Electronics Manufacturing – What Will 2013 Hold?

Posted on Jan 8, 2013 in Blog | Comments Off

In the electronics manufacturing world the quest for new products and technologies is relentless.

Here are a couple of new developments that caught the eye of the team at Ability Tec.

Wearable electronics devices were in the news in December with researchers in Switzerland claiming to have reached a breakthrough in overcoming the problems of elasticity and stretch:

According to Reuters, it could lead to a revolution in wearable electronic devices. The key was to develop material that mimics the action of tendons in the human body, while at the same ensuring that the circuits are protected from being damaged by the movement.

Meanwhile in the US a start-up recently announced details of a sensor-equipped skullcap that will monitor impacts to the head in contact sports

The U.S. engineering team has developed material in which silicon chips are “sandwiched” in a flexible polymer material and connected to wires in what looks like a concertina formation, giving at least 60 percent elasticity.

The development of 3-D printing will continue to be a big story in 2013 and The Economist reports that a UK based academic at the University of Warwick has made a prototype that can print electronic circuits much cheaper than the large scale but still experimental devices which use so-called exotic inks based on silver and carbon nano-tubes.

The applications for the Warwick device are still some way into the future but you can guarantee that the thinking will find a use in devices that we at Ability Tec one day hope to manufacture.

It may be that some of those devices will include communications devices such as phones and tablets and in the US the question of the safety of these devices on planes has raised its head again.

Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is pushing for wider in-flight use of electronic portable devices during airplane flights.

FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski has written to the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to “enable greater use of tablets, e-readers, and other portable devices” during flights.

There is no word yet on whether the European equivalent bodies will consider relaxing rules on the use of the kind of devices and of course it remains a controversial subject. Everyone has sat next to someone on the train who seems to like to tell everyone that “I’m on the train” and a flight has been one place you can escape – until that is you are desperate to make an urgent phone call….

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