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.
BMW has already incorporated more than 10,000 3D-printed parts in the Rolls-Royce Phantom and intends to expand the use of 3D printing in its cars even more in the future. Meanwhile, Daimler has started using additive manufacturing for producing spare parts in Mercedes-Benz Trucks.
Researchers have been developing a number of nano- and micro-scale technologies that can be used for implantable medical technology for the treatment of disease, diagnostics, prevention, and other health-related applications.
SABIC's lightweighting polycarbonate glazing materials have appeared for the first time in a production car: the rear quarter window of Toyota's special edition 86 GRMN sports car, where they're saving 50% of its weight compared to conventional glass.
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