanks do a 3D printer. SMPs have been of interest for a long time as it might be used places that would otherwise be inaccessible for hardware implementations, such as for example, the human body.
However, the memory polymers have not been used in flexible electronic devices until now because there was no satisfactory way of producing it. By using 3D printers, they believe it should be possible to construct SMPs that could be used for wearable electronics and medical devices. (Zarek et al., 2015)
I can’t wait for this to become a reality. It’s both a bit frightening and exciting at the same time!
What does that have to do with starting up my pc in the morning? D’oh – to use these new memory thingies for squeezing more memory into my increasingly smaller pc and making me less impatient of course! Hopefully, I don’t have to plan my coffee, I can grab a cup whenever and continue working. 😉
D’Aveni, R. (2015) ‘The 3-D Printing Revolution’, Harv.Bus.Rev., 93 (5), Business Source Complete [Online] [Online]. (Accessed: 21.08.2016). pp.40-8.
Zarek, M., Layani, M., Cooperstein, I., Sachyani, E., Cohn, D. and Magdassi, S. (2015) ‘3D Printing of Shape Memory Polymers for Flexible Electronic Devices’, Adv Mater, Wiley Online Library [Online] [Online]. (Accessed: 21.08.2016).
Image source: Generic CC licence by “Nicola” from Flickr, no amendments to image done: https://flic.kr/p/8Per87