Manufacturing Bits: March 29


Brain-inspired computing Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL) has purchased a brain-inspired supercomputing platform for deep learning developed by IBM Research. Based on a neurosynaptic computer chip called IBM TrueNorth, the scalable platform will process the equivalent of 16 million neurons and 4 billion synapses. It will consume the energy equivalent of a tablet computer. ... » read more

Still Searching For Rare Earths


There is both good and bad news for buyers of rare earths. The good news: It’s a buyers’ market. Prices for rare earths remain depressed amid a glut in the marketplace. The bad news: The supplier base is shaky. China still accounts for 85% of the world’s total production of rare earths, but most Chinese suppliers are operating at a loss. And two of the main non-Chinese suppliers, M... » read more

5 Technologies To Watch


The industry is developing a dizzying array of new technologies. In fact, there are more new and innovative technologies than ever before. And the list is countless. At least from my vantage point, I have come up with my own list of the top five technologies to watch in 2015 and beyond. They are listed in alphabetical order. (See below). Obviously, there are more than just five technologi... » read more

Manufacturing Bits: April 7


Liquid metal for Terminator robots The Chinese Academy of Sciences and Tsinghua University have devised a robot-like, self-fueled liquid metal mollusk. The liquid metal alloy within the system can move by itself and change form like the shape-shifting T-1000 robot in the movie Terminator 2: Judgment Day. The system consists of a liquid metal motor. The liquid metal is a mix of gallium, i... » read more

Avogy: Vertical GaN Power Devices


Gallium nitride (GaN), a binary III-V bandgap material, has been used to make LEDs for the last several years. GaN has also been touted as the next big thing in power electronics and RF. To some degree, GaN has made inroads in RF, especially in high-end defense and aerospace applications. But the technology is having mixed success in power electronics. Today’s GaN-on-silicon devices are l... » read more