Rice University demos a process to spray-on batteries. This is Another step towards fully automated fabrication.
It was easy to predict that 3D printing would be able to make electronic parts. The process Rice uses probably doesn’t actually need 3D printing to work but it fits the concept. Multiple layers of different materials are sprayed on a surface to create a battery.
Circuits are already being made using normal 2D printers by varying the thickness of the traces to create resistors and conductors. By using a 2 or 3 different materials the full range of electronic parts could be printed directly into the circuit so a robot could literally print a copy of itself. Stratasys and Optomec have already printed electronics.
The spray-on battery will make it easier to build batteries of different shapes and sizes. It will also make it possible for nearly anyone to make batteries anywhere in the world. This can drastically reduce the real costs in terms of time and materials.
Plugin electric car beats gasoline muscle cars at drag racing. White Zombie set records with simple lead acid batteries.
The fact this car was setting speed records using simple, reliable, cheap, lead acid batteries is the major innovation. The definition of innovation is:
Profitably satisfy unmet desires
Profitably doesn’t necessarily mean money, it means all the desires are better satisfied for everyone involved in delivering the innovation. So far plugin electric cars fail to innovate as normal passenger cars because the range is less than gasoline, diesel, or natural gas cars. Driving very fast for short distances is a way for plugin electrics to innovate. Electric cars have more torque from the start than internal combustion engines, this makes them very fast off the line.
Finding a special use for a new technology is part of the evolution to a new paradigm. In the beginning internal combustion engines had severe limitations but eventually outperformed the previous technology in every way and even made new things possible. Airplanes became possible because of internal combustion engines.
Electric vehicles have a large amount of torque, are quiet, and don’t any toxic exhaust fumes while operating. This makes electric vehicles ideal for use indoors especially hi-lo to move heavy items in a warehouse. Electric vehicles work well indoors because they don’t need to travel far and can be recharged in between uses. This has been how plugin electric vehicles have been used for decades. The other use is for golf carts. Again, a golf cart has limited range and is quiet which is perfect for a golf course.
Mapping the steps from current technology and uses to the replacement and new possibilities reveals the lowest risk, highest profit innovations.