What We Like This Week: Auto Parts and Folding Prints

Smarter AI and better automation are transforming industries from construction to automotive to banking. But don’t take our word for it, check out this week’s picks:

  • GM goes generative. Have you heard the news? GM is turning to additive manufacturing and Autodesk’s generative design technology to lightweight their cars. First up, a redesigned seat belt bracket that is 40% lighter and 20% stronger than its predecessor—and replaces 8 components with one. Fast Company has the full story.
  • We get by with a little help from our AI. Digital assistants have come a long way in the last few years. The Wall Street Journal breaks down the latest advances and efforts from top companies, including Autodesk’s own customer service agent, AVA. (Subscription required)
  • Origami with plastic. Ever experienced unintentional warping of your 3D prints? We thought so. A team from Carnegie Mellon University is exploring 3D prints that warp in defined ways on purpose when exposed to heat, potentially opening the way for self-folding furniture or emergency shelters. Interesting Engineering shares the process.

  • From big metal to big data. Industrial fairs are getting downright digital these days. At the world’s largest, Hannover Messe 2018, IndustryWeek found a heavy focus on emerging technologies, including AR, VR, 3D printing, and the IIoT.
  • Calling all robots. Rents are sky-high in Japan these days, in part because construction of new housing is hampered by a lack of workers. Bloomberg reports on efforts to remedy Japan’s persistent labor shortage with intelligent automation on building sites—and the challenges that come with the task.
  • Freedom of assembly. You don’t need to assemble IKEA furniture yourself anymore. You just need the right robots. (via The Verge)