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May 2014

Semico Speaks on Today's Most Innovative Markets

Join Jim Feldhan at DAC

Join Jim on June 3rd for DAC's breakfast session on Building an Open Ecosystem to Fuel IoT and Mobile Growth.  The session begins at 7:15 a.m. at the Westin Hotel.  

Get the Vitals on the Emerging Medical Electronics Market and Save Money

Life expectancies continue to increase, with the median growing six years from 68 to 74 in just over a decade, according to a report just released by the World Health Organization.  Improvements in healthcare have improved the quality of life for people around the world, but more improvements can be made with new medical electronic devices like wearables.  

Terrifying Robots: Part 8

The next robot is a lawn mower.  Of course.  Because what robots really need is a fast rotating 12” cutting blade

(source: CNET)

Like many of the robots in this series, this little LawnBott looks like a cute little toy on first glance.  In fact, it looks a little too small to be a useful tool, and at $2,800 its probably not going to be used by my neighbors.  

Thank goodness. 

As with other consumer-orientated robots, this little creature uses apps and a smartphone for controls and scheduling.  Though it seems a little sinister that its so quiet you can schedule it to mow your lawn at night.  As Tony said, the Tuilleries Garden in Paris uses goats to cut their grass.  If its good enough for them, its good enough for me.  

BTW, do you have some sheep?  My lawn needs a mowing.

Terrifying Robots: Part 7

What sorcery is this?  Watch this video, and see how fast these little robots can move.  If we were playing a game of capture the flag, I’d report this robot as, well, a robot.  (Flag capture and return in 5 seconds?! Hacking!)

What is our obsession with creating robots that can build things?  Have none of you seen The Terminator?

Now consider, I don’t know if you’ve read Google’s terms of service, but basically they’re creating Skynet.  Sooner or later, someone is going to combine Google’s Skynet with all these robots, and the next day we’re all going to wake up in the Matrix, in a perpetual state of 1999, because according to these bots, human civilization peaked before the rise of smart phones.  

Think about it, we’re going to live in a simulation without smart phones.  

Talk about terrifying.  

Crowd Funded: Seriously? A Toothbrush?

When most people talk about the connected home, they tend to scoff at different product ideas.  Take this Smart Toothbrush, on Kickstarter.com.  Most of us would probably roll our eyes at the idea of a connected toothbrush, yet it still has over 20 days to go to fundraise, and yet its already funded ($87K at the time of this writing). 

So what makes this product so special that people are willing to spend $99 - $200 USD on a toothbrush?  

Well, first of all, its sleek and minimal for an electric toothbrush.  There are no bulky parts that stick out, so for aesthetics alone, this is a winner.  Second, this company really focused on the application, or the “why” we need this type of product.  They created not just graphs that show our brushing habits, but games for children that make brushing more fun in general.  

And if you’re a parent, I’m sure you’ve struggled with getting your kid to brush their teeth regularly

Third, if you’re in the market for an electric toothbrush, its relatively affordable.  While you can find some electronic toothbrushes for about $40, there are also many that are $100+.  

PG&E: Zero Net Energy

The second guest keynote speaker at Semico’s Smart Lighting IMPACT event  was Carolyn Weiner,  Manager, Core Products, from PG&E, where she spoke about the zero net energy goals PG&E has for California and what that means for the industry.  

Perhaps expected, PG&E is focused on a “greener” future.  Perhaps unexpectedly, their goal is to reduce power consumption in CA by 60% by 2020.  And even more astounding, they’re seeking to have all new residential construction in CA be zero net energy by 2020, and all new commercial buildings being zero net energy by 2030.  These are lofty goals, but if anything this conference showed us, they’re entirely possible with the right leaders behind the effort, because the technology is readily available today. 

And if you think this isn’t important, keep in mind that lighting alone in CA makes up about 25% of the energy load in the commercial building market. 

The road isn’t going to be easy.  There are several stumbling blocks along the way. 

A few challenges PG&E is investigating include: variability in energy savings across different types of buildings, interoperability, the technical expertise required to install, and proper commissioning. 

So what is one major aspect PG&E thinks builders should focus on in order to reduce energy?  Daylight. 

A Record High 104 Billion Analog Chips Shipped in 2013, Says Semico Research

As electronic systems evolved to mobile devices, the importance of analog has grown.  Interfacing with the real world via cameras, touch, gesture controls, audio and video applications all require analog functionality.  Power management ICs are critical to the success of these devices.  

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