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Nov/Dec 2014
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Scientists at the University of Rochester have used lasers to transform metals into extremely water repellent, or super-hydrophobic, materials without the need for temporary coatings.

Super-hydrophobic materials are desirable for a number of applications, such as rust prevention, anti-icing and sanitation. However, as U of R’s Chunlei Guo explained, most hydrophobic materials rely on chemical coatings.

The winner of the MEMS Executive Congress 2014 Technology Showcase, mCube’s 9-degrees-of-freedom iGyro features a software-based gyroscope that consumes a fifth of the power required by a conventional MEMS-based gyroscope.

By studying the movement and bodies of insects such as ants, Sarah Bergbreiter and her team build tiny, robust, mechanical versions of the creatures, and then they add rockets. Watch Bergbreiter's TED Talk, see their developments in micro-robotics and hear about three ways we might use these robots in the future.

The 4-axis StarCut Tube CNC laser cutter by Rofin is designed for fully-automated cutting of tube and sheet material, especially for medical instruments and implants like stents and other high-precision parts. Frequently, the system allows to combine numerous mechanical machining steps into a single laser processing routine, according to the company.

In order to develop designs for his mechanical suturing device, engineer Alex Berry developed the Form 1+ 3D printer, a high-resolution rapid prototyping tool. Rather than sending 3D models to service bureaus to be printed and waiting two weeks before being able to move forward, he could validate precision and fit within three hours.

Sensofar Medical has developed the Q six, a system for assisted stent inspection designed to simplify and streamline stent assessment and approval. Inspection and quality control of stents is carried out manually by skilled operators with the assistance of conventional optical magnification tools; a process which constitutes the highest cost and is arguably the main bottleneck in stent manufacturing.

In this brief video tutorial, Chris Spadaccini, an engineer with the Industrial Partnerships Office at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in Livermore, Calif., discusses cutting edge micromanufacturing techniques being developed as well as the novel engineered materials the techniques enable.

Robotics researchers from Sandia National Laboratories have developed a small, three-axis sensor that helps monitor fit and movement of prosthetic legs for amputees.

A new process called SmartCleave FI by laser manufacturer Rofin, Plymouth, Mich., utilizes an ultrashort-pulse laser with dedicated properties. The base technology is IP-protected and uses laser filamentation to separate brittle and transparent materials in a high-speed, debris-free, quasi zero-gap process. SmartCleave allows cutting arbitrary shapes, including small radii, in a single pass without taper. The resulting surface finish is basically free of chipping, according to the company.

The Future Interfaces Group at Carnegie Mellon University presents “Skin Buttons,” tiny laser projectors integrated into a smartwatch to render icons on the user’s skin. These icons can be made touch sensitive, significantly expanding the interactive region without increasing device size. We show a proof-of-concept device and demonstrate example applications.