Newsletter: Reasons to be Optimistic – July 2022
By Jon Spratley, CEO at 42T
I am excited to share the next instalment of things that the team at 42T are optimistic about, as an antidote to the less-than-optimistic news we are surrounded by. Each edition I will focus on different topics that are close to our heart. I’ll also include some other news I feel you would be interested in.
Hyperspectral imaging is a technology with a huge potential for many applications, however, to date, the cost of the cameras has put it out of reach of most. This may be slowly changing.
What is hyperspectral imaging?
Hyperspectral imaging captures an image in a large number of spectral bands for each pixel. Where typical cameras capture three (red, green, and blue), a camera is considered ‘hyperspectral’ if it captures at least 40 bands, which can be in the visible or into the infrared. Our human colour vision allow us to assess the ripeness of fruit or the health of a friend, hyperspectral imaging has the potential to extend this identification and classification much further.
Example applications include short-wavelength infra-red (SWIR) hyperspectral imaging to sort mixed plastic waste for recycling, or visible and near-infra-red (VIS-NIR) hyperspectral imaging for quality control in food processing – identifying damaged, low quality or adulterated ingredients.
Hyperspectral cameras have typically been large, expensive, complex to use, and often narrowly targeted at specific applications. However, systems are starting to appear at a lower cost and with greater adaptability that could make this exciting technology viable for many more applications. In time, we expect this technology to help solve an ever-wider range of process monitoring, classification, and quality control problems in areas as broad (and important) as food production, disease diagnosis and environmental monitoring.
One of our most popular social media posts this year was this piece from Rob Mueller, one of our excellent product designers, repairing his old toaster. Designing products so that they can be repaired, and their useful life extend well beyond the equivalent disposable products, is a key element in the sustainability armoury and also a no-brainer if you want to build a brand based on high quality, high integrity products.
We are consuming natural resources at a rate that is unsustainable. One Planet network reports that if nothing changes, in 35 years we will need almost three planets to sustain our ways of living. Stating the obvious, we don’t have three planets. However, it is also unrealistic to expect that consumers will change their behaviour and stop wanting the creature comforts that make up modern life. So, how do we allow people to have the nice things they want AND live within our planetary means?
Build products that can last a lifetime, providing years of high-quality feel-good service (in this case perfectly browned toast!). When they go wrong or get damaged, they can be repaired – either as a (competent) DIY, professional repairer or using the fantastic Repair Café movement – such as the Cambridgeshire Repair Café Network. And when they do come to the end of their long lives, the same design principles will make the products much easier to recycle or repurpose back into a circular economy.
Meet Dr Peter Brown
Position: Director of Industrial
Joined the team in: June 2020
Specialism/skills: Peter has a PhD in the physics of semiconducting polymers from the University of Cambridge. Specialisms include printing of challenging functional fluids, particularly those that cannot be printed using conventional industrial inkjet printheads.
Fun fact: Enjoys hill walking, cycling and eating large steaks.
And in case you missed these insights from the team…
The economics of healthcare
How has healthcare changed since the pandemic and what can we expect to see this year? Our Director of Healthcare, Craig Townsend, focuses on healthcare economic trends in his latest article.
View ‘The economics of healthcare’.
Unlocking resource savings in food and beverage manufacturing
Simon Copley’s article for Food & Drink Technology outlines a robust way to investigate your manufacturing process and unlock sustainability improvements.
View ‘Unlocking resource savings in food and beverage manufacturing’
Why pre-compliance testing is crucial
Rowan Beale’s article for New Electronics looks at pre-compliance testing. He outlines how it can greatly reduce the risks associated with formal compliance testing.
View ‘Why pre-compliance testing is crucial’
The value of sustainable materials data and impact on design thinking
Property data on sustainable materials is lacking. We discuss what some forward-thinking manufacturers are doing about it.
View ‘The value of sustainable materials data and impact on design thinking’
I hope you found the above of interest and agree there’s room for a bit more optimism in our lives!
Dr Jon Spratley
Chief Executive Officer
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