3D Metal Printing: Does It Add Up?


Prolific Renaissance artist Michelangelo said, “The sculpture is already complete within the marble block before I start my work. ... I just have to chisel away the superfluous material.” I wonder what the great visionary would think of exchanging his chisel for an additive-manufacturing tool such as today’s 3D printers. 3D printing has been around since the 1980s, when it was first kn... » read more

How Do I Know? A Machine Told Me So


More than 375 years ago, René Descartes wrote “I think, therefore I am.” And “Think” has been a slogan used by no less a technology giant than IBM for more than a century. The thought process has been a defining aspect of humanity since our beginning. But now technologists are working to imbue that capability into machines through artificial intelligence. Programming computers is no... » read more

Blockchain Technology Is Coming To An Application Near You


Throughout the history of the semiconductor industry, disruptive IC technologies have been brainstormed and developed by innovative thinkers, offered up for global consideration through technical papers and conferences, discussed and scrutinized, put to the test at alpha and beta sites, and – once proven – adopted for widespread use. The path is similar for inventive applications. Blockc... » read more

Anticipating And Addressing 5G Testing Challenges


It’s no surprise that each new generation of ICs raises new sets of challenges in device testing. Changes in pin counts, data-transfer rates and interface protocols present different requirements. With the coming fifth generation (5G) of semiconductor technology, producers of automatic test equipment (ATE) must develop new test solutions with advanced capabilities on several fronts. Perhap... » read more

The Next Big Generation


As members of the global semiconductor business, we are continually looking to identify the next big thing (NBT) that will drive market growth. Typically, we try to predict which new product – from smart vehicles to wearable electronics – will become the next mass-market item that will boost our industry into a successively higher orbit. Thanks to the innovators and visionaries among us, th... » read more

Food for Thought


Eating healthy, getting plenty of rest and exercising regularly are the main ingredients in the recipe for wellness and fitness. But with today’s hectic lifestyles and hurried pace, do most of us still meet these basic requisites? Over the years, multiple programs have been launched to optimize the nutritional content of the foods we eat. Since the early 1900s, breakfast cereals have been ... » read more

Love and Affection in the Age of Robots


It is increasingly common to rely upon robotic devices to perform a wide range of tasks that were previously handled by humans. With robots becoming more pervasive in our lives, people are demonstrating a tendency to treat and relate to robot assistants as they would their pets and loved ones. We are beginning to project companion status on these mechanical tools. There is ample evidence tha... » read more

Thinking Ahead To Society 5.0


Industry 4.0 is a familiar term throughout the global semiconductor community. It conjures images of fully automated factories and computerized decision making at all levels of business. Less widely known is Japan’s thinking about the next step in technological evolution, which it calls Society 5.0. Instead of viewing upcoming technology advances as the fourth industrial revolution, Japan tak... » read more

Digital Fabrication’s Promise And Potential Pitfalls


Semiconductor functionality continues to expand, enabling robotic machines to analyze problems, make decisions and communicate information better than ever. These capabilities open the door for new applications such as Industry 4.0, a term now commonly used throughout Europe and the U.S. (more on Japan’s interpretation to follow). By integrating the performance capabilities of the Internet of... » read more

Some Human Musings On Machine Learning


Throughout our semiconductor industry, there are examples of binary balance. By that, I’m not just referring to the 1s and 0s in binary code. This balance also applies to n-well and p-well device features or the deposition and etching of materials on a wafer. This duality is present in our human makeup, too. We use both hard intellect and intangible feeling in recognizing challenges, findi... » read more

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