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SEPTEMBER 2021 I SMT007 MAGAZINE 75 cy has been added to the team. Also, our stock room has been reorganized as some compo- nents were mislabeled or in the wrong spot." "Wow, sounds like a great success," John said. "What about paste and component re- plenishment?" "Again, having a sense of urgency was the main issue," Chuck replied. Now, the line is only stopped when absolutely necessary. But I have to say, there was one big disappointment." "And that was?" John and Maggie asked in union. "Shutting down for lunch," he replied. "We couldn't work out a way to do it. e folks on each of the lines are friends and they want to eat lunch together. Frank was silent during the meeting until now. He then commented, "If we gave every- one a $2/hour raise, then we could figure out a way to keep the lines running over lunch?" Epilogue: Even without running the lines over the lunch hour, uptime went up to over 30% with the changes Chuck and the BE team implemented. BE could now take on al- most twice the business they could before the changes. ere was also a rumor that Chuck Tower and Tanya Brooks were now an "item" aer spending so much time working together on the uptime project. Stay tuned: What is Frank Emory's plan to keep the lines running during lunch? Could BE really pay the workers $2 more per hour and make it work financially? What is the story on Chuck and Tanya? SMT007 Ronald C. Lasky is an instructional professor of engineering for the Thayer School of Engineering at Dartmouth College, and senior technologist at Indium Corporation. Image of Maggie Benson by Sophie Morvan. To read past columns, or contact Lasky, click here. Robots could soon have 'skin' so sensitive it can detect a flower petal or a grain of rice. Researchers from NTU Singapore have invented a pressure sensor that can be 'printed' onto flexible material such as paper or plastic film, and which are 100 times more sensitive than existing commercial sensors. A working prototype of the sensor has been in- tegrated into a robotic hand that is capable of grip- ping delicate objects, such as an egg. These sensors can be printed onto large, flexible patches, which can then be used as a 'skin' on au- tonomous robots for real-time feedback and touch sensing. Robots covered in such a skin can react to stimuli the same way that humans do, making them safer and more responsive when deployed in crowds. Led by Assistant Professor Leong Wei Lin from the School of Electrical and Electronic Engineering, the team, comprising research fellow Dr Chen Shuai and PhD students Surendran Abhijith and Wu Xihu, is developing these further applications for their breakthrough based on a grant from Singapore's National Robotics Programme. These sensors are enabled by a breakthrough in a type of transistors called organic electrochemical transistors (OECTs). While traditional OECTs con- tain liquid electrolytes, the NTU team's sensors use solid polymer electrolytes instead, which can con- duct ions and electrons just as effectively as liquid- based OECTs while overcoming their limitations. (Source: Nanyang University) Ultrasensitive Pressure Sensors Pave the Way for Robot 'Skin'

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