Components makers integration functions that were previously separate into microcontrollers and other key aspects of the automation system to make them easier to deploy and manage. This controller from Advantech is an example of that trend.
I know what you mean, Chuck, I feel the same way about a lot of things. I always use the smartphone as an example. But I guess at the time, it made sense to just have a phone for talking...and then a music player for music...and a GPS for GPS. So using that logic, it shows why functions might be separate. But I completely agree with you.
Coming from a mostly-electronics perspective, as I do, integrating functions does seem like a no-brainer. But a lot of control and automation mechanisms are, or have been, not easily integrated with electronics and/or driven by proprietary, closed software, like PLCs. So integration of functions there is happening a lot more slowly.
At this year's MD&M West show, lots of material suppliers are talking about new formulations for wearables and things that stick to the skin, whether it's adhesives, wound dressings, skin patches and other drug delivery devices, or medical electronics.
The US Congress has extended an important tax credit for solar energy, a move that’s good news for future investments in this type of alternative energy and for many stakeholders in the solar industry.
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