F. Zhou/NIST
NIST’s new optomechanical accelerometer

Design Insights: 5G’s Climb to Relevance; Speedy Accelerometers; Countdown to Automate Forward

March 16, 2021
A review of the day’s top trends and news from Machine Design editors.

5G’s Slow Climb to Relevance

The impact of 5G on the communications market is largely limited to breathless advertisements right now about the speed and power of the fifth generation of data speed. For industries looking to take advantage of this technology, there still is more caution than anything else.

A recent study of industrial leaders commissioned by Molex found that almost half of industrial customers say they are behind in the deployment of 5G, which is considered the key to greater industrial use of augmented reality, robotics and artificial intelligence. The good news is that those industrial leaders expect to achieve their 5G business goals in the next five years. So while change is slow, it is accelerating.

“The 5G market is nearing an inflection point as carriers report steady progress despite continued challenges,” said Aldo Lopez, president of datacom solutions for Molex, in a press release. “Fully realizing 5G’s potential will transform multiple industries and markets.”

The Speed of Light

New research from the National Institute of Science and Technology (NIST) has developed an accelerometer that uses lasers instead of traditional mechanical strain gauges. These optomechanical accelerometers are more precise than the mechanical accelerometers and doesn’t need calibration. As a Machine Design story on the topic notes, “Because the instrument uses laser light of a known frequency to measure acceleration, it may ultimately serve as a portable reference standard to calibrate other accelerometers now on the market, making them more accurate.

To take a look at the new prototype, click here for an animation of the technology.

Automate Forward Looks to the Future

Next week, the Association for Advancing Automation (A3) will host its virtual Automate Forward conference. The event will feature a host of speakers and presentations on various grades of automation and will be live March 22-26.

Technologies featured in keynotes include robotics, motion control, AI and smart automation. Executive roundtables will dive into use cases for automation technologies and potential future IoT trends. The event will also showcase sessions on new technologies, applications and tips to help you begin (or advance) your automation journey.

Along with the technical sessions, attendees will also have the ability to “visit” booths in the exhibition area to talk one-on-one with automation technology innovators. Registration is free for the entire event. You can check out our larger preview piece here.

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