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AATE & EDS Product Preview

Now -- your business news daily! VOLUME 27 - NUMBER 4

Product Preview: NEPCON China


Sandia: Working on the Bionic Man

Albuquerque, NM — Sandia National Laboratories researchers, using off- the-shelf equipment in a chemistry lab, have been working on ways to improve amputees’ control over pros- thetics with direct help from their own nervous systems. Organic materials chemist

Koh Young 3D AOI system is one of many new products on display at NEPCON China in Shanghai. See our product preview beginning on . . .

Page 64

Building Precision Electronics for MIL, Med and Aerospace

California-based Stellar Mi- croelectronics started as a die processor for the emerging military market. It has since grown to include medical and industrial customers seeking precise and durable electronic assembly services.

Page 18

This Month's Focus: Test and Measure

Remote alarming for power grids is a hot new area. Also covered: laser marking, quality assurance vs. quality control, linear encoders for direct drives, and some critical infor- mation about getting PCBs re- ally clean.

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Robotics engineer Steve Buerger displays implantable and wearable neural interface electronics developed by Sandia along with a display of prosthetic components.

Multitasking: A Deadly Habit By Thomas Adams


ou are doing 50 mph in the right lane, using your hands- free cell phone to sort out an up-

coming business meeting. Ahead of you, a lost driver, partly obscured by a row of trees, is coming down a street that intersects the highway you are on. The driver will run the stop sign and appear broadside in front of you when you are 200 feet away. Will you be able to stop in time? From 50 mph, a car can stop in 175

feet, but the cell phone conversation splits your attention. Speaking on a hands-free cell phone, you will end up T-boning the car ahead. If you are using a handheld cell phone, the same thing will happen. Why? A compilation of research

put together by the National Safety Council ( and entitled “Understanding the Distracted Brain,” clarifies how drivers’ brains actually behave when using a cell phone and driving.

A Deadly Habit It is common to call this sort of

activity “multitasking,” a perfectly fine word to describe sequential tasks. But the human brain can’t handle two tasks simultaneously. A driver on a cell phone switches back and forth between driving (watching the road and controlling the car) and conversing (listening and respond-

Continued on page 8

Shawn Dirk, robotics engineer Steve Buerger and others are creating bio- compatible interface scaffolds. The goal is improved prosthetics with flexible nerve-to-nerve or nerve-to-

muscle interfaces through which transected nerves can grow, putting small groups of nerve fibers in close contact with electrode sites connect- ed to separate, implanted electronics.

Neural Interfaces Neural interfaces operate

where the nervous system and an ar- tificial device intersect. Interfaces can monitor nerve signals or provide inputs that let amputees control prosthetic devices by direct neural

signals, the same way they would control parts of their own bodies. Sandia’s research focuses on bioma- terials and peripheral nerves at the interface site. The idea is to match material properties to nerve fibers with flexible, conductive materials that are biocompatible so they can integrate with nerve bundles. “There are a lot of knobs we can

turn to get the material properties to match those of the nerves,” said or- ganic materials chemist Shawn Dirk. Robotics engineer Steve Buerg-

er added, “If we can get the right ma- terial properties, we could create a healthy, long-lasting interface that will allow an amputee to control a ro- botic limb using his own nervous sys- tem for years, or even decades, with- out repeat surgeries.”

Continued on page 6 Printed

Electronics to Reach $9.4 Billion in 2012

By Raghu Das, CEO, IDTechEx

Cambridge, U.K. — The market for printed and potentially printed elec- tronics in 2012 will be $9.4 Billion ac- cording to new research by IDTechEx. This figure includes de- vices not yet printed today but which are moving towards being printed. Of this market, 30 percent of the devices studied are made predominately by printing, and 6 percent are on a non- rigid substrate. An important segment of this

market are OLED displays, driven by the need to differentiate smart phones. Samsung has led much of the investment, production and use of OLED displays in its smart phones, seeing significant sales over the past 12 months. These OLED displays are not printed and are not flexible. Con- tinued demand in 2012, along with OLED displays of similar sizes being adopted by others, will account for $4 Billion worth of OLED displays (dis- play module value) in 2012.

E-Paper Growing $290 million will be spent on e-

paper material (excluding the value of the TFT backplane). In e-readers,

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