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Thick and Thin

To avoid rust or flaking, the paint on a car must have a thickness consistent to within a fraction of a millimeter. Auto makers test thickness by picking a sample car, waiting until it’s dry, and hitting it with an ultrasonic pulse from a handheld meter. But that process is slow and expensive-and now its days may be numbered. DaimlerChrysler is testing a laser inspection technology that works on wet paint. Designed by Plymouth, Mich.-based Perceptron, the system spits out several hundred laser pulses one after the other. Each infrared burst produces an ultrasonic “ring” that is higher in pitch where the paint is thinner. One big advantage of this system is that the line can be stopped and a problem fixed before a hundred or more mis-painted cars have gone through drying ovens. The National Institute of Standards and Technology, which funded Perceptron’s development work, estimates that the system could shave $50 off the cost of painting each car, saving the Big Three automakers hundreds of millions of dollars a year.

Deep Dive

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Five poems about the mind

DREAM VENDING MACHINE I feed it coins and watch the spring coil back,the clunk of a vacuum-packed, foil-wrappeddream dropping into the tray. It dispenses all kinds of dreams—bad dreams, good dreams,short nightmares to stave off worse ones, recurring dreams with a teacake marshmallow center.Hardboiled caramel dreams to tuck in your cheek,a bag of orange dreams…

Work reinvented: Tech will drive the office evolution

As organizations navigate a new world of hybrid work, tech innovation will be crucial for employee connection and collaboration.

lucid dreaming concept
lucid dreaming concept

I taught myself to lucid dream. You can too.

We still don’t know much about the experience of being aware that you’re dreaming—but a few researchers think it could help us find out more about how the brain works.

panpsychism concept
panpsychism concept

Is everything in the world a little bit conscious?

The idea that consciousness is widespread is attractive to many for intellectual and, perhaps, also emotional
reasons. But can it be tested? Surprisingly, perhaps it can.

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Illustration by Rose WongIllustration by Rose Wong

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