Increases in industrial R&D are the highest recorded since the early 1980s, according to a report to Congress by the National Science Board. Expenditures on R&D performed in the U.S. exceeded $200 billion for the first time in 1997. All three categories of R&D funding--basic research, applied research, and development--are at their highest levels in both current and constant dollars. Profit-making companies are responsible for all of the growth. Last year industrial firms spent $3 out of every $4 invested in R&D in the U.S. Federal R&D funding, especially for defense research, has fallen almost continuously in real terms for a decade. The report attributes the gain in industrial investment to stiff global competition, the surge in information technology, and record profits. The electrical equipment industry exhibited the highest percentage rise.
According to a study by the National Institute of Standards and Technology, one of the factors in the collapse of the original World Trade Center towers on Sept. 11, 2001, was the reduction in the yield strength of the steel reinforcement as a result of the high temperatures of the fire and the loss of thermal insulation.
Robots are getting more agile and automation systems are becoming more complex. Yet the most impressive development in robotics and automation is increased intelligence. Machines in automation are increasingly able to analyze huge amounts of data. They are often able to see, speak, even imitate patterns of human thinking. Researchers at European Automation
call this deep learning.
The promise of the Internet of Things (IoT) is that devices, gadgets, and appliances we use every day will be able to communicate with one another. This potential is not limited to household items or smartphones, but also things we find in our yard and garden, as evidenced by a recent challenge from the element14 design community.
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.