Home & LifestyleJune 18, 2024

5 items with more tech behind them than you might think

From sneakers to soda bottles, there’s technology behind nearly every product we purchase, even if it’s not so obvious.
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Avatar Shoshana Kranish

It’s safe to say nearly every aspect of our lives today is integrated with some type of technology. Whether it’s an iPhone alarm that wakes you up in the morning or the coffee maker pre-programmed to brew a perfect cup of joe once you get out of bed, there’s tech at every touchpoint. But even the most mundane items we use every day have more technology behind them than you might think. 

Consider these five goods: 

Beauty products

Cosmetic and skincare goods are notoriously complicated to produce. The formulation and testing processes are laborious, but the complexity doesn’t end there. Packaging these goods requires considering how materials like plastic and glass will interact with the product inside. Some serums and creams with Vitamin C, for example, require a dark glass exterior to shield the goods from light exposure, which can cause oxidation and render the product useless. Maintaining a relatively consistent temperature inside the packaging can also be tricky since extreme heat or cold can alter a good’s chemical formulation and reduce its effects. 

Designing packaging that achieves all these goals and looks appealing to consumers requires a lot of technology behind the scenes. Manufacturers leverage virtual twins for formulation and packaging needs, using digital renderings of their products to understand how certain bottles will react to stimuli and how best to preserve their contents despite different types of exposure. 

Beauty items require significant technology to produce - Dassault Systemes blog

Soda bottles 

A few years back, Coca-Cola announced that Sprite’s iconic green bottles would be phased out in favor of clear plastic ones. The rationale was that clear bottles, compared to colored ones, are easier to reuse in a similar fashion. Instead of breaking down the plastic and turning it into something completely new, it could be used as a bottle again. 

But changing the color of the plastic isn’t as simple as it might sound. Just like with beauty and skincare items, the shade of a package and its translucency can significantly affect the contents, including their shelf life and even taste. Instead of setting out bottles for a few months to see how they fare when made of a different material, companies can use virtual modeling software to conduct the same tests digitally and get the insights they need faster. 

Sofas 

If tech isn’t what comes to mind when you think of furniture, you’re not alone. And while 3D modeling software has for decades enabled the virtual design of chairs and beds, there are other ways of deploying technology in developing these goods. 

Consider the humble sofa. A layered good, it needs to have structural integrity so it doesn’t collapse under the weight of its users, but it also needs to be plush enough to be inviting to sit on. The fabrics, materials and fillers need to be able to withstand changing temperatures – and washing machines, potentially – and manufacturers need to understand how they’ll interact with one another. 

A sneaker being designed with 3D technology - Dassault Systemes blog

Sneakers

Just like couches, shoes are a layered product requiring different raw components combined to produce an item with structural integrity. They’ll undergo significant wear and tear and be exposed to weather, including rain, mud, heat and more. 

Unlike sofas, though, footwear needs to be lightweight enough so that the wearer isn’t forced to literally drag their feet along. Most sneakers are comprised of a variety of materials, including carbon fiber, foam, leather and nylon, which can make maintaining a low weight even more complex. Add in ensuring all those fabrics hold up in the same way over a period of time and you’ve got quite the task on your hands. Oh, and they should be cute, too. 

Developing a sneaker that does what it needs to while looking the way consumers want it to requires some technological investment. Understanding which materials get the job done and how long they’ll hold up under different conditions is a job best done virtually. Mapping a shoe’s components in a digital rendering allows designers to mold creativity and necessity together to produce an optimal product. 

Perishable food items 

Refrigerated foods require technology in two ways. First, their packaging needs to be designed to maintain their optimal temperature. That means designing boxes, bags, cartons and more with the right thickness and insulation to keep the cold in and the heat out. Second, transporting those goods between a factory and the shelves of a grocery store needs to be carefully mapped out and optimized so the food doesn’t risk spoilage during the journey. Leveraging a solution like DELMIA’s logistics software enables swift delivery operations and planning with integrated optimization features. 

The technological footprint in everyday items stretches far beyond our usual suspects like smartphones and laptops. From the sneakers on your feet to the soda in your fridge, and even the sofa you sit on, technology plays a pivotal role in their development, production and packaging. This integration of tech ensures not only the quality and longevity of products but also their appeal and functionality for consumers.

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