In the futuristic world of Minority Report, billboards call Tom Cruise out by name to get his attention. Sounds far-fetched? Maybe not. Engineers here in the U.S. would likely balk at getting a message on their Blackberry from a vendor company. But we're hearing that some electronics companies increasingly are using text messaging to get the word out on new products to design engineers in Asia, particularly in countries like Japan, Korea, and Taiwan, where engineers rely more on the web for getting information. "They surf websites, subscribe to electronics newsletters, and also attend on-line seminars," says Greta Pang, a Motorola employee based in Hong Kong. Engineers in China, though, prefer to get their new product info from print trade magazines. "They like reading the application articles and technology stories," observes Pang. And there's no spam.
Unlike industrial robots, which suffered a slight overall slump in 2012, service robots continue to be increasingly in demand. The majority are used for defense, such as unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs); and agriculture, such as milking robots.
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