In spite of the incredible advances in semiconductor integration levels, there are still numerous components that are not integrated. Passives are right at the top of that list. High value capacitors, low value resistors, and all sizes of inductors are very difficult to obtain in integrated circuit technology. This challenges manufacturers of these components to differentiate their products by meeting or exceeding the performance requirements of increasingly challenging application requirements. For example, in portable devices the size must shrink but the values cannot. In addition, the packaging for passive components must be compatible with the assembly technology used for the end product. In more and more instances, this dictates surface mount technology (SMT). Other requirements for passives are similar to those for all electronic circuitry, such as meeting regionally legislated requirements such as lead-free material per Directive 2002/95/EC for Reduction of Hazardous Substances (RoHS). Coping with these requirements for inductors, resistors, and capacitors imposes greater cost challenges than other components.
This section includes some products that work intimately with semiconductors and ICs to simplify the ways that users can handle more difficult or delicate components. These ICs also improve the thermal conductivity to boost power-handling capability of power semiconductors and ICs. The capacitors, inductors, and resistors support trends of smaller size, higher power, and SMT assembly, many products targeting all three trends simultaneously.
These new 3D-printing technologies and printers include some that are truly boundary-breaking: a sophisticated new sub-$10,000, 10-plus materials bioprinter, the first industrial-strength silicone 3D-printing service, and a clever twist on 3D printing and thermoforming for making high-quality realistic models.
Ear-based heart-rate monitoring gained momentum recently, as sensor maker Valencell Inc. announced it has licensed its biometric earpiece technology to Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd for use in so-called “hearable devices.”
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