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Five words should capture the essence of electronics hardware going forward: smartness, mobility, connectivity, wearability and innovation.
Thanks to all the innovators! In 2016, electronics will move to a higher level of wearability, connectivity and mobility for IoT applications. This thrust will offer "cooler" products to consumers as well as high-efficiency to businesses, propelling "mobility" to "wearable mobility with connectivity and intelligence." The level of coolness has a lot to do with the ease and convenience of wearability (e.g., the wearable time before recharging the battery). The ability to synchronize the battery technology with the usefulness of electronics will "move and shake" the industry.
The growth and volume of electronics hardware will be driven by mobile devices. High-reliability and high-performance electronics demand new material innovation and better process deployment.
Advanced materials that offer unique properties, be it a polymer, metal or ceramic, to deliver revolutionary performance using layer-by-layer assembly as a versatile bottom-up nanofabrication technique will move forward. This advancement of tuning the materials at the atomic scale in conjunction with multi-scale modeling enables the design of the target material properties, opening breakthrough probability and rewarding application and business opportunities.
Manufacturing, aiming at productivity, will adopt higher levels of lean and modular design, agility, and intelligent automation. Advanced manufacturing including 3D printing will not go unnoticed. In this regard, further technology development will materialize. In addition, increasing number of products/components/parts manufactured by using 3D printing will be rolling out across the industry sectors. In terms of country, China is becoming the largest user of 3D printers.
New development in intelligent robot technology and robot-human interaction to deliver synergistic performance will also make footprints on the advanced technology map.
Editor's Note: This article originally appeared in the February 2016 issue of SMT Magazine.