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5G is a common topic today. There are other trends that are emerging, that are somewhat dependent upon the development of 5G systems. And also ‘smart spaces’ which focuses on technical trends that influence the living or working environment.

IoT, AI and 5G

We have all heard about the Internet of Things (IoT) and artificial intelligence (AI). In combination with the increased data transfer rates available through 5G, they can open up a whole new level of connectivity and communication between devices and things.

This enables, for example, developments in smart products such as smart production or hyper automation, advanced robotics, development of public safety functions to support smart cities, the increasing use of autonomous things. These trends go hand in hand with the ability to transmit, transfer, manage and process massive amounts of data in a short space of time with low latency problems. Key features of edge computing.

Autonomous cars

These are some of the technical trends that will I believe have the greatest impact on PCB technology in the foreseeable future. Such high-level trends will of course translate into other technical trends and themselves drive specific applications in various industries.

For example in the automotive industry some of the trends highlighted form the basis for the development of autonomous cars; in medicine you’ll find them driving critical functions such as data processing and real time communications between specialists operating on a worldwide level.  Similar trends are also very much apparent within military applications, which are driving developments in certain markets.

High density circuitry

The one major contributor towards PCB miniaturization is the high-density circuitry that technology has made possible. Designers now have the freedom to place components close to each other without hampering the electrical flow. That and the micro vias result in highly functional PCBs that are small and light.

Augmented reality

From making its foray from gaming into solving real life issues, augmented reality is now making its way into manufacturing. In fact Augmented Reality is now revolutionizing PCB manufacturing as well as design. One of the aspects it makes possible, is the ability of the PCBs to take on unconventional shapes and designs. In fact the impact of AR isn’t just limited to the design aspect alone but also impacts the production process. What AR also makes easy is the ability to oversee the entire design as also make testing easy.

3D printing

This is a major technological development that has given a big boost to PCB manufacturing. 3D printing makes PCB miniaturization reality. In fact it offers a host of other advantages including:

  • Flexibility of design
  • Improved speed
  • Waste reduction and more.

Health care

Modern digital technology in medical uses not means data, records can be stored in the “cloud” and health care can increasingly be administered by application and smartphone.

Rapid development of medicinal technologies influences PCBs. For example, board cameras are a recent development allowing for extremely high-fidelity cameras to be affixed to a PCB directly. As such, they can be inserted into, swallowed by or otherwise introduced to a human body.

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