Chipmaker STMicroelectronics is joining in the race to develop fuel cells for portable equipment. Its Geneva, Switzerland, research center has developed a 3D technique for making the membranes found in fuel cells. Using nanoporous layers made from silicon provides millions of pores that measure only a few nanometers in diameter, yielding more surface area for chemical reactions to take place. No commercialization date has been sent.
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.