Could shape-shifting elastomer transform the way mechanical devices work?

IMechE | February 05, 2019

Ambitious researchers behind a shape-shifting sheet with power density similar to natural muscles have claimed it could transform the way that mechanical devices work. Announcing the research, the team from Harvard John A Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences (Seas) asked: What if we could mimic shape changes and movements found in nature?
Natural systems can perform complex functions with soft components more directly than mechanical systems, which rely on linear or rotational movement with stiff components. For example, the researchers said, our eyes change focal point by simply contracting muscles to change the shape of the cornea. In contrast, cameras focus by moving solid lenses along a line, either manually or by autofocus.

Spotlight

There have been many cases of children swallowing button batteries, marbles, and metallic buttons in different places around the world. It could be life-threatening or could cause damage to the child’s digestive system. Traditionally, serious cases would need surgery to remove the swallowed item/s from the child’s stomach.

Spotlight

There have been many cases of children swallowing button batteries, marbles, and metallic buttons in different places around the world. It could be life-threatening or could cause damage to the child’s digestive system. Traditionally, serious cases would need surgery to remove the swallowed item/s from the child’s stomach.

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ENGINEERING TECH

Ballantyne Strong Acquires Digital Ignition Building

Ballantyne | February 07, 2022

Ballantyne Strong, Inc. (NYSE American: BTN) (the “Company” or “Ballantyne Strong”) announced that it has acquired the land and building at 190 Bluegrass Valley Parkway, in Alpharetta, Georgia, home to its Digital Ignition technology incubator. The 43,000+ square foot building and 11+ acres of land is located approximately 15 minutes north of Atlanta, in the heart of the Georgia 400 Technology Corridor. Alpharetta is growing rapidly, attracting new technology companies, and expanding retail, office and residential development, including the luxury Halcyon complex less than half a mile from Digital Ignition. A new access road currently under construction will connect Highway 400 and McFarland Parkway, which will increase visibility and improve commuter access to the property. “We are excited to have the opportunity to strategically acquire the real estate that houses our growing Digital Ignition technology incubator, Alpharetta is a vibrant area, and the building’s location close to Highway 400 as well as its proximity to the Halcyon development make it appealing to existing and potential tenants. We project that this acquisition will also serve to reduce our operating expenses and provide potential appreciation. We look forward to continuing to expand our presence in Alpharetta and supporting the greater Atlanta entrepreneurial community.” -Mark Roberson, Chief Executive Officer of Ballantyne Strong About Ballantyne Strong, Inc. Ballantyne Strong, Inc. (www.ballantynestrong.com) is a diversified holding company with operations and holdings across a broad range of industries. The Company’s Strong Entertainment segment includes the largest premium screen supplier in the U.S. and also provides technical support services and other related products and services to the cinema exhibition industry, theme parks and other entertainment-related markets. Ballantyne Strong holds a $13 million preferred stake along with Google Ventures in privately held Firefly Systems, Inc., which is rolling out a digital mobile advertising network on rideshare and taxi fleets. Finally, the Company holds a 9% ownership position in GreenFirst Forest Products Inc. (TSX: GFP), which has recently completed an investment in a sawmill and related assets, and a 25% ownership position in FG Financial Group, Inc. (Nasdaq: FGF), a reinsurance and investment management holding company focused on opportunistic collateralized and loss capped reinsurance, while allocating capital to SPAC and SPAC sponsor-related businesses. About Digital Ignition Digital Ignition, one of the fastest growing technology incubators in the state of Georgia, serves as a business launching pad for 40 rapidly growing companies in the region. Located in Alpharetta, Georgia (often referred to as the fintech capital of the world), Digital Ignition’s 43,000 sq. ft. facility offers flexible and oversized co-working spaces, unique access to Georgia Tech’s ATDC best-in-class incubator services, and community-focused accelerator services that match member companies with area businesses looking to innovate.Digital Ignition also serves as the official incubator of Forward Forsyth (a partnership between the local chamber and the development authority dedicated to driving economic growth to the region). It also serves as a community partner to the American Red Cross and was home of Georgia Department of Transportation’s first hack-a-thon to support their innovative smart city and traffic light technology efforts.For more information or to schedule a tour, please visit www.digitalignition.com.

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PRODUCTS

Alpine Launches Engineering Services Platform—Trilon Group—Through Partnership With Waggoner Engineering

Alpine | February 02, 2022

Alpine Investors, a people-driven private equity firm committed to building enduring businesses, has announced the launch of Trilon Group, its newly formed engineering services platform. Waggoner Engineering, a Mississippi-based engineering services firm, is Trilon’s first platform partnership and will continue to operate independently under the Waggoner brand. Terms of the private transaction were not disclosed. Trilon was formed with the vision of building the next Top 20 design firm in North America by partnering with a comprehensive family of engineering services businesses focused on delivering practical and sustainable infrastructure solutions. Trilon will partner with like-minded engineering firms across the nation and aims to accelerate their growth through investment in talent, technology, and targeted M&A. Trilon’s key markets include Transportation, Water, Energy, Environment, and Community Infrastructure. Alpine plans to invest up to $200 million of equity capital to fund the organic and inorganic growth of Trilon. In partnership with Alpine’s in-house talent program, Trilon will focus on cultivating a culture that provides opportunities for its employees to quickly expand their purposeful careers. Trilon will invest heavily in developing and elevating talent across its family of companies with multiple career paths spanning technical, project management, business management, business development, and operations. Michael (Mick) Renshaw, an Alpine CEO-in-residence, will lead Trilon as its founder and CEO. With 30 years of senior management experience, Mick possesses a strong understanding of international markets, strategic management, M&A, and profitable growth in engineering services. Prior to joining Alpine, Mick was the Chief Growth Officer at AECOM, the world’s largest integrated design and construction firm with annual revenue of US$20 billion and a workforce of 56,000. Mick also previously served as the CEO and Managing Director of Cardno, an AU$1.3 billion engineering, environmental, and management services company. While at Cardno, Mick grew the US operations staff from four to more than 4,500. “At Trilon, we believe infrastructure is the backbone of the communities we serve, Done well, infrastructure can improve lives by promoting opportunity, equity, sustainability, and safety. I am excited to partner with Alpine as we share common views on the importance of investing in talent and technology. We invest to both help leading firms like Waggoner thrive and give their team members new opportunities for career growth within the Trilon group. We know this type of platform can be the perfect future home for other like-minded businesses.” -Trilon CEO Mick Renshaw Trilon’s and Mick’s focus on scaling and elevating talent to in-turn build enduring communities fits right in line with Alpine’s people-first culture, values, and goal of being a Force For Good in the world,” said Alpine Partner Dan Sanner. “We are ecstatic to welcome them to the family and to lend them our expertise in building enduring software and services businesses. Trilon is actively seeking partnerships with infrastructure services businesses in any of its key markets, including transportation, water, utilities, environment, and community infrastructure. Business owners interested in learning more about Trilon should contact Tyler Frances at tfrances@alpineinvestors.com. About Alpine Investors Alpine Investors is a people-driven private equity firm that is committed to building enduring companies by working with, learning from, and developing exceptional people. Alpine specializes in investments in companies in the software and services industries. Its PeopleFirst strategy includes a CEO program which allows Alpine to bring leadership to situations where additional or new management is needed post-transaction. Alpine is currently investing out of its $2.25 billion eighth fund. For more information, visit http://www.alpineinvestors.com. About Trilon Group Trilon group was formed with a vision to build the next Top 20 design firm in North America by bringing together some of the nation’s best infrastructure consulting firms. Key focus areas include Transportation, Water, Utilities, Environment, and Community Infrastructure. For more information, visit www.trilongroup.com. About Waggoner Engineering Waggoner Engineering, founded in 1976, is a civil engineering firm with a passion for helping communities realize their full potential. Today, Waggoner has expanded to 12 offices in five states and is recognized for its innovative, multi-disciplinary services that make it much more than a traditional engineering firm. For more information, visit www.waggonereng.com.

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DESIGN

Unispace Acquires Global Experiential Design Firm Downstream

Unispace | October 07, 2021

Global workplace strategy, design and construction firm Unispace today announced its acquisition of Downstream, a global experiential design expert with an expansive portfolio of integrated digital and physical experiences in global tech hubs, flagship retailers, major sports venues and other destination spaces around the world. Blitzer, Clancy & Company advised Unispace in the acquisition of Downstream, and terms of the deal were not disclosed. "Work is no longer just a place; the focus is experience. Downstream's team and approach enhance our ability to empower our clients with the most impactful environments for their most valuable asset: their people,This is our commitment to rising above the talk and to taking action." -Steve Quick, Global CEO of Unispace Downstream's employees will join Unispace's global team, adding expertise in branding and technical design of spaces. Headquartered in Portland, Oregon, with global offices in Amsterdam and Melbourne, the Downstream acquisition will also expand Unispace's physical presence, particularly on the U.S. West Coast. The firm is currently operating in 48 locations in 26 countries. We have worked with Unispace for several years, and we're excited to integrate our teams to bring our shared expertise to this moment of opportunity: the reinvention of space as we know it," said Tim Canfield, CEO of Downstream. "Today's employees and customers want experiential and brand-focused environments that draw them in for collaboration, socialization and connection. Together, we can deliver that in a powerful way. Our global growth strategy is focused on enhancing our ability to position clients to thrive in the new environment. This acquisition enables us to combine world-class experiential design expertise with our integrated approach to strategy, design and construction that gives our clients confidence in the quality and consistency of the spaces we create with them. Furthermore, Unispace and Downstream share values; both of our cultures inherently embrace change, with a commitment to innovation, DE&I, corporate citizenship, and genuine passion for the people-centered experiences we are creating," said Quick. "We believe this brings profound value for our clients and for the industry. Since its founding in 2010, Unispace has delivered more than 5,500 workplace projects spanning 50 million square feet. Despite the tumult caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, Unispace had a very strong first half of 2021, propelling the business globally. About Unispace In 2010, Unispace revolutionized the workplace delivery model with an industry-leading, joined-up approach to strategy, design and delivery. Today, the business continues to meet the pace of change with an agile, end-to-end approach fit for ever-evolving global brands. Unispace creates workplaces powered by collaborative client partnerships, delivered seamlessly across borders, and enabled by industry-leading intelligence and technology. About Downstream With 20+ years of experience, Downstream is a community of visionary designers, technologists, content developers, account managers and production leads. Collectively, they are a company on the forefront of brand communication, reaching around the globe, building compelling brand experiences for some of the biggest and most dynamic companies in the world. With three global hubs in Portland, Amsterdam and Melbourne, Downstream harnesses the latest insights and challenges themselves to consistently seek out new technologies and methodologies to create the impossible.

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