[FoRK] Robotics, power, autonomous glassbot factories

Stephen Williams sdw at lig.net
Mon Aug 1 00:43:08 PDT 2011

Why isn't the US more serious about getting competitive in robotics?

Foxconn to replace workers with 1 million robots in 3 years
English.news.cn   2011-07-30 01:42:14    FeedbackPrintRSS
SHENZHEN, July 29 (Xinhua) -- Taiwanese technology giant Foxconn will replace some of its workers with 1 million robots in three 
years to cut rising labor expenses and improve efficiency, said Terry Gou, founder and chairman of the company, late Friday.

The robots will be used to do simple and routine work such as spraying, welding and assembling which are now mainly conducted by 
workers, said Gou at a workers' dance party Friday night.

The company currently has 10,000 robots and the number will be increased to 300,000 next year and 1 million in three years, 
according to Gou.

Foxconn, the world's largest maker of computer components which assembles products for Apple, Sony and Nokia, is in the 
spotlight after a string of suicides of workers at its massive Chinese plants, which some blamed on tough working conditions.

The company currently employs 1.2 million people, with about 1 million of them based on the Chinese mainland.

As I said a while ago, harvesting energy from radio is a great way to go for some things:
Scavenging Free Green Power From Radio Waves
July 31, 2011 by Eric Doyle

Working solar-powered glass sintering.  Just a little more automation and some way to get better precision and we'll have 
glassbot factories in the desert.  The precision problem seems easy and obvious: Build a funnel/nozzle mechanism that melts the 
sand into class which is somehow pulled / pushed through a nozzle guide to be precisely deposited on the building model.  A 
ceramic reciprocating piston at the bottom of a melt funnel might work.
Solar-Sinter 3D printer creates glass objects from sun and sand

By Darren Quick

20:56 June 27, 2011
Markus Kayser tests his Solar-Sinter in the Egyptian desert

We've seen a growing number 3D printers that use additive manufacturing technology to form objects one layer at a time, usually 
from resin or ABS plastic. But Markus Kayser, an MA student at the Royal College of Art in London, has created a 3D printer that 
creates 3D objects using two things found in abundance in the desert - sun and sand. As well as being powered by the sun via two 
photovoltaic panels, the Solar-Sinter also focuses the sun's rays to heat sand to its melting point so it then solidifies as 
glass when it cools, allowing the computer controlled device to produce glass objects from 3D computer designs.

     Markus Kayser's cam-driven Solar-Sinter
     Markus Kayser's Solar-Sinter
     A glass bowl produced by the Solar-Sinter
     Markus Kayser's Solar-Sinter

Kayser's inspiration for the Solar-Sinter grew out a previous solar-powered machine he created called the Sun-Cutter. This 
device was a low-energy version of a laser cutter that was also powered by the sun and focused the sun's rays through a glass 
ball lens to 'laser' cut 2D components from 0.4 mm thick plywood, paper or card using a cam-guided system. Kayser says the 
experience of testing the Sun-Cutter in the Egyptian desert led to the idea of the Solar-Sinter.

Whereas many traditional 3D printers use lasers to melt and soften materials, such as resin or plastic powder, until the 
particles adhere to each other in a process known as sintering, Kayser realized he could use the sun's rays in place of a laser 
and silica sand in place of resin or plastic powder to create 3D glass objects.

Kayser first tested a manually-operated solar-sintering machine in the Moroccan desert in February, 2011, and, encouraged by the 
results, developed a larger and fully-automated computer driven version that he took to the Sahara Desert near Siwa, Egypt for a 
two week testing period in May.

That device consists of a large Fresnel lens that focuses the sun's rays to a focal point onto a platform holding the silica 
sand. Two photovoltaic panels power a sun tracker that keeps the focal point on target. When one layer is completed, the 
platform drops down to allow for the sintering of the next layer, and so on until the object is completed.

Kayser says the results of those first experiments, which can be seen in the video below, "represent the initial significant 
steps towards what I envisage as a new solar-powered production tool of great potential."

The Solar-Sinter is also on show at the 2011 Royal College of Art graduate exhibition currently running until July 3, 2011.

More information about the FoRK mailing list