Author Archives: Gan Hwee Chin, Alexis

About Gan Hwee Chin, Alexis


Unleashed The Buccaneer: Affordable 3D Printer

A Singapore based start-up, Pirate3d. recently announced its solution to affordable and consumer 3D printing, the Buccaneer, at $347!
According to them, practically anyone could use the printer without an in-depth 3D design knowledge, the printer comes with a fully calibrated software and you could even use smartphones apps to send your design via cloud server. All you do is change the cartridge!

Watch the video below about the latest buzz in town, “The Buccaneer”!

Here’s what they claimed about the printer (taken from their website)

Built to be intuitive, the Buccaneer™ comes fully assembled and calibrated. The result is the fastest set up time you will ever get with a 3D printer so you have time to enjoy the things that matter.

Easily personalize your creations for your friends with the innovative Smart Objects™. Say goodbye to weeks of learning how to use 3D design software; spend more time creating and sharing, and less time pulling your hair.”

Also known as additive manufacturing, 3D printing technology has garnered much interests and buzz, due to its limitless potential. Among the potential applications would be in healthcare & biomedical , with the latest breakthrough for restorative breast implant by researchers in El Paso; using biodegradable hydrogel as the base material and a HP Deskjet 340 printer.

With the mergers of Stratasys and Makerbot, two largest 3D printing experts, we could look forward to  more choices in the market soon, at an affordable rate.

Strange but true : Cockroaches lose sweet tooth to survive!

Image taken  from R&D magazine

Image taken from R&D magazine

Could the evolutionary prowess of cockroaches survive til the end of Earth ? It is a common joke that roaches are so resilient that they are the ‘unbeatable species’ , they might even last if there is a nuclear war!
So, it isn’t surprising when scientists reported in Science journal last week about roaches outgrowing their love for sweets found in the bait!

Ayako Wada-Katsumata, and his team found that some mutant German cockroaches’s brain sent out signal to stay away from the syrup and other high sugar content baits found in household pest control. These might be one of the reason why normal baits don’t work anymore.

“In normal cockroaches, glucose excites neurons that tell the brain “Sweet!” In the mutant insects, glucose activates neurons that say “Sweet!” and ones that say “Yuck!” The “Yuck!” neurons dampen the signal from the others, so the brain gets the message the taste is awful. This unusual nerve activity appeared in glucose-hating cockroaches collected from Puerto Rico as well as descendants of the Florida insects.”

[excerpt from R&D mag :]

Biomass to biofuels : strategies for global industries

Biomass to biofuels : strategies for global industries
By Vertes, Alain, A.
TP339.B615bs, Lee Wee Nam Library
Focusing on the key challenges that still impede the realization of the billion-ton renewable fuels vision, this book integrates technological development and business development rationales to highlight the key technological.developments that are necessary to industrialize biofuels on a global scale. Technological issues addressed in this work include fermentation and downstream processing technologies, as compared to current industrial practice and process economics. Business issues that provide the lens through which the technological review is performed span the entire biofuel value chain, from financial mechanisms to fund biotechnology start-ups in the biofuel arena up to large green field manufacturing projects, to raw material farming, collection and transport to the bioconversion plant, manufacturing, product recovery, storage, and transport to the point of sale. Emphasis has been placed throughout the book on providing a global view that takes into account the intrinsic characteristics of various biofuels markets from Brazil, the EU, the US, or Japan, to emerging economies as agricultural development and biofuel development appear undissociably linked.. [As taken from Syndetics]

Optical biomimetics : materials and applications

Optical biomimetics : materials and applications
By Large, Maryanne.
QD924.P62, Lee Wee Nam Library
Optical biomimetics, the study of natural systems to inspire novel solutions to problems in optical technologies, is attracting increasing interest. Many optical systems in nature have been refined over millions of years, and they can often provide insights into better designs, or inspirations into new approaches. Optical biomimetics provides and reviews key research in this area, focusing on the characterisation of optical effects in nature, and showing how they can be applied in new technologies. [As taken from Syndetics]

Faster mechanism from natural gas to energy, capture CO2

Power generation from natural gas is expected to be more efficient, up to 70 times faster than usual methods with the discovery of a new catalyst using iron oxide and mixed conductive support. The discovery by chemical engineers from North Carolina State University (NCSU), US, could also effectively capture carbon dioxide, CO2.

Chemical looping, is a process in which a solid, oxygen rich material, also known as an “oxygen carrier”—is put in contact with natural gas. The oxygen atoms in the oxygen carrier interact with the natural gas, causing combustion that produces energy.

Read full article at The Chemical Engineer Today (TCE) here.