Mechatronics Zone Blog

Technology Is Changing the Manufacturing Workforce

By Rob Spiegel | January 18, 2018

The workforce in manufacturing in changing. Advanced manufacturing requires skilled workers, and they are in short supply across the US. Even China with its cheap labor is modernizing its plants and seeking greater numbers of skilled workers. While we often hear about the coming plant that has so much automation it needs few workers, in reality, plants are seeing a shift to skilled workers rather than a significant drawdown on the workforce.


Algae-Powered Fuel Cells with Bolster Clean-Energy Development

By Elizabeth Montalbano | January 18, 2018

Researchers have taken a major step forward in the design of cleaner energy for electricity-dearth regions with the development of an algae-powered fuel cell that is less expensive to produce and five times more efficient than existing similar technology.

Time Sensitive Networking Trend Continues into 2018

By Al Presher | January 17, 2018

As we cross into 2018, the rise of Time Sensitive Networking (TSN) is coming into focus with a focus on new solutions for control, visualization, and cloud connectivity. TSN is a key emerging technology that is moving beyond standards into new products and offerings that are likely to gradually alter the landscape in automation and control as we move into the future.

Cisco Offer TSN Switches

‘Hacking Manufacturing’ MIT Course Opens Manufacturing Techniques

By Don Wilcher | January 17, 2018

Since 2013 academic researchers and graduate students from MIT Media Lab have been traveling to Shenzhen China for Hacking Manufacturing. The pilgrimage is based on conducting research on a manufacturer’s factory floor of industrial machines. The researchers and graduate students are part of a course titled, “Hacking Manufacturing.” 

Industrial System Cyberattacks Aim for Sabotage

By Rob Spiegel | January 16, 2018

As cyberattacks become more prevalent and sophisticated, the nature of the attacker is changing. We’re seeing fewer lone wolves, and more organized criminals who are packaging attack kits and selling them on the dark web. Their attacks aim at either commerce or control. The IT intruders seek commercially valuable personal or financial data, while operational technology (OT) attacks seek control of plants or factories for potential sabotage.

A Signal Integrity Problem? Maybe Not

By Charles Murray | January 16, 2018

Electronic design engineers testing for signal integrity issues in their products may be looking for the wrong thing, experts will tell engineers at an upcoming keynote panel at  DesignCon in Santa Clara, CA.

At 95, John Goodenough Is Still Searching for Next Big Battery Breakthrough

January 15, 2018

Forty years after inventing battery chemistries that have touched the lives of billions, John Goodenough is still on a mission.

Google, Intel, Microsoft, Others Scramble to Fix Cybersecurity Vulnerabilities

By Rob Spiegel | January 12, 2018

Hardware flaws may be the new big security gap in computers and phones. In the last few days, it has become apparent that Intel, Microsoft, and other leading electronics companies have been struggling for months to overcome security holes that affect billions of processors worldwide. Intel, Microsoft, and Google released statements assuring customers the fixes are complete or in process. Yet some experts warn that the fixes could hurt performance.

Holes in the Hardware

Intel Unveils Prototype Neuromorphic Chip for AI on the Edge

By Chris Wiltz | January 12, 2018

Intel isn't letting controversy over a series of processor bugs stop it from continuing to push innovation in processors. 2018 is already looking to be the year that competition in the artificial intelligence processor space really heats up.

Huge Digital Divide Between IIoT Promise and Practice

By Rob Spiegel | January 11, 2018

GE Digital has released research that highlights a gap between the executive outlook for digital transformation and the actual initiatives companies are putting in place. GE’s survey of IT and OT leaders found that while companies see the Industrial IoT as presenting significant opportunities for growth and competitiveness, the vast majority of companies are not yet taking actions to implement this technology.