In this article various industry experts are asked to predict how the technologies they use will change over the next several decades. Among the more interesting predictions:

  • Flexible Circuit Boards (FCBs) – Roll to roll ink processing will increasingly be used to make PCBs until they can make every circuit feature, not just the smaller ones. This will lead to inexpensive devices that can make almost every electronic product “smart”, inexpensive and disposable. Some future products could include eyeglasses that provide global audio and visual communications, night vision and toxic sensors, wallpaper that changes color, self-cleaning ovens and self-cooking entrees, and a host of disposable green devices.
  • Wireless Tech – The technologies that affect wireless networking, power and sensing will soon combine to create sensors “that allow us to monitor critical aspects of machines and factories to radically boost productivity and extend the lifespan of equipment.” Interesting applications expected include sensors on mobile equipment like cranes and forklifts as well as on large stationary molding and assembly machines. These wireless sensors will harvest all the energy they need from the thermal or vibrational energy of their environment, allowing machine components to become as wireless as laptops are today.
  • Collaboration and Sustainability – Soon industries will be able to refine concurrent-design collaboration between customers and suppliers so they will work together in purely virtual space.

Additional areas discussed range from the future of CAD to the emergence of “optimization with low-cost customization.” Source: Stephen J. Mraz, Machine Design (Cleveland); Sep 10, 2009

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