Look for a pronounced slowdown in economic growth in 1998. That's the prediction presented by Reed Elsevier Business Economics (formerly Cahners Economics) in its "Economics Outlook for 1998." The report sees GDP rising by an inflation-adjusted 2.3% in 1998 from the heady 3.7% 1997 level. Moreover, interest rates should be somewhat higher this year, as the Federal Reserve Board "pursues a marginally tighter monetary policy." Three major trends bear watching during 1998, the report warns. All will have some moderating influence on the U.S. economy's growth potential: a pronounced slowdown in the growth rate of business investment spending; high levels of consumer debt, particularly installment debt; and an uptick in inflation brought about by increased average wage demands resulting from historically low levels of unemployment. On the industrial front, Reed Elsevier expects only moderate growth in 1998. Output gains will increase 3.4%, with capacity utilization declining modestly to 82.7% (from 1997's average of about 83%). U.S.-based international trade should continue to make an important contribution to the overall growth in GDP, say the Reed Elsevier economists, expanding by a solid 8.3% this year. To obtain a copy of the report, phone (800) 662-7776.
Robots that walk have come a long way from simple barebones walking machines or pairs of legs without an upper body and head. Much of the research these days focuses on making more humanoid robots. But they are not all created equal.
The IEEE Computer Society has named the top 10 trends for 2014. You can expect the convergence of cloud computing and mobile devices, advances in health care data and devices, as well as privacy issues in social media to make the headlines. And 3D printing came out of nowhere to make a big splash.
For industrial control applications, or even a simple assembly line, that machine can go almost 24/7 without a break. But what happens when the task is a little more complex? That’s where the “smart” machine would come in. The smart machine is one that has some simple (or complex in some cases) processing capability to be able to adapt to changing conditions. Such machines are suited for a host of applications, including automotive, aerospace, defense, medical, computers and electronics, telecommunications, consumer goods, and so on. This discussion will examine what’s possible with smart machines, and what tradeoffs need to be made to implement such a solution.