Latest In Depth Technology News

Boosting the health of UK manufacturing industry using photonics technology

One of the big themes being pursued by the recently elected Conservative Government is the revival of manufacturing as one way to reduce the country’s dependence on the financial and services sectors. While the UK’s manufacturing sector remains in the world’s top 10, it has been drifting down the league table since the 1970s and productivity has been of particular concern.

Could smart factories help to revitalise UK manufacturing?

Smart factories will be at the heart of the Industry 4.0 revolution, a future vision of manufacturing in which factories are populated by machines that will be self-optimised, self-configured and even employ artificial intelligence to complete complex manufacturing tasks and, in the process, provide cost efficiencies for companies and improved levels of service and quality for customers.

Do UK contract manufacturers understand the concept of Industry 4.0, let alone employ it?

Contract manufacturers have an increasingly important role to play in the UK’s manufacturing ecosystem, whether that is in supporting volume production or new and emerging businesses looking to take new products from concept to volume assembly. According to figures from the Electronic Components Supply Network (ECSN), the CEM sector in the UK and Ireland now, in terms of demand, accounts for more than 40% of all electronic components by value.

Real world sensors and Star Wars

A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away… the Star Wars universe introduced millions of science fiction fans to an epic saga that had many anxiously anticipating the release of the next instalment late last year. Being an engineer, I can’t help but think back to the original movies and the ideas created within them that are now a reality today. Lightsabers, unfortunately, we can still only imagine, but just focusing on “droids”, it’s remarkable where we are today.

Wireless Sensor Networking for the Industrial Internet of Things

Much is being made of the Industrial Internet of Things (IoT) and the associated need for wireless connectivity for industrial sensors. But the networking needs of industrial devices and applications are distinct from the consumer world, with reliability and security high on the list. This article highlights some of the key network requirements specific to industrial wireless sensor networks.

Collaboration is the centerpiece to push the limits of lithography

The continuation of Moore’s Law requires a combination of both physical and functional scaling, where our main challenge in lithography is to continue pushing the physical scaling limits in a controlled and cost-effective way. By serving as the collaboration hub of the industry in this area, imec is playing an important role in helping the industry to address the major technical challenges towards continued physical scaling. This is being done on multiple fronts.

Meeting the short term and long term requirements for IoT connectivity

As the concepts of the internet of things (IoT) starts to gather supporters within organisations, the numbers behind Gartner’s forecast that the IoT will comprise 50billion devices by 2020 starts to take shape. The challenge facing many organisations is so crucial to their future viability that no one can ignore it.

Building in security from the start

Security remains the top concern for designers, builders and marketers of products for the Internet of Things (IoT) – and for good reason. When previously unconnected products join the IoT, they – and their users’ data – become subject to hacking, compromise and mischief.

The ‘blackest material yet’ could improve the performance of satellite based instrumentation

Carbon nanotubes have been seen as having a wide range of potential applications for many years, but their use in the ‘real world’ has been a long time coming. The first research into such structures was reported in 1952 by a Russian team, but it wasn’t until the 1990s that the technology began to gain some traction. Even today, their use – particularly in industrial applications – remains the exception

Harnessing quantum technology for UK plc

November saw the opening of the Quantum Metrology Institute (QMI). Based at the National Physical Laboratory (NPL) in Teddington, it forms a key element in the UK’s efforts to exploit quantum technology commercially through the National Quantum Technologies programme.

Making massive MIMOs for high speed short range comms

The communications issues related to the Internet of Things have been discussed over the last few years and a range of solutions is available, although some remain proprietary. But a new set of challenges is emerging as designers look to enable communications between devices taking advantage of nanotechnology.

Do engineers know what they like and like what they know?

Engineers can select from a range of technologies which might be appropriate for their next design. Options include ASICs, FPGAs and embedded CPUs. But there is a suspicion that, rather than selecting the platform which will be best for the job, engineers fall back on something with which they’re familiar.

Why security is critical to the success of IoT

The Internet of Things (IoT) has exploded on to both the consumer and business markets in the last few years and is starting to have a major impact in almost every industry. From construction and manufacturing to retail and healthcare. Like it or not, IoT is here to stay.

Squeezing the performance out of ATCA through virtualisation

It is more than 10 years since the release of PICMG 3.0, the standard which defined the Advanced Telecom Computing Architecture (ATCA). Deployed in many parts of the ‘network’, ATCA is now beginning to be adopted in markets such as military and aerospace, where highly reliable computing is a hard necessity.

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