It looks like machine vision systems became even more popular last year. The North American machine vision market grew 14.4 percent to more than $1,517 million, according to the Quarterly Machine Vision Report from Vision Systems International (VSI). Nello Zuech, VSI's president, attributes a big chunk of that growth to application-specific "turnkey" systems, particularly those used in semiconductor manufacturing. "Capital spending in the semiconductor market grew about 20 percent last year, and machine vision sales into that market grew proportionally," Zuech says, adding that semiconductor manufacturing typically accounts for 20 to 25 percent of the total machine vision market. The market for configurable, general-purpose machine vision products grew by a smaller amount last year–by 4.6 percent to $331.7 million. Looking ahead to this year, Zuech expects that capital spending in semiconductor, automotive and other key industries won't be high enough to drive any additional machine vision growth in North America. "The market will most likely be flat in 2007, which isn't so bad given that 2006 was a really good year," he says.
The engineers and inventors of the post WWII period turned their attention to advancements in electronics, communication, and entertainment. Breakthrough inventions range from LEGOs and computer gaming to the integrated circuit and Ethernet -- a range of advancements that have little in common except they changed our lives.
Neil Fromer is the executive director of the Resnick Institute, a program for energy and sustainability at the California Institute of Technology, working to develop new ideas and research technologies related to providing a sustainable future. He spoke to us about the severity of the current drought in California and how solar energy can help prevent such situations in the future.
From home enthusiasts to workers on the manufacturing floor, everyone's imagination is captured by the potential of 3D printing. Prototyping, spare parts creation, art delivery, human organ creation, and even mass product production are all being targeted as current and potential uses for the technology.
Focus on Fundamentals consists of 45-minute on-line classes that cover a host of technologies. You learn without leaving the comfort of your desk. All classes are taught by subject-matter experts and all are archived. So if you can't attend live, attend at your convenience.