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sp01u5p4 - Unit Five Microsystems Technology How does Micro...

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Unit Five Microsystems Technology Project Oceanography Spring 2001 83 How does Micro Technology Affect Me? Lesson Objectives: Students will be able to do the following: Identify one industry that uses microtechnology Describe two inventions that affect everyday life Compare and contrast micromachines with their larger counterparts Warning! Warning! This information is becoming obsolete as it is being written. By the time you receive this packet, the future may be the past. Nanotechnology is growing so fast that is difficult to keep up with the new machines being invented on an hourly basis. There are several interesting sites on the web that have fantastic photographs of some of these inventions. Sandia Laboratories web page and the University of Wisconsin MEMS page are two that I would recommend. The reference list also will lead you to pages from Scientific American and Popular Mechanics that give complete articles on the following material. Where might we find these machines tomorrow? Look no farther than the grocery store, manufacturing plants, automobiles, or even your blood stream. Let’s take a closer look at some of the machines that nanotechnology has allowed us to produce. Micromachines Helping Consumers Microsensors have been developed that can test the chemistry of seawater but consider even smaller machines that can be used in other liquids such as your morning juice. As your juice is being scanned at the check out, a microscopic “electronic tongue” detects a change in the surface tension or “stickiness” of the liquid. The minielectronic soldier gets to work to further investigate. The microscopic sensor measures the chemical properties of the liquid. The information is then sent up a tiny antenna. The information is passed along to the computer database via radio waves. Alert! Alert! The chemical properties are measuring outside normal ranges. The juice is spoiled. The customer receives a fresh container of juice and crisis is averted. No sick customers. No lawsuits. These tiny sensors were first developed by a husband and wife engineering team, Vijay and Vasundara Varadan, at Pennsylvania State University in 1998. The sensors can float freely in products, because they are so small. They are also totally wireless, sending and receiving information using radio waves or microwaves.
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Unit Five Microsystems Technology Project Oceanography Spring 2001 84 Micromachines Helping Researchers Scientists are experimenting with miniexplosions in the hopes of creating enough force to start a reaction that could complete a task on a much bigger object. The miniexplosives or rocket propellants are stored in cavities of the integrated circuits of a microchip , because they provide convenient containers. By igniting one or more explosive at a time, scientists can control the intensity of the thrust produced. Since the microchips containing the explosions take up little room, many microchips can be equipped with materials to cause explosions over long periods of time, even over years. In this way,
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