LAKE LAS VEGAS, NEV. — Willem De Vos, the CEO of the Society of Plastics Engineers, took a Plastics News Executive Forum audience on a wild ride into the future.
“The speed of change has been increasing dramatically,” De Vos said.
The number of new products developed from 2004 to 2013 equals the amount from 1900 to 1999, he said. One reason: The growth of “open-source” technical knowledge. Tesla Motors Inc. is sharing its patents on electric vehicles. The world of plastics research gets few headlines, but that is changing too.
“Today the professor with his university of organization comes to us and says to SPE … the journal has to be open to the world,” De Vos said.
In a series of slides, De Vos talked:
Smartphones of the future made of 1 millimeter-thick plastic sheet from conductive polymers. You could fold them up.
Plastic contact lenses integrated with electronics to project images onto your eyes.
Robots that can walk and perform household tasks. He showed videos of Honda's walking, talking and even running humanoid robot, called Asimo.
Driverless cars, structural composites in cars, and cars like India's Mahindra e20 microcar sporting a thermoformed plastic body.
In the medical sector, a robotic arm to replace a human one. Organize made by 3-D printing.
De Vos pitched SPE as a source of technical knowledge. “We're the only large and global organization that covers the whole world,” he said.