Advanced Materials & Processes

FEB 2015

Covers developments in engineering materials selection, processing, fabrication, testing/characterization, materials engineering trends, and emerging technologies, industrial and consumer applications, as well as business and management trends

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STRESS RELIEF ShapE-ShIFTIng papER hoLdS pRomISE FoR packagIng A student at The University of British Columbia, Canada, is developing self-folding paper that transforms into multidimensional figures when heated. The technology can be used for everything from origami-like decorations to sustainable packaging and insulation. A comput- er program is used to make small cuts and creases in a sheet of paper. A special thermoplastic polymer is then attached to pre-cut and pre-creased paper and heated to about 110°C for 10 to 20 seconds. As the polymers heat up, they shrink and lift the paper into various angles, turning it into a 3D shape. When paper is folded into 3D structures, it is light and strong, and inexpensive to make. It is also easy to transport and has less environmental impact than other materials. Com- pared to plastic, less energy is used to make self-folding paper. One day it could be used for noise and heat insulation, toys, folding beds, step stools, and even mattresses, although the most promising application is packaging. www.ubc.ca. BEER BREwIng waSTE makES BIomaTERIaLS FoR BonES Researchers from the Centre for Biomedical Technology of Universidad Politécnica de Madrid (UPM), the Institute of Materials Science, and the Institute of Catalysis and Petro- chemistry of Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Científicas (CSIC), in collaboration with the Mahou and Createch Co., all in Spain, developed biocompatible materials to support bone regeneration from the food industry—mainly bagasse (residue) from beer brewing. The new materials are an alternative to prosthesis made from processed sheep bones or synthetic materials. www.upm.es. A biomaterial used as a matrix for bone regeneration was made from a 1-cm-high porous block obtained from the beer bagasse treatment. Courtesy of CSIC. BIRdSnap: a nEw app FoR BIRdwaTchERS Columbia University, N.Y., researchers developed Birdsnap, a smartphone app that uses computer vision and machine-learning techniques to produce an electronic field guide featuring 500 of the most common North American bird species. Birdsnap, which enables users to identify bird species through upload- ed photos, is linked to a website that includes about 50,000 images. Birdsnap also features birdcalls for each species, and offers users several ways to orga- nize species. "Our goal is to use computer vision and artificial intelligence to create a digital field guide that will help people learn to recognize birds," says Professor Peter Belhumeur. Birdsnap works like facial-recognition technologies in that it detects parts of a bird so it can examine the visual similarity of comparable parts. The app auto- matically finds visually similar species and makes suggestions about how they can be distinguished. "What's really exciting about Birdsnap is that not only does it do well at identifying species, it can also identify which parts of the bird the algorithm uses to identify each species," says Belhumeur. columbia.edu. Birdsnap provides access to an electronic field guide to 500 of the most common North American bird species. Self-folding lamp. Courtesy of Martin Dee. A D V A N C E D M A T E R I A L S & P R O C E S S E S | F E B R U A R Y 2 0 1 5 6 2

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