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MIT Solar Cells are as Light as a Soap Bubble


Researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology have developed a solar cell so thin that it can rest on top of a soap bubble without popping it. Though it is years away from being commercially viable, the development shows a new approach to making solar cells that could help power the next generation of portable electronics. The new process is described in a paper by MIT professor Vladimir Bulovic, research scientist Annie Wang, and doctoral student Joel Jean, in the journal Organic Electronics. Full Article

It’s Alive! Wake Forest Bioprints Living Ear, Bone, Muscle

Edited by Senior Editor Michael Anderson


They said they’d do it and now they have. In the cover story of SME’s Medical Manufacturing 2015 yearbook, Anthony Atala and James Yoo of Wake Forest Institute for Regenerative Medicine (WFIRM; Winston-Salem, NC) described the process by which they hoped to bioprint living-tissue structures with a custom-designed 3D printer ( Full Article

Thought Leaders to Convene at NAMRC 44

Steven R. Schmid, PhD, CMfgE, PE2015–16 President, North American Manufacturing Research Institution of SME


During the week of June 27, researchers, educators, practitioners and thought leaders from around the world will congregate in Blacksburg, VA, for the largest annual manufacturing research conference in North America. Now in its 44th year, SME’s North American Manufacturing Research Conference (NAMRC), which is organized by the North American Manufacturing Research Institution of SME (NAMRI/SME), is a vital part of the organization with its important role in advancing the scientific foundation of discrete-parts manufacturing. Full Article

Micro Air Vehicles Go Batty for Biomimicry

Edited by Senior Editor Michael Anderson


As materials improve, the kinds of natural structures that can be adapted to human use expand. For example: Bat-inspired innovative membrane wings that work like artificial muscles have been successfully tested in-flight, paving the way for a new breed of unmanned Micro Air Vehicles (MAVs) that have improved aerodynamic properties, can fly over long distances and are more economical to run. Full Article

Nano-Shells Teach Bone how to Repair Itself

Edited by Senior Editor Michael Anderson


Scientists at the University of Michigan (Ann Arbor, MI) have developed a polymer sphere that delivers a molecule to bone wounds that tells cells already at the injury site to repair the damage.Using the polymer sphere to introduce the microRNA molecule into cells elevates the job of existing cells to that of injury repair by instructing the cells’ healing and bone-building mechanisms to switch on, said Peter Ma, professor of dentistry and lead researcher on the project. Full Article

NASA Fired Up Over 3D-Printed Engine Components

Edited by Senior Editor Michael C. Anderson


A NASA team is fired up about getting closer to building a completely 3D-printed, high-performance rocket engine. They demonstrated this in December by assembling additive-made complex engine parts and firing them up with cryogenic liquid hydrogen and oxygen to produce 20,000 pounds of thrust. Full Article

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