Moving into the 4th Dimension with 4D-Printing
“…the ability to program physical and biological materials; to change shape, change properties, and even compute outside of silicon based matter.”—Skylar Tibbits, Self-Assembly Lab Director, MIT.
The implications of Skylar Tibbits’ statement are quite frankly, astounding. Imagine buying 3D printed furniture that could assemble itself, or water pipes that could change their properties in the event of temperature-change or natural disaster? 3D Printing appears to be just the start of the revolution. With the recent developments in 4D Printing, the implementation on an industrial scale, and for the supply chain, is intriguing to say the least.
The process works in a similar manner to 3D printing, but more specifically using a printer that can create multi-layered materials. These materials can then be “programed” to take on the desired shape, and then transformative qualities using Auto-desk software.
Although possessing massive potential, and surrounded with much buzz, the technology is still in its infancy. The Self-Assembly Lab Director is currently on the lookout for a manufacturing partner to help further evolve the project.
To read more on this fascinating story, click here.
Have we jumped the gun with the Earth’s natural resources?
Every year, when humanity has devoured more resources, and created more waste than the Earth’s biosphere can safely reabsorb and replace, we celebrate Earth Overshoot Day. It is a somber affair, and no, there is no cake.
The day was created by Andrew Simms, Fellow at the New Economics Foundation. He elaborates in his piece in the Guardian, that we have not had our ecological books in order since the 1970s. Additionally, Earth Overshoot Day has been arriving earlier every year. To give you an idea, the first Earth Overshoot Day occurred on December 29th 1970.
This year it fell on Tuesday, August 20th, 2013.
Simms, using Britain’s government as an example, notes with alarm that within the apparent dichotomy of economic growth and environmental concerns, the ecological consequences will always be an afterthought. It is a problematic concept, yet ultimately economies can always be rebuilt, the planet however cannot.
In search of new resources to supply industries in all sectors, the UK is investing in more extreme methods of energy procurement, such as fracking.
With our finite resources, being just that, finite, perhaps we should heed Simms’ advice, and begin to switch our emphasis more to the utilization of renewable sources of energy. If we do not, we run the risk of encountering an energy supply issue when trying to run our supply chains.
To read more on Earth Overshoot Day click here.
Objection Over-ruled: Companies must comply with Conflict Mineral Rule by May 2014
The legal challenge issued by NAM (The National Association of Manufacturers) and other industry groups, against complying with the Securities and Exchange Commission’s Conflict Mineral Rule has been rejected by the US district court.
The regulation came into fruition, as a means of stopping funding to the violent rebel factions in the Democratic Republic of Congo, who receive their profits from conflict minerals such as tin, tungsten and tantalum. Under the act, companies must disclose whether their supply chains source from conflict minerals. From May 2014, companies must start to file this information with the SEC, and also publish it on their websites.
As it stands however, companies have been slow on the up-take of the new regulations. A study by PwC revealed that 16.7 percent of companies had done nothing in regards to the implementation of the new rule.
Amongst NAM’s and other industry groups’ complaints, were claims that gathering the required information and paperwork was “burdensome”. They did not however challenge the government’s interests in promoting peace and safety in the Democratic Republic of Congo.
To read more, click here.
Have a great weekend!