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Electronic Hardware, Robotics and Wireless Technologies


Wireless Technologies (WT) Wireless has become the platform for many applications with direct impact on virtually every aspect of life, evolving well beyond mobile phones and PDAs to other devices, services, channels, and content. Microwave circuits afford a wider frequency spectrum and extremely short antennae. With GaAs and SiGe, entire microwave transceivers can be inexpensively put on a single chip. Modulation methods like spread-spectrum and orthogonal frequency-division multiplexing bring greater spectral efficiency and more bits/Hz of bandwidth, and lead to less susceptibility to noise, interference, and multi-path distortion. On-chip DSPs allow new signal-processing functions. RFID chips are providing improvements in warehousing, materials handling, and shipping operations, replacing bar-code labels in many applications.

Energy and Power Management (EP) In the power electronics realm, as CMOS chips go to finer lithography with each new generation, their multiplying transistors require lower voltages and higher currents. These trends have driven up power demands on printed circuit boards and placed constant pressure on power-supply and power-system developers to increase the efficiency and power or current density. At the same time, the trends toward lower voltages and higher currents have encouraged migration from centralized to distributed and portable power architectures.


Robotics and Human Assistive Technologies (RH)

Considerable progress will be made if robots possessed the high intelligence needed to cope with uncertainty, learn from experience, and work as a team. Robot designers are borrowing features from insect nervous systems, and engineers and computer scientists collaborate with biologists, neuroscientists, and psychologists to exploit new knowledge in the study of the brain and behavior. Some robots will help people do what they cannot or would rather not do. Other robots will tackle complex projects by working as teams. Robots will help protect critical infrastructure and monitor the environment as mobile, intelligent sensors. High-performance processors, hardware to provide situational awareness, and improved artificial intelligence (AI) are enabling researchers to create lifelike robots with an entire gamut of facial expressions.






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