|Disruptive Engineering is about technologies that will drive the electronics industry this year. The blog features your nominations of enabling technologies and applications that you believe could change the way we work or play, or something that you think will affect most electronics projects in 2013.|
2013 - Jan.
Posted: 09:39:13 AM, 04/01/2013
Technology vents creativity, pushes entrepreneurship
EE Times Asia is going around asking engineers like yourself to talk about a technology or an application of a technology that you feel will affect us the most—the way we work, play and live our lives.
To get the ball rolling, I decided to first post my nomination and realized that it's not an easy task. If you get starry-eyed like me reading about the latest from the labs or pine for the newest gizmo, the job just gets tougher.
I've had to put aside a breakthrough in genetic engineering that's created the first coconut-flavoured pineapple. It's a game-changer for cocktails—it cuts the inventory required for making, say Piña Coladas, by a third! But the impact of this technology on engineers may not be desired by all.
I also had to reject my wife's suggestion of a robotic vacuum cleaner even though the algorithms they use are neat work—it's been around for some time and keeps getting better.
There are other worthy contenders, like FinFETs and in-memory computing to name a few, and I'm sure some of you may elect them as the key technologies for 2013. And indeed they will be important technologies this year. My favourite, however, is 3D printing.
The technology is currently at a stage where individuals and small-to-medium enterprises can use polymers to manufacture fairly complex designs. While there's a good choice for printing with various types of polymers, metal printing is also evolving and there's early research into tissue (yes, the human kind!) printing. The companies behind the printers are already targeting their products at consumer electronics, electric vehicle, medical, toy and repair/servicing segments.
Think rapid prototyping and just-in-time manufacturing. Think hospitals printing out not just custom prosthetics and hearing aids but implantable tissue. Think UAV parts for defence, and cellular phone cases and camera parts for the consumer. Think automotive parts… But those are not the only reasons this technology wins my vote. As 3D printing lowers the cost of prototyping and small-batch manufacturing, I believe it has the potential for lowering barriers to entrepreneurship in Asia. Think new products. Think empowering engineers.
Here's a smattering of companies, although there are many more in this field: 3D Systems Corp., Stratasys Ltd (they acquired Objet last month; they have several companies, including the printing service provider, RedEye), Mcor Technologies, Solido3D and Asiga. There are also several companies that cater to 3D printing at a personal level, such as Afinia, 3D Systems' Cubify (above), Airwolf 3D, PP3DP, Makerbot and Printrbot. There are several printing service providers as well; a company called Shapeways even offers a community and a platform for you to sell your designs.
If you don't agree with my nomination, express your disagreement by sending in your own nomination at email@example.com. Here are the rules of play:
1. Describe and justify your nomination in 300-500 words. You can write about a technology someone else has developed, but if you feel you have a winner in something you or your colleagues developed, go ahead and let everyone know about it.
2. Include citations, such as who developed the technology or is developing it, and source of market data if you are quoting any.
3. Tell us about yourself in about 50 words and include your full name, current job title, company name and a JPEG photo.
Oh! Do send your entries early. We are accepting entries until Feb.28, 2013.
If you do agree with my nomination, you can still participate: just let me know what you think in the comments section below.
Happy New Year!
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