Conveyor Belt 3D Printing Start-Up iFactory3D Completes Funding Round

Two challenges faced by 3D printers are that their build areas are fixed in size (as a result of using a fixed build plate) and that completed parts need to be manually removed from the build plate. One solution to this problem is to use conveyor belt 3D printers which can print objects directly onto a conveyor belt which not only allows for infinitely long objects (in a specific axis), but also allows for automation whereby parts fall off the end of the conveyor (hence allowing for more parts to be printed). Recognising the advantages presented by conveyor belt 3D printers, iFactory3D has recently completed a round of funding to help develop new technologies for such printers. What challenges do 3D printers face, who is iFactory3D, and what specifications does their printer have?

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Hardware Business News


Fox Robotics Closes $20M Funding Round

Image Source – Fox Robotics

We often talk about “holy grail” applications in robotics – those applications which are deemed difficult to solve, and thus require additional invention, investment and time to mature. Tractor-trailer unloading is one of these holy grail applications with many companies having attempted to solve this problem prior and failed. But one company, Fox Robotics, believes that it may have the answer and has recently managed to raise over $20M in funding to help make their solution a reality. What challenges do robotics face in logistics, who are Fox Robotics, and how will their solution help solve these challenges?

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Autonomous Vehicle Startup Argo AI Is Shutting Down

Image Source – Argo AI

Autonomous driving is something that many automotive companies are working tirelessly to achieve, but so far, none have managed to solve the problem. While major automotive companies are actively working in this area, many start-up companies have also formed that frequently receive funding from larger businesses in the hope that they will crack the problem. Unfortunately, Argo AI is one of those start-ups that has now failed and whose technological assets will be absorbed by Ford and Volkswagen. What challenges does autonomous driving present, what did Argo AI do, and why did it fail?

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ISS Partners Weigh Options For Using Commercial Space Stations

Image Source – NASA

The ISS has played a major part in space exploration over the past few decades, having supported countless scientific experiments and demonstrating new technologies. But just like with all hardware, the ISS is starting to age meaning that at some point it will require replacement. However, the international partners responsible for the ISS have begun discussions about whether to utilise commercial space stations and, if so, how to fund such projects. What challenges does the ISS present to agencies such as NASA, how would commercial space stations work, and what advantages would they present over the ISS?

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Foxconn’s iPhone Factory In China — The World’s Largest — Hit By Covid Outbreak

Image Source – Reuters

While the rest of the world continues to live with the COVID virus, China continues to enforce its zero COVID policy which has undoubtedly been highly disruptive to the Chinese economy. In fact, the response to COVID is so drastic that a town experiencing a single COVID case will often undergo a tight lockdown, preventing businesses from operating. Now, Foxconn (who manufacture iPhones for Apple), have been hit by a COVID outbreak which has seen quarantine rules apply. What challenges does China’s zero COVID policy present?

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Hardware Engineering News


Should AI Have The Power To Enforce Laws? Police To Use AI To Identify Bad Drivers

Image Source – Getty Images

Unfortunately, bad drivers are a fact of life, and while the Police do everything they can to identify such drivers, many go unpunished. However, while the number of police officers is limited, cameras and computers are in abundance which raises the question of whether AI could take over some roles in policing. Recently, Police in Devon and Cornwall have announced the use of a new technology that leverages AI to automatically identify those committing driving offences, including using a mobile at the wheel and not using a seatbelt. What challenges does bad driving present, what technology will the police use to fight against this, and should we give AI so much power?

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Tesla Modified? Twitter User Suspects Changing Vehicle Parameters During Tests

Image Source – Tesla

While immoral and often illegal, defeat devices are sometimes deployed by engineers to get around testing facilities (just as Volkswagen about their clean diesel). A recent tweet from an influential Twitter user could have potentially landed Tesla in hot water after it was discovered that the code inside Tesla vehicles contains the location of various vehicle testing grounds. What exactly happened with the tweet, is this the first time something like this has happened, and how can such practices have serious real-world repercussions?

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SoM And SBC Boards Accelerate High-Performance HMI Development With Minimal Resources

Image Source – Renesas

In recent years, the requirements for HMI (Human-Machine Interface) devices have become more sophisticated. Operability, response speed, high-resolution displays, rendering of 3D graphics, etc., must satisfy users who are familiar with smartphone operations. While MCUs have been the favourite amongst engineers, the increasing advances in HMI design are making it more difficult to use traditional MCUs. In this article published by Renesas, learn how System-on-Modules are accelerating the development of HMIs while simultaneously enabling for mass-production and reducing system cost.

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Hardware R&D News


Single Laser And Chip Can Transmit The Whole Internet In Less Than A Second

Image Source – Shutterstock

To help drive internet-related technologies, researchers actively look for new methods to increase download speeds whether it is by increasing cable density, increasing the frequency of light used, or utilising a spread of frequencies. Using a single laser and a single optical chip, researchers were able to transmit 1.8 petabits per second which is the amount of information from all combined internet traffic twice over. What challenges do optical system face, how did the researchers achieve this phenomenal feat of engineering, and is it practical for commercial use?

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Autonomous Dog-Like Robots Will Roam UT Austin As Part of Study

Image Source – Shutterstock

Autonomous robotic systems are still in their infancy and are generally limited to industrial environments. However, if they could be established in public spaces, they could enable numerous applications including shopping assistance, construction workers, police enforcement, and logistics. Recently, the University of Texas at Austin announced a new grant that will see robotic dogs roam around the university to help understand the challenges faced by robotic systems. What challenges do robotic systems generally face, what will the university do, and where could the research lead?

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Open-Source Hardware News


WCH Launches A Sub-10¢ RISC-V Microcontroller, While A $6.90 Dev Board Gets You Started

Image Source – Maker Go

RISC-V processors currently number in the billions around the world, and while they provide numerous advantages for engineers, getting access to RISC-V development boards isn’t exactly the simplest thing as many RISC-V designs are either directly integrated into SoCs or are only available as mainstream processors (and therefore difficult to work with). Now, WCH has recently announced that their CH32V003 RISC-V microcontroller will be integrated into a new development board that will sell for under $10. What challenges does RISC-V face, who are WCH, and when will this development board be available?

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