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PCBD-Jan2015

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January 2015 • The PCB Design Magazine 29 2015: A LOOK AT MOvINg TRENDS continues gan transplants and reconstructive tissue is well under way. 3D printing could influence the landscape of PCB manufacturing as well, though the tech- nology still seems too new to understand how it will best be put to use. Certainly, the printing of quick prototypes will speed along the design phase, but how it might trickle down to the PCB manufacturing level, or disrupt it, remains to be seen. A lot of people believe that Amazon has far too much lever- age against smaller businesses. Well, imagine if some of these smaller businesses were able to cut costs and offer their prod- ucts to consumers at lower prices than Amazon by mak- ing products available at local stores more readily. Or, per- haps these businesses could offer free direct shipping in ex- change for their own cost sav- ings with in-house 3D printing and still make a decent profit. If small businesses can break back into the factory-direct- to-consumer model, this may reduce the power of Amazon's monopolistic structure. It could also signal a resurgence in specialized local stores, if the convenience of purchasing locally becomes more effective than waiting for shipping. Wearable Tech From my engineering and software per- spective, this set of products honestly has me surprised. But Apple's iTunes also baffled me; I never understood why people would want Ap- ple locking them into music files that can't be transferred. Or why anyone with a Mac would want an iPad. Or why anyone with an iPhone would want an Apple Watch. Oh, but they do! Forget efficiency; consum- er technology is now all about convenience and cool. Apple has achieved an emotional attach- ment to its technology. After all, what would we do without Siri? With the smartwatch trend set, we saw Sony come out with its surprisingly affordable Smart- Watch, Samsung with its Android-based Gear line, and umpteen other add on options from various vendors. Now the world is holding its breath anticipating the 2015 version of the new Apple Watch. I'm still not so sure why I would want to check my husband's heartbeat on my watch, but I guess there are plenty of people out there who like the idea. Alongside the smartwatch trend, I was surprised to see a less expensive and simpler op- tion flood the market: the fit- ness watch. Again, I don't feel a need to know how many steps I take in a day, but it seems that a great number of people dig the concept. The popular Fitbit, for example, tracks your steps, distance, calories burned, and active minutes and then synchro- nizes the information to your smartphone whenever you want to check in and see your progress. It even monitors your sleep patterns. Do any of you own smart- watches or fitness watches? What will you choose in the coming year? Do you think these products are desirable or just added noise in a glutted technology market? My view on the fitness watch trend is that it's simply a fad, a new toy for us to buy for gifts because we can't think of any- thing else. Our smartphones can already do all, or most, of this tracking with the right apps. As for the smartwatch, I'm not sure I like the idea of knowing who texts me, emails me, or calls me the instant I lift my wrist. The kids who can't put their phones down might like it, but as a parent leery of kids addicted to tech, I can assure you I will make no such purchase. How will these wearable tech products evolve or fail moving into 2015? All in all, I believe that the trends in the consumer, medical, and aerospace segments in software bytes My view on the fitness watch trend is that it's simply a fad, a new toy for us to buy for gifts because we can't think of anything else. our smartphones can already do all, or most, of this tracking with the right apps. as for the smartwatch, I'm not sure I like the idea of knowing who texts me, emails me, or calls me the instant I lift my wrist. " "

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