The Past and Future of Electronics
Our parent company, Milwaukee Electronics was founded 60 years ago, in 1954. That's quite a long time in terms of electronics.
- 60 years back
1954 was a big year for transistor electronics. The first commercially produced transistor radio, the Regency TR-1, was put on sale in November 1954, for a price of $49.95. The Bell Labs TRADIC, the first transistorized computer in the U.S. showed up in 1954.
It was also a big year for nuclear energy. The first civilian nuclear power plant went on line in Russia (whether it was a military research facility or a power generation facility is under debate). The European CERN nuclear research organization was formed.
The first atomic powered submarine, The Nautilus, was commissioned by the U.S. Navy. 1954 also saw the U.S. explode the first hydrogen bomb. The Atomic Energy Act of 1954 paved the way for the civilian use of atomic power in the U.S.
The magazine Popular Electronics debuted in October 1954. That issue covered, amongst other things, a solar "battery" with 6% efficiency, radio control of models, and capacitors.
That was a bit of the past. What will the future of electronics hold? What will technology look like in 2074? Will the world even be recognisable at all?
- 60 years forward
Well, hopefully, there won't be any new developments in the area of bigger and more powerful bombs, like in 1954. Hopefully, we won't have been enslaved by our new robot overlords. Regardless, electronics will be vastly different in 2074.
The concept of a printed circuits board will have long passed by that year. Electronics will be more of a construction material supplement.
Processing power and sensors will come in a bag, in the form of tiny particles. They'll self-power with energy harvesting. They'll have integrated wireless communications. Each one, won't do much, but when added together, they will essentially form a big piece of programmable logic.
Take aircraft paint as an example. The paint manufacturers will mix in intelligent "dust." The aircraft paint will get a ratio or 40% computational dust, 10% strain gauge dust, 20% rf/temperature/light/moisture sensor dust, 20% actuator dust, and 10% other miscellaneous functionality dust.
Once applied to the aircraft, the paint will manifest itself as a giant programmable logic and sensor array. The paint will cover communications, location and all forms of sensing and maneuvering.
The smart dust will be mixed up in different proportions, based on the application requirements, and added to everything. Even food.
I think that pill will be ready long before the year 3535