Not everything's going digital. As designers embed microcontrollers in more and more products, demand is increasing for analog chips. Reason: Analog circuits convert human input into digital 1s and 0s that digital circuits can process. They also take digital output and convert it back to analog signals that people can understand, such as audio and video. "We are in the middle of the second analog revolution," says Pat Brockett, executive vice president of National Semiconductor's Analog Products Group. "Analog and mixed-signal are the key technologies that connect people in the real world to the digital domain." The global market for analog products is expected to increase 18% from $19.6 billion to $23.1 billion this year, according to the World Semiconductor Trade Statistics.
In an age of globalization and rapid changes through scientific progress, two of our societies' (and economies') main concerns are to satisfy the needs and wishes of the individual and to save precious resources. Cloud computing caters to both of these.
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.