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Whether it's comment on a recent story, a slightly irreverent look at the latest news or an expression of complete disbelief, New Electronics' editorial team brings you its views on the latest from the electronics industry, putting these developments into context.

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Wood you believe it? Compost your components!

Until the advent of the EU’s REACH and RoHS Directives, electrical and electronics manufacturers faced few restrictions on what they could use in their products. Cadmium was a popular ingredient – such as in NiCd batteries – but is now listed specifically in RoHS. Similarly, polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) were widely used in manufacturing processes, as well as in components, but are now restricted tightly.

Demand for electronics engineers grows, but more work to be done

The UK’s electronics industry is going ‘from strength to strength’, according to job board CV-Library, which claims the number of vacancies has increased by almost 16% compared to this time last year. Not only are there more vacancies, but the salaries offered are also 3.7% higher – with the UK average currently running at 1.3%.

Remembering the industrial strategy in the hoo-ha

Prime Minister Theresa May’s call for a snap General Election will see the political fur flying over the next few weeks. While Brexit will undoubtedly dominate the debate, a wide range of issues remains of interest to the UK’s electorate, including the embryonic industrial strategy.

Is EUV finally joining the party?

The development of extreme ultraviolet lithography (EUV) technology has been an interesting process. Originally intended for production use at the 32nm, ‘technical issues’ have kept it on the sidelines for the last decade.

If they could only turn back time …

Toshiba’s recent woes started in 2015, when it became engulfed in an accounting scandal. It turned out that profits had been overstated by some $2billion during the previous seven years simply because the management’s challenging targets could only be met by ‘creative accounting’.

Is Tesla really worth more than Ford and General Motors?

Last week, Tesla, the company best known for its electric cars, saw its stock valuation jump – leaving this 15 year old company, headed by the tycoon and futurist Elon Musk, valued at more than $49billion. By comparison, industry stalwarts Ford and General Motors saw their valuations take a tumble. Ford, which sells 6.6mn cars a year compared to Tesla’s 76,000, saw its valuation slump to $46bn.

Robots bad! Robots good?

A report from the International Bar Association has suggested that artificial intelligence and robotics will ultimately upend traditional ways of working and will likely result in governments legislating for quotas of human workers. In turn, as a result, current legal frameworks regulating employment and safety will fast become outdated.

Apple ditches Imagination

Imagination, the company that designs the graphics processors used in smartphones and other electronic devices, saw its shares take a tumble on the London Stock Exchange, after it was announced that Apple, its largest customer, would stop using its graphics technology.

A new approach to node wars

When is a 14nm process not a 14nm process? That’s one of the questions exercising industry watchers as manufacturers continue to push Moore’s Law to its limit.

Can UK companies buck the long term trend and invest more in R&D?

The Government must commit itself to spending more on research and development in order to deliver an economy fit for the 21st Century. That’s the view of the Confederation of British Industry (CBI) which, in a recently published report, calls for spending on R&D to rise to 3% of GDP by 2025, with the private sector and Government chipping in. At the moment, the UK is only investing 1.7% of GDP into R&D, which is ‘well below’ the amount spent in other countries.

Is academia failing graduates? Survey claims so

Research commissioned by Intern Tech among 2000 UK adults claims the UK’s university system is failing both students and businesses. According to the survey, 41% of graduates have had to take an entry-level job below graduate level once they left university, while 26% of those surveyed regret the time and money they spent on their university education. Meanwhile, 28% of respondents said their degree courses were ‘outdated’ in relation to current requirements.

3D XPoint based drives launched, but we still don’t know how it works

It’s getting on for two years since Intel and Micron launched their 3D XPoint memory concept. Describing the approach as ‘the first new class of mainstream memory technology since 1989’, they claimed 3D XPoint would be ‘up to 1000 times faster than NAND flash’. However, since its launch, the performance advantage claims have been reduced.

NXP boosts power efficiency with FD-SOI

FD-SOI – or fully depleted silicon on insulator – was developed by STMicroelectronics and has remained, until recently, as something of an outsider. But deals with Globalfoundries have seen its fortunes improve significantly. The company is expanding 22nm FD-SOI capacity at its Dresden fab by 40% and building a 300mm fab for 22FDX based products in China.

The fruits of their labours

Believe it or not, it’s five years since the Raspberry Pi burst onto the scene. Would be users scrambled to get their hands on one, websites crashed and frustration mounted.

Three things industry can learn from the BSI robotic standards

The British Standards Institute (BSI) recently released a new set of standards for the ethical design of robots and robotic devices. The standards highlight the growing need for guidelines on robotic safety, contact with human beings, robotic deception, addiction and possible sexism or racism exhibited by self-learning artificial intelligence (AI) systems.

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