Going down the line regarding project management and no longer being able to "throw it over the wall" so to speak. Now more then ever engineers are asked to work with materials, purchasing, tooling, electrical. It's no longer a job where the mechanical engineer can just work on the mechanical side of the design. Quite often when it doesn't work, no matter who messed up, the fault line ends in the design cubical.
As for working for the accountants, I agree that everyone is a lot more cost conscience than ever before but I think the design still needs to be owned. And not leased to some other department for a cost savings. Engineers need to step up and not let low cost consepts ruin the reliability and functionality of the design that is expected by the consumer.
I would think another big change in the engineering profession, expecially in electronics, is the challenge of envronmental compliance. Deisgn is the front line on meeting compliance regulations. This includes everything from RoHS and REACH to lifecycle issues and design for green disposal. The regulations are in constant flux, and many products have to be designed to comply with differing laws across the globe.
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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