Recent developments in the way of what MIT research scientist Skylar Tibbits is calling 4D printing have been announced. Because 3D printers are readily available and are increasingly well-understood by the general public, it must be time for something bigger and better. The fourth dimension is a dynamic component that creates a changing structure over time. We are now seeing a possibility that the futuristic wonderland Marty McFly introduced us to may not be far from materialization.
At a 2013 TED conference, Tibbits first presented his idea of “programmable materials that build themselves.” He demonstrated how, with today’s rapidly advancing nanotechnologies, we can “program physical and biological materials to change shape, change properties and even compute outside of silicon-based matter.” The impact that this could have on development at the human scale is vast; and ideas from increasingly diverse industries is just what Tibbits needs in order to keep his Self-Assembly Lab at MIT running at full speed.
Articles released by Wired and the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) over the past two weeks have shown us just where those ideas, in combination with Tibbits’ team’s expertise, can take us. 4D printing uses meticulously constructed layers of material – nearly any material will do – with programmed design to alter their shape using passive energies. Carbitex, a company specializing in the production of flexible carbon fiber, has begun work with printed materials on the fibers that make the fully cured carbon active and reactive to certain energy. Applications in automotive, aerospace, and athletic industries (self-lacing Nikes?) are already in the works, and it is apparent that where we are going, we don’t need complex, expensive, and cumbersome electrical systems to control robotic movement.
It has been an exciting year for local sailor Charlie Enright. His public announcement in January of this year that he, along with friend Mark Towill, would be partnering with young Turkish medical technologies company Alvimedica for a campaign in the 2014-2015 edition of the Volvo Ocean Race earned him a prominent seat in the forefront of sailing media. American sailors and under 30s, along with dark horses of various other shapes and sizes begun to follow team Alvimedica as they set out on their journey to the esteemed race around the world.
With almost half of the crew competing in their first Volvo Ocean Race, onlookers have been eager to watch closely as Charlie and Alvimedica work to tear down the stigma surrounding youth and inexperience. In a recent interview, Charlie told Scuttlebutt, “We are good sailors with an understanding of the skills under our belts, and a reasonable understanding of what is ahead of us. We are positive, hungry for this experience, and willing to learn as we go.”
The in-port race in Alicante, Spain on October 4 bore striking resemblance to any other one-design fleet race. After many lead changes and seriously tight racing all-around, Alvimedica crossed the finish line with a comfortable lead. Sponsors and supporters everywhere breathed a long-awaited sigh of relief as the boys proved that they may, after all, have what it takes to give the old guys a run for their money in this race. You can certainly color me convinced.
Click here to follow the Volvo Ocean Race, as seven teams compete over the next several months on each of the nine legs.
Eric Goetz received the 2014 RIMTA Anchor Award at the organization’s Annual Industry Breakfast on September 13 in Newport, R.I
Peter Van Lancker of Hunt Yachts presented Eric Goetz with his Anchor Award. Van Lancker praised Goetz as an innovator who has built elegant composite structures with precision, accuracy, and engineering skill, and also as someone who has shaped an industry as a teacher and mentor to many in the field.
Eric and the Verissimo crew are less than 100 miles to Bermuda!
Report from on board: “Spirits are good. Looking forward to getting on land and relaxing!!”
Photo Left: Verissimo (sail # 40047) at Start of 2014 Newport to Bermuda Race
Visitors to the Staten Island Children’s Museum, in Staten Island, New York, will learn about renewable energy from a new 2,200 square-foot tensile structure featuring a translucent, photovoltaic fabric roof. Designed by Marpillero Pollak Architects, the exterior pavilion (the Meadow Structure) uses thin photovoltaic strips affixed to its fabric cover to produce electricity.
A rooftop vertical-axis wind turbine also powers an exhibit inside the museum, and a skylight wind scoop passively ventilates the building’s main stairwell.
Goetz built the new wind-scoop skylight, comprising a rotating cowl and a colorful, translucent rotating drum that uses stack-effect air circulation to passively ventilate the building.
Photo credit: Marpillero Pollak Architects
On January 21st, U.S. Senator Sheldon Whitehouse visited our shop in Bristol to hear about the innovative work our company is doing in Rhode Island, and how this work can create jobs in the state. During his visit, we shared our plans for growth and discussed how he can help support the success of Rhode Island’s innovation economy at the federal level. This visit was the first stop in a series that Senator Whitehouse is holding with innovative businesses that are helping to strengthen the state’s economy.
Goetz Composites created a waterproof “Green Box” that could be mounted on deck for the Ocean Going Farmer. Full Story
Photo credit: Nick Halmos