Always interesting to see the new products flowing from the various IC manufacturers and the impact on the product development world. It certainly is true that there is a 'a chicken or the egg' process going on and it seems as if the real world product development cycle is spiral! As a design engineer of more years than I care to count, it is amazing what we can do today with lower cost, fewer parts, better performance - the whole 9 yards. Absolutely makes you want to grab a new challenge and go for it!
Speaking to the 'penny wise, pound foolish' comment - amen, brother.
I think I would add the thought that 'penny wise, pound foolish' is not only applicable to giving up research to save a buck but also to giving up design to our out-of-country brethren.
Brushed DC motors were always more popular among appliance manufacturers and automakers because of cost advantages. But it looks like advances in control and efficiency are finally changing that, and enabling manufacturers to take advantage of brushless. Based on the fact that TI was hosting the event, I can only assume that electronic control is playing a big role in this change.
Many companies disinvested in research during the recession. It's good to see that TI is still relying on the fruits of its Kilby lab to seed important new products. Cutting research is penny wise and pound foolish. At the same time, I've always wondered about the important ideas which have essentially been wasted because of research which never led to productization. I'm not saying here that all research needs to lead to products, which obviously doesn't make sense, because a) not all product ideas are economically viable and b) not all research has as its output a product.
What I am saying, and what distresses me, is that research in an academic setting always leads to output (papers) which shares the work with others in the same disclipine. In commercial research, that's not always the case because businesses have a proprietary interest in keeping things under wraps. Hence, scientists elsewhere can't build on the work of someone in a commercial lab who can't publish.
What should be the perception of a product’s real-world performance with regard to the published spec sheet? While it is easy to assume that the product will operate according to spec, what variables should be considered, and is that a designer obligation or a customer responsibility? Or both?
Biomimicry has already found its way into the development of robots and new materials, with researchers studying animals and nature to come up with new innovations. Now thanks to researchers in Boston, biomimicry could even inform the future of electrical networks for next-generation displays.
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