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Detroit 12 Manufacturing Video

Manufacturing’s Future and the Impact on Jobs

Daniel Howes, associate business editor of The Detroit News, moderates this session from Techonomy Detroit about how the technologization of manufacturing can create new jobs instead of killing them. Speakers include Amar Hanspal of Autodesk, PARC CEO Stephen Hoover, and Lou Rassey of McKinsey & Company.   More

Energy & Green Tech Manufacturing

Will the Car of the Future Be Printable?

We've already seen 3D-printed guitars, motorcycles, and even stem cells. Is 3D printing ready to disrupt the auto industry? It could happen sooner than you think. The Urbee 2, a lightweight three-wheeled, two-passenger vehicle designed to be constructed from 3D-printed materials, is the brainchild of engineer Jim Kor. Using ABS plastic and Fused Deposition Modeling (FDM)—an automated, additive process that prints all of the car's parts in about 2,500 hours—Kor and his team have created a prototype at the on-demand 3D-printing facility RedEye.   More

Manufacturing

3Doodler Turns Sketches into 3D Objects

The 3Doodler, a new 3D printing pen from the toy and robotics company WobbleWorks, lets users transform sketches into three-dimensional objects. The pen, currently in development thanks in part to a successful Kickstarter campaign, emits ABS plastic instead of ink. Once plugged in, the device lets you draw on a surface and peel away the plastic after it cools and solidifies. You can then build on an framework by drawing three-dimensional designs in the air. The company has demonstrated the pen by creating jewelry, fridge magnets, and a mini Eiffel Tower. If the 3Doodler delivers as advertised, back-of-napkin sketches will soon turn into impromptu prototypes.   More

Manufacturing

Making Robots Better Team Players

Humans are intelligent, yet unpredictable. Robots are programmed to be predictably logical. Can they get along? These days they don't have much of a choice, as robots increasingly perform human tasks and work with human teams. As reported in SmartPlanet, researchers at MIT are examining ways to establish trustworthy and efficient relationships between humans and robots, using a cross training approach to team building. Their research shows that teams in which a robot and its human partner swap roles on different days become more efficient.   More

Manufacturing Startup Culture

In Defense of Dustpan Innovation, Product Developers Protest

Outraged over ergonomic gadget maker OXO’s introduction of a $25 dustpan-and-broom design that closely resembles a two-year-old, $12 Quirky model, Quirky staffers staged a street protest in New York last week.   More

Manufacturing

Can Robots Be Job Creators?

In their recent comments on "60 Minutes," and at the Techonomy 2012 conference, MIT economists Andrew McAfee and Erik Brynjolfssonn may have given the impression that robots are poised to swipe the jobs of U.S. workers. As reported in The New York Times, robotics experts assembled at the Automate 2013 trade show in Chicago offered a different outlook. Henrik I. Christensen, Chair of Robotics at the Georgia Institute of Technology, said that while he agrees that automation could make certain types of jobs obsolete, it will also create new, higher-paying jobs. The International Federation of Robotics reinforced this argument with the release of findings from a report that predicts the robotics industry will help create 1.9 million to 3.5 million jobs by 2020.   More

Business Manufacturing

From Persecution to 3D Printing Pioneer: The Rise of Geomagic CEO Ping Fu

Removed from her family and forced to live as an orphan when she was just eight, Techonomy participant and Geomagic CEO Ping Fu endured the brunt of China's Cultural Revolution before ascending to the heights of American tech entrepreneurship. When she isn't blazing trails in the field of 3D printing and advanced manufacturing, or serving on President Obama's National Advisory Council on Innovation and Entrepreneurship, she apparently finds time to write books. Her new memoir, "Bend, Not Break," chronicles her youth in China, her improbable immigration to the U.S., and her rise as an inspiring voice for pioneering women in tech.   More

Manufacturing

Why Robots Might Boost Industry While Killing Jobs

Globalization is an easy culprit for the recent wave of U.S. unemployment, with domestic jobs shipped overseas to be replaced by cheap labor, often without adverse impact on the quality of a company's products or services. Apple is just one high-profile example of this trend. But automation and robotics may be contributing even more to our stubborn unemployment figures. Paradoxically, robots could also help bring manufacturing jobs back to the U.S. The Jan. 13 broadcast of 60 Minutes featured several Techonomists to help explain how this might happen.   More

Manufacturing

Manufacturing Innovation Will Drive U.S. Economic Growth

Reviving U.S. manufacturing could mean more than creating new jobs; it has the potential to spur a more innovative and sustainable economy. As reported in The New York Times, economic theorists are warning that a diminished U.S. manufacturing base could dampen innovation and long-term growth. Experts theorize that keeping researchers and manufacturing workers in close proximity, rather than sending production overseas, is a path to increased productivity. A General Electric battery plant in upstate New York is putting this theory into real-world practice.   More

Manufacturing

Apple to Revamp U.S. Manufacturing Efforts

Good news for U.S. manufacturing: Apple is bringing some of its computer manufacturing back to the United States, Timothy Cook announced on Thursday. The company plans to spend $100 million in 2013 on producing one of its existing Mac lines in America. Apple is often criticized for outsourcing almost all of its factory work to Asia in the late 1990s.   More

Manufacturing

How the “Connected Car” Will Change Detroit

As we approach a future of electronic, connected, and networked automobiles, will Detroit’s auto industry also evolve? Cars are relying more heavily on electronics (the market for electronic systems is expected to grow from $170 billion in 2011 to $263 billion in 2016), and R&D is adapting appropriately, SmartPlanet reports. The “connected car” of the future will feature entertainment and web connectivity, fuel economy features, and vehicle safety and efficiency improvements—including, for instance, the capability for cars to respond to changes in the environment and act automatically to protect their occupants.   More

Manufacturing

Staples to Offer 3D Printing Services in Europe

Staples has announced a new service called “Staples Easy 3D” that will allow European customers to upload designs to the Staples website, and then pick up the printed objects at a local store or have them shipped. This is the first time that 3D printing is being offered to the mass market from a chain retailer.   More

Jobs Manufacturing

Skills Don’t Pay the Bills

What is the biggest threat to jobs in American manufacturing: robots or a skills gap? Many manufacturing jobs are vanishing because of computer-driven machinery, as discussed at Techonomy 2012, and nearly as many jobs have been outsourced. Thus, the industry’s future seems to lie in a new generation of highly skilled manufacturing employees who can run the computer that runs the machine. This means they must have a basic understanding of metallurgy, physics, chemistry, pneumatics, electrical wiring, and computer code.Some say there’s a skills gap, and employees with the right training simply do not exist. But that may not be the whole problem.   More

Manufacturing Techonomy Events

Why Making Things Still Matters

Innovation and the desire for innovation are nationally and globally pervasive. But by any measure of geographic or economic density, most of us still see Silicon Valley as the leader and lodestar of innovation. It’s interesting to take a moment and reflect on the very name Silicon Valley. It is, after all, named after a chemical element and a technology for making things. At its roots, Silicon Valley was about making transistors, integrated circuits and chips, and, of course, the application of these for computing and software.   More

Manufacturing

Shapeways to Open Factory of the Future in Long Island City

The 3D printing company Shapeways today cut the ribbon on its new manufacturing facility in New York's Long Island City, a ceremony attended by Mayor Bloomberg and Empire State Development President and CEO Kenneth Adam. The 25,000 square foot "Factory of the Future" is set to go into operation in January 2013 and will house 30 to 50 high definition, industrial sized printers, according to the company's website.   More

Government Manufacturing

How Obama and Romney Should Have Answered the Manufacturing Question

Near the end of last night’s presidential debate, moderator Candy Crowley asked President Barack Obama and Governor Mitt Romney a common question: How do you convince companies like Apple to bring manufacturing back to America? Unfortunately, both candidates flubbed their answers, AllThingsD’s Arik Hesseldahl argues. Romney simply talked about Chinese currency manipulation and intellectual property […]   More

Government Learning Manufacturing

Defense Department Funds High School “Hackerspaces”

A new $10 million federal program is bringing “hackerspaces” to high schools, the New York Times reports. Hackerspaces are community groups for hackers to build and invent technology (and take things apart). They are considered incubators for innovation and a major part of the DIY movement—but the high school program has sparked some controversy.   More

Government Manufacturing Security & Privacy

A Gun Made from a 3D Printer? Techno-Challenges Grow More Complex

At Techonomy we believe that just about literally everything is being transformed by technology, especially Internet technology, and we also are quite psyched about 3D printing. It's another example of the empowerment of individuals—in the potent tradition of the PC, Web browser, Facebook, etc. But now guns are beginning to be made with 3D printers. There is likely nothing that can be done to stop that. It underscores another fundamental Techonomy point—that all of us, as citizens, leaders, and human beings—need to be thinking harder about what technology is doing to the world in which we live. Disruption is right.   More

Jobs Manufacturing Startup Culture

Turning Makers Into Middle Class Manufacturers

When you walk through TechShop just outside of Detroit, you see all sorts of contraptions and manufacturing projects—from bipedal robot legs hanging off a wooden stand to super-stretch cargo bikes that can carry big loads. Wind your way past the laser cutters, 3D printers, CNC machines—past the wood shop and the metal-bending station—and you will find a hallway hung with a half-dozen blackboards from floor to ceiling.   More

Business Government Manufacturing

Why the Candidates Need to Tout a Digital Economy

The U.S. could be poised to emerge as a leader in a new global digital economy. But Zoe Baird, President of the Markle Foundation, believes that the presidential candidates must do more to articulate a vision of what a tech and data-driven economy will look like.   More