May 16, 2020

Graphene sensors could revolutionise IoT

IoT
Industry 4.0
Graphene
University of Manchester
Sophie Chapman
2 min
The University of Manchester is developing graphene sensors
The University of Manchester is conducting research into graphene sensors and imbedding them into radio-frequency identification (RFIDs).

In 2004, grap...

The University of Manchester is conducting research into graphene sensors and imbedding them into radio-frequency identification (RFIDs).

In 2004, graphene became the world’s first 2D material whilst isolated at the University of Manchester.

The material is lightweight and flexible, but is more conductive than copper and is stronger than steel.

Researchers at the university have discovered that by layering graphene-oxide on graphene, they can create a flexible heterostructure that can be developed into humidity sensors that can connect to any wireless network.

Following the development of graphene, more and more 2D materials have been discovered.

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With the use of graphene and other 2D materials, Scientific Reports stated that sensors could now be printed layer-by-layer for scalable and mass production at lower costs.

“The excitement does not end with this new application here, but leads to the future possibilities of integrations of this technique with other 2D materials to open up a new horizon of wireless sensing applications,” said Dr Zhirun Hu, leader of the research.

The sensor would not require a battery source as it is able to retain power from the receiver.

Sensors with a RFID enabler are regularly used with IoT – and so the new technology could provide applications such as battery-free wireless network, as well as being compatible with Wi-Fi and 5G.

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Jun 8, 2021

IMF: Variants Can Still Hurt Manufacturing Recovery

IMF
Manufacturing
COVID19
Musk
Elise Leise
3 min
The International Monetary Fund (IMF) claims that while markets are rising and manufacturing is coming back, it’ll push for global immunisation

After a year of on-and-off manufacturing in the US, UK, and the eurozone, demand for goods surged early last week. Factories set growth records in April and May, suppliers started to recover, and US crude hit its highest price point since pre-COVID. As vaccination efforts immunise much of the US and UK populations, manufacturers are now able to fully ramp up their supply chains. In fact, GDP growth could approach double-digits by 2022

Now, the ISM productivity measure has surpassed the 50-point mark that separates industry expansion from contraction. Since U.S. president Biden passed his US$1.9tn stimulus package and the UK purchasing managers index (PMI) increased to 65.6, both sides of the Atlantic are facing a much-welcomed manufacturing recovery. 

Lingering Concerns Over COVID

Even as Spain, France, Italy, and Germany race to catch up, and mining companies pushed the FTSE 100 index of list shares to a monthly high of 7,129, some say that UK and US markets still suffer from a lack of confidence in raw material supplies. Yes, the Dow Jones has made up its 19,173-point crash of March 2020, and MSCI’s global stock index is at an all-time high. 

Yet manufacturers around the world realise that these wins will be short-lived until pandemic supply chain bottlenecks are solved. If we keep the status quo, consumers will pay the price. In April, inflation in Germany reached 2.4%, and across the EU’s 19 member countries, overall prices have increased at an unusual pace. Some ask: Is this true recovery? 

IMF: Current Boom Could Falter

Even as Elon Musk tweeted about chip shortages forcing Tesla to raise its prices, UK mining demand skyrocketed; housing markets lifted; and the pound sterling gained value. The International Monetary Fund (IMF), however, cautioned that manufacturing recovery won’t last long if COVID mutates into forms our vaccinations can’t touch. Kristalina Georgieva, Washington’s IMF director, noted that fewer than 1% of African citizens have been vaccinated: “Worldwide access to vaccines offers the best hope for stopping the coronavirus pandemic, saving lives, and securing a broad-based economic recovery”. 

Across the globe, manufacturing companies are keeping a watchful eye on new developments in the spread of COVID. Though US FDA officials don’t think we’ll have to “start at square one” with new vaccines, the March 2021 World Economic Outlook states that “high uncertainty” surrounds the projected 6% global growth. Continued manufacturing success will in large part depend on “the path of the pandemic, the effectiveness of policy support, and the evolution of financial conditions”. 

Mathias Cormann, secretary-general of the Organisation for Economic Co-Operation and Development (OECD) concurred—without global immunisation, the estimated economic boom expected by 2025 could go kaput. “We need to...pursue an all-out effort to reach the entire world population”, Australia’s finance minister added. US$50bn to end COVID across the world, they imply, is a small investment to restart our economies.

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