Disney Research Uses Materials Science To Invent Touchscreen Walls With Conductive Paint

Materials science is a somewhat quiet revolution. Many of the biggest and most valuable inventions have been fueled by materials science innovations over decades. From the foundational computer chip (made from silicon material, of course) to clusters of supercomputers at the Materials Project, research teams are now doing analysis and predictions of how materials can be combined in the most efficient way possible.

A practical outcome of this sort of advanced materials research is a project between Carnegie Mellon University and Disney Research – that has found a way to change the wall in your home or apartment into a touchscreen interface.

According to the researchers, “the technique involves using water-based nickel conductive paint to create an electrode pattern (a diamond arrangement) suited to capacitive and proximity (electromagnetic) EM sensing. The pattern is then overpainted with latex paint. Each row and column is then connected to a sensor board based on a 96 MHz Cortex M4 running Teensy 3.2 firmware and piped to a laptop for visualization.”

In a nutshell, you could touch the wall to turn on a light – or the electromagnetic sensing would note your presence, your gestures, or your motion to perform an action – much like smart device users are starting to use the Amazon Echo to turn on a light or adjust the air conditioning with a voice command.

Importance to Materials Science Technician Education

The researchers call their system “Wall++” and believe that you could run a light switch or thermostat or other controllers from the wall itself. These materials science research projects are likely to create entire new categories of jobs for people to install, maintain, and service these advanced systems.

For more ideas or direction about advanced materials science technician training in the real world, check out the Nano-Link Regional Center for Nanotechnology Education, a National Science Foundation Advanced Technological Education program, that provides information on nano-tech and nano-materials. One of their industry affiliate partners is the National Nanotechnology Coordinated Infrastructure (NNCI) which lists labs, tools, and experts.

Materials science may not be in the daily news, but it is consistently making headlines. A bright future is ahead for advanced materials and the technicians who want to be part of it.

Resources:

Hat tip to Peter Diamandis, profiled here in the AM News post, Materials Science and Additive Manufacturing Technology Convergence, in one of his recent email newsletters, shared an article link about the Disney Research work. The newsletter summary linked to this article at The Register: Turn that bachelor pad into a touch pad: Now you can paint buttons, sensors on your walls.

Here is the link to the Materials Project site mentioned above.

University of Louisville Offers Additive Manufacturing Safety Training

The University of Louisville is an active member of the TEAMM Network and recently announced they have added an Additive Manufacturing (AM) Safety Workshop, conducted through their Rapid Prototyping Center, run by Ed Tackett, Director of Educational Programs in AM.

The new program is called the “AM Metals Safety Training Workshop” and is an advanced training for AM professionals. It is a one-day session (8 contact hours) held at the Additive Manufacturing Competency Center (AMCC).

The AMCC is a fully equipped learning laboratory that includes the latest AM technologies, machining, metrology and powder handling systems. Metals additive manufacturing requires an increased environmental health and safety effort. This new workshop is designed to help new users identify hazards, reference appropriate regulations and develop a mitigation strategy. Learn more about the AM Metals Safety workshop.

This workshop is designed to benefit supervisors, lead workers, managers, employers, and anyone responsible for the safety and health of employees and labs. The workshop covers various types of standard machinery, machine safeguards, and related regulations and procedures for metals additive manufacturing.

In an Additive Manufacturing magazine post by Christina M. Fuges, there is a good interview on safety with Ed Tackett. He shares a story about companies not realizing they have major safety risks with AM:

There’s recognition of the need to be safe, but the real question is what does it take? AMCC seeks to ensure students know the risks specific to AM and how to mitigate those risks. Believe it or not, companies are not being safe. We had a group come in for training, and after the initial day’s safety lecture, they immediately called their company to shut down the AM lab. They had no idea some of these dangers existed.

The AM Metals Safety Training Workshop was created to help reduce these risks and get new and experienced technicians up to speed on the safety needs with advanced metals 3D printing.  TEAMM is a strong proponent for materials/workplace safety and believes this class is a trendsetter in AM lab standards.  As new materials are developed and 3D printers are increasingly capable of utilizing multiple materials, it is imperative that technicians understand these materials’ properties both individually and as they are combined during the AM process. Learn more about the AM Metals Safety workshop.

Student Learning Outcomes

By the end of this training workshop, students will be able to:

identify safety issues for a metals additive manufacturing facility.

  • interpret the various safety regulations and apply that knowledge to their specific situation
  • formulate a site specific safety plan

Workshop topics include:

Personal Protection

  • Job Hazard Analysis
  • General PPE
  • Hazard Specific PPE
  • Gloves
  • Protective Suits
  • Respirators
  • Flame resistant PPE
  • ESD Considerations

Facility Safety

  • Powder Descriptions
  • Powder Storage
  • Waste Storage
  • Electrostatic Safety
  • Inert Gas Monitoring
  • Laser Safety
  • Downdraft Tables
  • Fire Suppression
  • Industrial Hygiene

Operational Safety

  • Wet separator vacuum maintenance
  • Increased Hazard Events
  • Hydrogen production
  • Filter Changes

Current Regulations (Discussion)

  • OSHA
  • NFPA
  • EPA

SAMPLE standard operating procedures (SOP’s)

  • General Safety Concepts for Additive Manufacturing
  • Storage of Metal Powder
  • Handling of Metal Powder
  • Cleanup of Spilled Metal Powder
  • Disposal of Metal Waste Powder
  • Emergency Response for Fire Involving Metal Powder
  • Use, Storage, and Care of PPE
  • Use and Handling of Compressed Gas

Worth mentioning, under the banner of educating  technicians and instructors, UofL also conducted one of the AM-WATCH teacher training workshops that AM News reported on: TEAMM Network Member Creates Additive Manufacturing Studio. You can check out the UofL event details here from their December 2017 workshop.

TEAMM appreciates UofL taking the lead on safety topics in AM technician level education. This work is part of a larger project funded by the Advanced Technological Education Program of the National Science Foundation, DUE #1501251

AeroDef Manufacturing Event Rich in Additive Manufacturing and Materials Science

AeroDef Manufacturing, produced by SME, is the leading exposition and technical conference for the aerospace and defense manufacturing industry. It is a veritable who’s who of additive manufacturing and materials science experts and companies.

If you are a student looking for an internship or job, this looks like a great place to network and get ideas for companies you might want to explore. Students get a 50 percent discount. Also, if you are one of the 18,000 people who has been trained by the Abaris Training company, you can get a 20 percent discount (the same as an SME Member) as well. Abaris Training helped to guide the very successful Composites 101 Workshop done here at the National Resource Center for Materials Technology Education (MatEdU) in Edmonds, Washington. Read about it on the SME AdditiveManufacturing.org site: Pilot Composites Workshop Wows Students.

AeroDef is putting a big focus on mixed reality, a combination of virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) this year. Attendees have a chance to be a part of live, participative demonstrations of augmented and virtual reality technologies in the Mixed Reality Solution Center.

TEAMM and AM News have been covering manufacturing and materials science advances utilizing virtual reality. You can read about Dr. Magesh Chandramouli, from Purdue University Northwest, who gave a keynote at last year’s M-STEM event about how VR can be incorporated into the student learning experience. Also, the Edmonds Community College makerspace, The FACILITY, is working on a virtual reality framework for digital manufacturing instruction with its VR Lab.

Starting from design engineering all the way through maintenance and repair, participants can test capabilities and see firsthand the benefits of these technologies. In addition, attendees are encouraged to join the Mixed Reality in Manufacturing panel discussion on Tuesday, March 28 to learn how leading companies are applying the technologies throughout the supply chain.

According to the website: “AeroDef showcases the industry’s most advanced technologies across an innovative floor plan designed to facilitate interaction and business relationships between exhibitors and buyers looking for integrated solutions. Our keynote speakers and panelists come from the highest level of government and business. They come to share their vision of the potential of technology, collaboration and public policy to transform manufacturing – concepts that attendees can actually experience on the exposition floor and in our in-depth conference sessions. It’s the one event that brings together high-concept, integrated solutions and real-world applications.”

Explore innovative advances in processes and materials:

  • Digital Manufacturing
  • Additive Manufacturing & 3D Technologies
  • Composites
  • Precision Machining
  • Automation & Robotics
  • Quality, Measurement & Inspection
  • Simulation
  • Finishing & Coatings
  • Advanced Materials

You can learn more about SME’s AeroDef Manufacturing conference that starts March 26, 2018 here.

 

TEAMM Network Member Profile: Nano-Link at Dakota County Technical College

Some facts are too big to comprehend: A trillion dollars of US debt. While some are tiny and just as difficult: A sheet of paper is 100,000 nanometers thick. Human hair is 80,000 nanometers wide. And a strand of human DNA is a mere 2.5 nanometers in diameter. Nano-Link, supported by a grant from the National Science Foundation, focuses on these tiniest of atoms and molecules, but it has a big vision.

Forecasts of nanotechnology workforce needs cite 500,000 nanotechnology technicians needed by 2020. As an Advanced Technological Education (ATE) Regional Center, Nano-Link, is tasked with growing both an industry and an education network to help meet these workforce needs, according to the website.

Watch Deb Newberry, former Principal Investigator for the Nano-Link project, explain the vision for nanotechnology for today’s students.

Nanotechnology covers subjects from physics and chemistry to emerging technologies such as photonics and biotechnology. It looks at market segments that go beyond the traditional electronics and materials industries, to encompass segments as diversified as lubricants, paper manufacturing, cellulose, energy, consumer products and the food industry.

Nano-Link began in 2008 at Dakota County Technical College creating a NanoScience 2-year Degree. With 10 years under their belt, the program continues to provide nanoscience course content to colleges: The Nano-Infusion Program (NIP) provides hands-on training, specialized modules that they offer at your location, at no cost to you. These products and services are for use in the (7 – 14) classroom or boardroom.

According to the website, the Nano-Link goals include:

  • Create a nationwide alliance of institutions that are the pipeline for the nanotechnology workforce.
  • Develop alliance faculty capacity to interface with industry, correlate industry-needed skills with program or course competencies and outcomes, and develop continuing relationships responsive to the changing technology environment.
  • Prepare students for the nanoscience and emerging technologies workforce.
  • Create a consortium of secondary educators that are masters in nanoscience education to engage students, including URMs.
  • Industry organizations and representatives are an integral part of the Nano-Link National Center.

Nano-Link has successfully advanced nanotechnology across nine colleges and two high schools. As they train the trainers, the program continues to grow and expand, proving that even the tiniest of molecules can make a difference.

Additional Resources: If you are looking for Core Competencies (performance indicators), the National Resource Center for Materials Technology Education offers a range of them. It specifically has a downloadable PDF for Nanotechnology Core Competencies.

According to the MatEdU website on Core competencies: “[they] provide a set of performance indicators that technicians, scientists, engineers, educators and technologists need to know in today’s advanced manufacturing environment to be able to accomplish in their work.”

Materials In Stem November Workshop in Virginia

For over 30 years, M-STEM, also known as The Materials in STEM Workshop, has been bringing together students, faculty, and industry to show how materials science serves as a way to explore and understand STEM education methods.

Next month, at Thomas Nelson Community College in Hampton, Virginia, M-STEM will share a wide range of hands-on experiments, demonstrations, in addition to keynotes from a NASA scientist and the founder of a successful STEM guitar building program, during its two day professional development workshop on November 6 and 7, 2017.

If you have attended other workshops where the program is mostly presenters talking at you, M-STEM promises that the hands-on sessions are not your average program. Here are a few of the unique sessions meant to jumpstart your STEM classes back home:

  • The Toothpick Factory
  • Teachers with Torches
  • Engineering Water Rockets

Sponsored by The National Resource Center for Materials Science Technology Education (MatEdU), Thomas Nelson Community College and Edmonds Community College, M-STEM strives to help faculty to create ways to engage students so that they understand Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) principles, especially relating to materials science. The program is ideal for secondary and post secondary faculty.

Intensives are a unique opportunity to accomplish a new skill through a more comprehensive full-day training format.  Pick one intensive and stay with it throughout the day:

  • Solids: The Science of Stuff
  • Additive Manufacturing (aka 3D Printing)
  • Unmanned Aircraft Systems

You can register here on the MaterialsInStem.org website.

Sponsors:  MatEdU National Resource Center, Thomas Nelson Community College, Nano-Link Center for Nanotechnology Education, Critical Materials Institute, Virginia Space Grant Consortium, Edmonds Community College, NSF, GeoTEd-UAS, and SpaceTEC.