From wireless sensor networks to new plastics to energy harvesting, the array of technologies of interest to the design news community is advancing at a pace we haven't seen in years.
Our friends at EETimes put together their list of the top 20 areas they see as big movers in 2012. We've pared out the EE- and silicon-specific stuff like white-space radios and 4G communications networks to come up with our selection of the cutting-edge spheres to watch. All will offer both challenges and new options in the upcoming 12 months.
Click the image below to view our gallery of the top 12 hot design technologies of 2012:
MEMS is really six or seven sub-domains, many of which have products with high growth numbers.
They include: environmental sensors such as pressure and humidity sensors and silicon microphones; inertial sensors including accelerometers and gyroscopes; inkjets and microfluidics; microactuators including micromirror devices and displays; RF MEMS; micro-opto-electromechanical systems (MOEMS); bioelectronic probes and substrates.
Shown in the picture is MEMSIC's no-moving-parts MEMS accelerometer, which uses a heater to raise the temperature of a central column of air, while thermocouples around the edge indicate acceleration as a change in temperature.
Most items have the tags in the packaging. And Walmart for one, mandates supplies use them for inventory control. Problem is that I retain my boxes, at least until the warrenty expires. Of course, placing a box for a 60" TV out for trash pickup lets everyone in your neighborhood know who got a new toy.
Steve - Did your class happen to mention the best way of dealing with those RFID tags? Are these the ones that are in the boxes to prevent shoplifting (so its just a matter of finding and destoying, or are these tags in the new TV's themselves?
I agree Jerry. a lot of the Internet of Things is technology looking for a problem. Some things -- like checking the expiration date on milk -- are better done analog. Like the smart thermostat hat learns your patterns. Is it that hard to turn the heat down when you'll be at work, then turning it back up when you get home?
I agree., I have no interest ijn having RFID tags on everything I own. I took a wireless security class, and one of the things mentioned was some theives were driving around with RFID readers trying to find homes with new televisions. Imagine if they could also hack into your home and shut off all lights before a home invasion? Just because it is possible to do something does not mean we should,
Taking that one step further, Alex, I don't think a lot of consumers see the need for the Internet of Things. I have wireless access in my house, of course, but I see absolutely no need for my refrigerator to be on it. I've seen the ads for those that can keep track of what you have, make shopping lists and download recipes, but I don't need any of that. And after reading all of the monkey-designed washer articles, I SURE don't want anything else for them to get their hands on.
The internet of things does not seem to be taking off in the U.S. the way one would think, given its hype. I think in part this is the expense of adding Internet connectivity to small appliances, but more than that, it's a lack of Internet connectivity on the receiving (receptacle) end in legacy U.S. households. I don't know where the economic impetus will come from to fill in this hole. It's doable; you'd kind of need to deploy PoE (Power over Ethernet). But the numbers just don't work the way they did for, say, cable TV.
Yes, it would have to be on a voluntary basis. Those who want to use the service would be motivated to make sure the tags stay in place. Privacy -- at least on some level -- is a generational concern. Facebook's Mark Zukerberg claims privacy isn’t important to people his age. He backed off that statement when attacked, but nonetheless, he revealed his view and he very well may be right.
That may change as kids get older and find out prospective employers have learned to examine the Facebook sites of candidates.
Tracking via RFID tags on consumer products is a potentially iffy proposition, at least if companies expect to track their products in people's homes. This is because some people tear off the tags as soon as they get the product home, due to privacy concerns.
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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