Since any controller is only as good as its inputs, sensors continue to play a critical role in advanced control applications. To address increasingly tough system requirements, manufacturers are tackling new designs on multiple fronts. From the semiconductor side, integrated sensors take advantage of the design and manufacturing capabilities in that industry. These sensors combine integrated circuitry with sensing elements to make acceleration, position, angle, speed, and gyroscope measurements, among others.
Semiconductor sensors cannot solve every sensing need so other suppliers approach sensor designs with different advanced technologies. These technologies including Hall effect, inductive, temperature, laser displacement, ultrasonic sensors, and photoelectric detectors to solve a variety of measurement problems. Some of these approaches rely heavily on semiconductor components, but the end solution is typically a complete electronic assembly. Programmable signal conditioner ICs simplify the design of those electronic modules.
Last year at Hannover Fair, lots of people were talking about Industry 4.0. This is a concept that seems to have a different name in every region. I’ve been referring to it as the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT), not to be confused with the plain old Internet of Things (IoT). Others refer to it as the Connected Industry, the smart factory concept, M2M, data extraction, and so on.
Some of the biggest self-assembled building blocks and structures made from engineered DNA have been developed by researchers at Harvard's Wyss Institute. The largest, a hexagonal prism, is one-tenth the size of an average bacterium.
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