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February 2016 • SMT Magazine 11 Stephen Las Marias is managing editor of SMT Magazine. He has been a technology editor for more than 12 years covering electronics, components, and industrial automation systems. describes another important tool in reducing labor cost through reducing labor content: de- signing for automation. Another interview is that of I-Connect007 publisher Barry Matties, who spoke with Men- tor Graphics Valor Division's Dan Hoz and Ofer Lavi Ben David to discuss where Industry 4.0 is taking the industry, and the changes it will bring to both large and small companies, customers, and the supply chain. They also discussed how Mentor connects different machines on the shop floor to provide universal Industry 4.0 vis- ibility. Finally, our columnist Bob Wettermann writes about paste printing solder paste in a se- lect location in order to rework complex devices to duplicate the original manufacturing process as closely as possible. He also gives a preview of a soon-to-be-reported study, which compares the older miniature metal stencil printing pro- cess to the more modern plastic film with adhe- sive approach, and quantifies the differences in performance between the two for the first time. I hope you enjoy this month's issue of SMT Magazine. We are always on the lookout for ar- ticle contributions as well as columns—so if you're interested, feel free to drop me a note. Next month, we'll discuss strategies that electronics assemblers are adopting to increase their profits and improve their yields. Stay tuned! SMT A new DARPA program, the Neural Engineering Sys- tem Design (NESD), aims to develop an implantable neural interface able to provide un- precedented signal resolution and data-transfer bandwidth between the human brain and the digital world. The interface would serve as a translator, converting between the electrochemi- cal language used by neurons in the brain and the ones and zeros that constitute the language of in- formation technology. The goal is to achieve this communications link in a biocompatible device no larger than one cubic centimeter in size. NESD stands to dramatically enhance research capabilities in neurotechnology and provide a foundation for new therapies. Among its potential applications are devices that could compensate for deficits in sight or hearing by feeding digital auditory or visual information into the brain at a resolution and experiential quality far higher than is possible with current technology. Achieving the program's ambitious goals will require integrated break- throughs across numerous disciplines including neurosci- ence, synthetic biology, low- power electronics, photonics, medical device packaging and manufacturing, systems engi- neering, and clinical testing. In addition, NESD researchers will be required to de- velop advanced mathematical and neuro-compu- tation techniques to first transcode high-definition sensory information between electronic and corti- cal neuron representations and then compress and represent those data with minimal loss of fidelity and functionality. To accelerate that integrative process, the pro- gram aims to recruit a diverse roster of leading in- dustry stakeholders willing to offer state-of-the-art prototyping and manufacturing services and in- tellectual property to NESD researchers on a pre- competitive basis. In later phases of the program, these partners could help transition the resulting technologies into research and commercial appli- cation spaces. Bridging the Bioelectronic Divide N eW Paradig ms

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