Like any other sphere of life, technology has also greatly impacted health care. And Australians are probably seeing more of such technological advances in use during regular visits to their dentist. More specifically, the use of technology in the field of dental implants is astonishing!
History of dental implants
More than 2,000 years ago, our ancestors in the Mediterranean, Middle Asia, and North and South America laid the foundation for dental implants. There is excavated evidence that ancient Egyptians used stones or carved sea-shells to replace missing teeth. Other discoveries, dating back to 600 AD, show that the Mayans also used dental implants effectively on their population.
It was not until World War II though that army doctor Dr. Norman Goldberg, and subsequently in 1948 in association with colleague Dr. Aaron Gershkoff, successfully produced the first sub-periosteal implant.
Dental implantology had its most important breakthrough in 1965 when an orthopedic surgeon from Sweden, Per-Ingvar Brenemark, placed the first Titanium (Ti) implant in a patient. With the US Food and Drug Administration approving the use of Ti implants, the world of implantology was set on a new course of innovation and discovery.
Technology used in implant surgery
The most significant technological breakthrough in implantology came in 1983, with the development of the Procera precision-guided CAD/CAM software by Dr. Matts Andersson. Today, technology is used at every stage in order to make dental implants safe and successful.
Brisbane, Queensland-based Teeth on Implants specializes in dental bone grafts, which requires a form of dental implant surgery to enhance bone density ahead of dental implants. Using latest medical technologies, dental surgeons are able to reconstruct jaw lines through grafting procedures such as Autogenous, Allograt,Xenograft and Alloplast.
Another area where technology has assisted in the successful deployment of implants is the restoration of gum lines. Alexandra NSW-based BioHorizons provides dental surgeons with breakthrough regenerative tissue technology called AlloDerm.
Using the latest in grafting technology, this surgical process helps restore the gum line in such a way that it addresses the challenge of gum recession and makes for a more desirable dental implant outcome. Alternately, soft tissue/diode lasers may be used to sculpt gum contours in advance of implant procedures.
New technologies that are used in dental implants
Technological revolution in engineering and bio-chemistry has made newer materials, used in manufacturing dental implants, available to dental implant designers. Today?s ?bio-materials? are created to ensure better and more longer-lasting implant outcomes. Used in conjunction with other new-age materials, such as Titanium, they are also easier to use and produce lower-maintenance solutions for the patient.
Most dental implants involve careful pre-assessments before suitable procedures are prescribed. The use of x-ray and CT Scanning technology is paramount at this stage. Werribee,VIC-based Lentini Dental uses Digital X-Ray machines for intra-oral and extra-oral examinations, Intra-Oral Cameras and Diagodent (Laser Diagnostic probes) to assist in these pre-assessments and diagnostic efforts.
The increasingly popular ?All-On-4? implants are made possible thanks largely due to state of the art technologies perfected to support the procedure. 3D Computerised Tomography (C.T.) imaging technology, such as that used by Werribee,VIC-based Lentini Dental, enables dental practitioners to measure the density and quantity of a patients? jawbone, allowing the planning of optimal treatment options.
These technologies also add never-before-seen precision in planning of All-On-4 implants and, where needed, bone grafting procedures.
When it comes to big dollar industries like mining and construction, small improvements in efficiency can lead to massive overall savings. A recent advancement in concrete construction has helped to collectively save millions of man-hours on construction work and is reducing the costs of building commercial and large-scale residential projects around the world.
Tilt slab construction; also known as tilt up or tilt up slab is a relatively new technology when it comes to building with concrete. The slabs are manufactured on-site on a horizontal concrete slab. Once the concrete has cured the large solid panels are tilted to sit in their vertical positions using a crane and held there until other supporting panels or structural components are put into place.
This technology is gaining popularity due to its economic and time benefits and is now being utilized regularly throughout North America, Australia and New Zealand. Many other areas of the world are embracing this new construction technology as well, however Europe and the majority of Asia have been slow on the uptake, and tilt slab construction is still fairly uncommon there.
One of Australias leading tilt up slab construction companies, Vati Projects, have been working on commercial developments using the technology since it was founded. We spoke with them about the benefits and problems associated with this sort of technology.
The biggest issue with tilt up is the need for significant organization and collaboration on the building site as the slabs are molded and positioned. In order for a tilt slab project to be completed successfully there are a number of steps that need to be taken. These are (in chronological order):
Evaluation of the worksite
Laying floor slabs and footings
Construction of the tilt slab panels
Placement of structural steel
Embeds and inserts
Placement of the panels
Finishing the panels
The completed panels can be extremely heavy, in some cases weighing as much as 150 tons. A skilled team of construction workers are always necessary to ensure the development and erection processes all run smoothly.
Early tilt-slab construction was boxy and boring, however newer methods have expanded the range of shapes and changed the aesthetic possibilities. As this technology improves even further we expect its use to increase throughout developing nations and into Europe reducing the cost of large commercial building.
For more information on tilt slab construction and its uses take a look at the variety of articles, case studies and photos at Tiltup.com.
Long gone are the days when people would equate Chinese products with cheap quality goods. Following in similar footsteps to Japan and South Korea before them, who also built their manufacturing base on lower quality consumer goods, and improved their methods and technology over time to become world leaders in their various fields; China is in the process of building a new reputation for itself.
Low cost production has made China an export powerhouse, now the number one manufacturer and exporter on the planet. While this may have begun with counterfeit electronics, machines with cheap parts, technical and lighting equipment of dubious quality etc., this is no longer the case. Many large Chinese manufacturers have seen the benefit in creating higher-quality branded products and building their own reputation around the world to become leaders in their fields.
In no single industry is this more apparent than with Chinese tyres. A host of well-established firms as well as several relative newcomers to the field have seen the benefit in investing in research and development to boost technological innovation and give their brands an edge over the competition. Global tyre manufacturers like Michelin, Goodyear and Bridgestone have had to suffer a loss in marketshare as an onslaught of Chinese companies push their way onto the growing global market. Fueled by a booming domestic marketing the the ever-developing China and with continual investment back into R&D to upgrade performance, tyre design, and quality, these companies have made a huge impact on the world scene in a veritably short amount of time.
A few of the most notable Chinese tyre brands which you are sure to hear about in the coming years if you havent already are: Triangle Tire, who are now in the top 10 tyre manufacturers in the world and Durun Tyre, one of the largest Chinese tyre manufacturers who produce both car and truck tyres and have their DMack tyres used in the World Rally Championships.
These firms invest billions of renminbi each year into further developing their products, marketing, and global reach which is aiding in further increasing their marketshare. Smaller and less profitable tyre manufacturers in countries with higher taxes and labour costs are struggling to keep up with the Chinese powerhouses and their massive production capacities and we expect the Chinese to increasingly dominate the global market in the coming years.
While many foreign brands have moved their manufacturing facilities to China or other countries where taxes, labour and other production costs are cheaper, they are still unable to keep up with the Chinese firms and their massive and ongoing expansions. Several forward-thinking tyre brands saw the threat coming and have built partnerships with Chinese tyre companies to benefit from their growth and investment in research and development.
Well-known brands like Triangle Tire and Durun as well as lesser known Chinese manufacturers such as Windforce, Landsail and Aufine who strongly focus on continual R&D reinvestment are an perfect example of the way China is changing the way the world perceives their products. No longer will Made in China be seen as a negative, and these successful and innovative companies are the reason why.
In the lands across the Tasman where possums are considered an invasive species and not a protected one, a new technology has been born. The brainchild of the New Zealand based Goodnature team, The Henry possum traps are lightweight units that fire automatically to quickly and humanely kill the problematic animals. In a land where over 30 million possums run rogue, decimating native flora and fauna, the traps have been well accepted.
The lightweight traps automatically fire and reset 12 times; reducing labour costs compared to regular single catch possum traps. This enables more money to be allocated to the purchasing of more traps. The traps are toxin free, and are placed in trees or off the ground where possums dwell. They work by shooting a compressed gas powered, polymer piston into the skull of the animal. This action kills the pest immediately and humanely; the instant the trap is triggered. Once the animal has been struck, the piston retracts and the carcass of the deceased possum drops to the ground. The traps then reset themselves ready to lure in their next victim.
The traps were first tested in 2011 as part of a $4 million pest control initiative announced by the Green Party and the Government in 2010. These traps are effective at killing possums and helping protect the birds and forests that New Zealanders love, said Green Party conservation spokesman Kevin Hague.
Since their inception a few years ago the team at Goodnature have expanded their trap range to work on other pests including rats and stoats, and there is much more potential for further expansion. If its possible to create traps that can specifically target other pests, while not attracting or harming native and protected species then the sky is the limit.
We spoke with a possum removal expert from Brisbane about the potential for the traps in Australia. Possums are a protected species in Australia. She said. So these specific traps would be illegal to use here. However there is definitely scope to expand the same technology to control other pests. If Goodnature could work out a trap that could target rabbits, foxes or even the cane toad, then they would sell like hotcakes!
Rabbits were originally introduced with the First Fleet, and became a problem after an outbreak caused by an 1859 release. Since then they have cause untold billions of dollars damage to crops and land across much of Australias arable regions. Foxes were also release after European settlement, in the 1870s. The reason for this was as a target for recreational hunters. The spread of foxes closely followed the spread of rabbits and today foxes are thought to have spread across most of the mainland south of the tropics and even as far as Tasmania. These pests are a problem because they prey on native wildlife and also farm livestock including calves, lambs, poultry, and goats.
The cane toad problem in Australia needs no introduction, with the story of their invasion and expansion being infamous around the globe. A trap that targets these pests specifically might be a bit more difficult than one for other animals though because there are so many other small animals, reptiles and amphibians that might also be lured into the traps.
In their current form, the Goodnature traps have been used as far away as Hawaii, Puerto Rico and even Sweden. While the current model rat trap already offers significant benefit to Australians in need of respite from pests of that nature that plagues our shores, if their technology can be expanded there is a bright future for its usage here to aid our endangered wildlife and frustrated farmers.
In 2011, the worldwide population exceeded 7 billion. This is well up on the earths population at the beginning of the last century when there were just 1.6 billion people. This rapid rise in human numbers is unprecedented and threatens the very well-being of the planetary systems on which all life depends. As population grows bigger and bigger, there is an increased demand for food, water, housing, and other resources including energy.
The bulk of energy we use comes from non-renewable fossil fuels such as coal, oil or natural gas. We burn these fuels in power stations to make electricity or in combustion engines as transport fuels. The combustion of fossil fuels results to an increased concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere which can then lead to global warming. Much of the easily accessible oil will be gone in 50 years (figure 3) and coal will be scarce in 200 years. As more and more fossil fuels are used those that are the easiest to find will be used up first. As time goes on it will be harder to find new reserves of fuels and the cost of extracting them will increase.
The use of renewable energy sources to provide electricity is rapidly increasing in popularity among proprietors and companies. The increasing use of natural and renewable energy sources is needed to help relieve us of our current dependency on fossil fuels. The significantly high level of fossil fuel products burnt each and every day is polluting of the air and surrounding environments and may also be contributing to climate change.
Renewable energy sources are those that can regenerate in a relatively short time such as solar, hydroelectric, geothermal and wind. All of which harness the earths power without the need to destroy it.
Wind energy, currently the cheapest renewable energy source, involves the generation of electricity from the naturally occurring force of the wind. Sites where there is strong, consistent wind, such as Southern Australia, are the most appropriate locations for wind farms. An excellent wind site is generally considered to deliver average wind speeds larger than 8 metres per second at sea level.
Australia has some of the worlds best wind resources. The total operating wind capacity at the beginning of 2011 was 1991 megawatts. The amount of installed capacity of wind power has increased by an average of 30 per cent a year over the past decade. Wind energy supplies over 5,100 gigawatt hours of electricity annually around 2 per cent of Australias overall electricity needs.
Currently there are 53 operating wind farms in Australia, with a total of 1089 operating turbines. South Australia has the largest installed capacity with around 51 per cent of the nations total wind capacity. In 2010 estimated wind energy generation saved Australia 5,100,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide. That is equivalent to the removal of 1,133,000 cars from our roads. As an additional environmental benefit, no water is needed for wind farm operation.
The use of wind power continues to grow around the world. Global installed capacity at the end of 2010 was almost 194 gigawatts a 22 per cent increase on 2009.
In 2010, around 36 gigawatts of new wind capacity was installed around the world with a value of around $US65 billion.
Wind farms have various societal, commercial, ecological and health implications. The most noticeable impact a wind turbine places upon the people in the surrounding environment is noise pollution. It also has the potential to lower property values within a varying radius of construction. Nina Pierpont, a paediatrician based in New York, conducted a research that suggests that people living close to wind turbines are vulnerable to what she calls Wind Turbine Syndrome (WTS), an illness with symptoms including sleep disorders, heart disease, panic attacks and headaches.
Another disadvantage regarding a wind turbine and its impact on the surrounding environment can be expressed with the term visual impact or visual pollution. Some people believe wind turbines actually look quite nice, yet many people disagree seeing turbines as a scare on the landscape.
Bird deaths are a cause for concern and a key biological issue related to wind turbines. The number of birds that perish at the arms of wind farm sites created an outcry from fishing and wildlife agencies and conservation groups like PETA. On the other hand, several large wind farms have functioned for years with only minor impacts on such wildlife. Also tied in with this matter is the construction of wind turbines. As with many other developments, wind turbines require deep bases, and this has the potential to abolish underground habitations, and disrupt surrounding ones.
Unlike most other generation technologies, wind turbines do not use combustion to generate electricity, and hence dont produce air emissions. The only potentially toxic or hazardous materials are relatively small amounts of lubricating oils and hydraulic and insulating fluids. Therefore, contamination of surface or ground water or soils is highly unlikely. The primary health and safety considerations are related to the movement of the fan blades and the presence of industrial equipment in areas possibly accessible to the community. A supplementary concern associated with wind turbines is potential interference with radar and telecommunication facilities. And like all electrical generating facilities, wind generators produce electric and magnetic fields.
One of the limitations of wind power is that consistent wind is needed for continuous power generation. If wind speed decreases, the turbine lingers and less electricity is generated.
Even though wind power has minor disadvantages it is still an excellent alternative to fossil fuels. Wind power produces no pollution that can contaminate the environment, since no chemical processes take place, unlike in burning of fossil fuels, in wind power generation, there are no harmful by-product left over. Also, since wind power is a renewable source of energy, it will always be available for use and the world will never run out of it. Wind farms can also be built off-shore. Farming and grazing can still take place on land occupied by wind turbines which can help in the production of biofuels. By using renewable energy sources such as wind power were able to make the remaining oil, gas and coal supplies last longer.
The initial investment of wind turbines can be expensive, yet it is capable of paying for themselves over the years of operation. Government grants are also available to households and businesses switching to renewable energy system.
The current and prospective policy environments within which a wind farm is operating are central to the effectiveness and competitiveness with which it operates. Direct support through subsidisation or favourable tax policies or indirect support for renewables from costs imposed on greenhouse gas emissions will enhance the competitiveness of wind energy. In Australia growth of wind energy is favoured by the Renewable Energy Target, proposed reductions in carbon emissions and the new proposed carbon tax.
The Renewable Energy Target (RET) scheme was implemented by the Government in August 2009. RET is designed to deliver on the Governments commitment to ensure that 20 per cent of Australias electricity supply will come from renewable resources by 2020. In ten years time the amount of electricity coming from sources like solar, wind and geothermal will be around the same as all of Australias current household electricity use.
The carbon tax has had an adverse effect on the growth of wind energy. The Carbon tax taxes sources which emit carbon dioxide. Carbon taxes address a negative externality. Externalities arise when an individual production or consumption activity imposes costs or benefits on others. By placing a cost on these negative externalities the underlying purpose of a carbon tax is to reduce emissions of carbon dioxide and thereby slow global warming. It will be executed by taxing the burning of fossil fuels like coal, petroleum products such as petrol and aviation fuel, and natural gas like CSGin proportion to how much carbon they add to the atmosphere.
Other current management policy of wind farms is identifying suitable locations for wind energy facilities, it should not lead to unacceptable impacts on critical environmental, cultural or landscape values.
Although wind farms have quite significant negative impacts on the surrounding environment, I would still support the increased use of wind power, as long as wind farms are sited, designed and managed so they do not harm birds and their habitats.
The wind industry and government agencies should sponsor research into collisions, relevant bird and bat behaviour, mitigation measures, and appropriate study design protocols. In addition, project developers should be required to collect data through monitoring efforts at existing and proposed wind energy sites. Careful site selection is needed to minimize fatalities and in some cases additional research may be needed to address bird and bat impact issues. Landscape and cultural heritage values of the land should be considered also when identifying suitable sites for wind energy. It is recommended that wind turbines should be built at least 2 kilometers (a little over a mile) away from peoples homes
Government agencies should also sponsor medical research into the illness called Wind Turbine Syndrome. Project developers should be required to collect data through monitoring people living at close proximity to wind turbines.
Other improvements can also be made to address issues concerning wind power generation/wind farms such as the government continuing to provide sponsorship in investing more into wind farms and continuing to provide incentives and rebates to encourage individual households to invest in wind energy and other renewable energy resource.
A new way to cater for the increased demand of energy can be ecologically sustainable, and that is generating renewable clean energy from the wind.
For a market that is often perceived to be demure, or even dull, the commercial tapware industry has seen a huge improvement in technology over the past few decades. Spurred on by industry, political, and environmental pressures to improve water efficiency, tap and sink designers have created products that deserve far more praise than they have received. This is mainly due to the fact that most people find commercial taps and tapware an uninteresting topic, but for those of us with an interest in fluid mechanics, technology, and contemporary design, recent advancements in water flow technologies can be described as nothing short of fascinating.
Upgrades from the traditional commercial tap units began in the 90s with simple mechanical on off switches that allowed users to control the flow of water with their foot, knee or hip as they washed their hands or performed whatever task they needed to in the sink. This step up from the standard turn on/off taps was hailed as a godsend for many industries where the use of a hand to turn the tap on or off was seen as a major inconvenience. As well as in commercial kitchens, these taps were also quickly adopted for usage in many higher end restaurants and bar bathrooms where they were seen as an ideal way to reduce the spread of germs.
Hands free taps also offered benefit through ease of use (once users had initially learned how to operate the unit), to prevent excessive water overflow, and to save water, which equated to saving money. Increasing prices of utilities like water have increased to demand for water saving devices and has been a continual driver of new technologies. After the success of hands-free commercial taps, many designers looked toward newer technologies for the next big thing in tapware design.
Like in so many other industries, the reduction in prices for chipsets and sensors allowed for the development of a new wave of tapware in the form of infrared sensor taps. This next generation of commercial tapware offered even more mobility for users while turning on the flow of water, allowing them free use of all limbs while workings. Electronic sensors also mean an even greater reduction in waste-water, with water only flowing when something is in the vicinity of the sensor ready to utilize the release of water.
While originally introduced for hand basins and commercial sink applications, electronic sensors have also shown to be quite popular for commercial toilet and urinal applications. Ongoing improvements have to sensor controlled fixtures have increase water efficiency and offered even greater cost savings. While sensor taps and toilets cost a slight premium over standard or traditional units, they offer many advantages and the cost savings can often be made back in as little as 3 months. Water savings are obviously greater in high use industries and cost savings can be phenomenal when used for the right applications.
Continual improvements by the leaders in commercial taps, sinks and kitchen design will reduce water consumption and wastage even further. While sensor taps have been a boon for cost saving there are still a plethora of potential improvements we can expect to see over the coming years that make this technology even more environmentally friendly. As the technology becomes even more mainstream, expect to see it being increasingly used for residential applications as well.