Last week I attended the Atlantic Design and Manufacturing Show at the Javits Center in NYC. There are similar shows around the country, and if you are interested in cutting edge technology that may have possible applications to conservation, they are well worth attending.
I noticed a couple of interesting items; super-fast absorbent sponges designed for Ophthalmic applications, sub $200 ( 10-70x) USB microscopes, and a very cool, open source 3d printer for less than $1000. Three dimensional printers can print virtually anything, in this case up to 100 x 100 x 100mm out of ABS, HDPE or PLA plastic.
But perhaps the most useful offer came from Gil Zweig, President of Glenbrook Technologies Inc. He has invented a patented, real time, MXRA x-ray machine with magnification up to 20x. If you have a bit of money left over in your budget, he sells a desktop machine for about $39,000. Or you can rent lab time for $250/ hr in his Randolph NJ location. He is primarily marketing his services for medical, industrial and forensic applications, but seemed interested in expanding his market to conservators, and offered a free hour on the machine if you have an artifact than needs x-rayed.