Based on several recent studies, it’s clear that engineers in both the private sector and academia are innovating at increasingly rapid rates. We anticipate that 2018 will be a breakthrough year for most segments of the electronics industry, from semiconductors to autonomous systems. Let’s review some of the most important electronics industry news stories from the past week.
  • Semiconductor Manufacturing Equipment Sales Boost: SEMI, a global association representing the electronics manufacturing supply chain, recently reported that the sales of chip manufacturing equipment rose 37% to $56.6 billion in 2017. The sales increase was led by South Korea, which posted $17.95 billion in chip equipment sales in 2017, which was a 133% increase from 2016. Sales increased 24% in North America and 68% in Europe. Taiwan and the rest of the world (ROW) contracted. Learn More  
  • Samsung #1 for US Patents: Samsung has replaced IBM as the company holding the most valid US patents. IBM led the pack for 25 years. According to a recent report by IAM/ktMINE, Samsung holds 75,596 valid patents to IBM’s 46,443. Canon, Microsoft, and Intel were on the list of top US patent holders.
  • Academics Boycott “Killer Robot” Research: In March, more than 50 academics called for the boycott of the Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (KAIST) due to its plans to develop AI-controlled weapons. In an open letter, the group stated: "We will boycott all collaborations with any part of KAIST until such time as the President of KAIST provides assurances, which we have sought but not received, that the Center will not develop autonomous weapons lacking meaningful human control. We will, for example, not visit KAIST, host visitors from KAIST, or contribute to any research project involving KAIST."  Learn More
  • Lunar XPRIZE Mission Continues: For over a decade, Google sponsored Lunar XPRIZE, a competition that challenged engineers to “develop low-cost methods of robotic space exploration.” In January, we learned that no team would make a moon launch by the March 31, 2018 deadline and that no one would claim the $30 million Google Lunar XPRIZE. This week, the XPRIZE Foundation announced it will continue the Lunar XPRIZE competition and it is seeking a cash sponsor to replace Google. Learn More   
  • ESP32 Design Contest Update: The submission deadline for the ESP32 Design Contest 2018 has passed. Many innovators created an ESP32 contest project at Elektor Labs and they are now competing for  prizes. Winners will be announced at the end of April.
Contact Elektor to discuss these stories or to submit news tips: