Adding convenience to technology

How easy things will be if out machines could tell us that which part of theirs need a repair. We all use devices and many times, they do not work normally. We often take them to the respective repair shop to know what is wrong. But if the machine could itself speak that my battery is not charging or my adapter needs repair, how easy it would be for us. If not on an extreme level, this though is revolving near possibility. UConn in association with the United Technologies research center has directed the scientists to use additive manufacturing technology and create machines which are smart enough to alert their user about the damage when worn. Polymer-based magnets with geometries intricate enough are opening up the possibility of designs and shapes of manufactured products to be unique.

Three-dimensional printing has proved to be an innovation aloof of its era. It is making use of direct technology to build layer by layer a solid object. It uses a semi-solid ink which resembles a toothpaste in terms of viscosity and is squeezed out of a tube during the printing. 

If the lines created by the printing machine are capable of carrying electric current or act as a sensor to detect the part damaged, it would be a revolutionary discovery. Parallel lines of silver, when coupled with resistors and embedded into a component, would form a circuit. The lines would be able to deal with a specific amount of voltage. When the part constituting this closed chain will get damaged, the circuit will be incomplete and energy will not flow through it. The readings which will be in real time will allow the people to assess the damage without having to encroach upon the whole machine. 

Till now engineers had to open up the whole device to find out the reason behind the problem but with these active microsensors, they will get a better idea of the machine. This technique can be especially beneficial for huge types of machinery like jet turbines engine or its blades. The damage could be identified in less time and will be repaired quickly too. This small change during the manufacturing process can change the concept of designing machinery. Sameh Dardona who is the Director of Research and Innovation at UTRC and serves as the innovative engineer for United technologies Corporation stated that such functions will not only make the devices smarter but will help us improve the performance, minimize the risk of machine failures and save a fine amount of money.    

The UConn-UTRC team has embedded sensor lines of 15*50 microns. This dimension is thinner than that of an average human hair. Developing such a sensor is not easy but this task has been accomplished by our eminent scientists. The university has applied for a patent for the sensor and the technology might soon be used in a full-fledged way.