The quiet days of summer are a chance to catch up on the reading and thinking which is so difficult to do during busier times. It is finally a chance to read in detail the Knowledge Transfer Network's useful publication from December 2015 on the The State of the Art Review of Smart Materials - A Review of Metamaterials in the UK.
Whilst predating SYMETA this captures the backdrop against which SYMETA was conceived. It outlines the evolution of metamaterials by focusing on the work of four UK universities including SYMETA collaborators: the University of Exeter and Queen Mary University London.
Reading the report retrospectively has been interesting especially when mapping SYMETA against the summaries of the report's key findings. The report's summary findings are detailed below together with SYMETA's planned contribution.
Strengths lie in the UK's broad university base coupled with world-class industrial research in the aerospace sector and the development of particular applications by other industries.
Academic research could be better targeted and arguably better co-ordinated between universities.
Work still needs to be done to increase the general understanding of the benefits of this technology.
The time it takes for disruptive applications to mature is also problematic.
Opportunities include the breadth of applications, some early exploitation opportunities and synergistic process and fabrication development opportunities.
The UK lags behind other countries, which are ahead when it comes to developing and exploiting metamaterials.
A lack of clarity, fed by media interest, about what precisely qualifies as a metamaterial can confuse matters.
So if you want to read something more interesting than the latest blockbuster on the beach this summer reach for this report.