The 2004 midterm semiconductor forecast published by Future Horizons shows that the semiconductor market will see a 32-percent growth in the rest of 2004 and a further 28-percent growth in 2005, which would make it a $282 billion dollar industry. Future Horizons, while acknowledging that its forecasts could be high, contend that their predictions should hold true only if the economy grows at the current predicted 4-4.6 percent. Meanwhile, the European market is going in the opposite direction of the rest of the global market as Future Horizons has reported a $40 billion trade deficit in Europe.
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.