You can look forward to an interesting evening debate on the dynamics of innovation at the International Electron Devices Meeting, to be held next week in our nation's capital. A panel of industry R&D leaders from Asia, Europe and the United States will weigh the relative merits of the so-called techno-national approach to innovation, in which a nation or region invests heavily to exert control over a generation of semiconductor knowledge, and the techno-globalist approach, in which states provide the necessary infrastructure for ambitious exploratory research while companies handle the tech development.
At an IEDM luncheon, meanwhile, Neil Gershenfeld, director of MIT's Center for Bits and Atoms, will probe the relationship between the digital and physical worlds. Gershenfeld, one of 29 innovators featured in the "Great Minds, Great Ideas" special supplement to EE Times that will publish on Dec. 5, believes that many of technology's and society's greatest opportunities lie at the boundary between the content of information and its physical representation. The center's Fab Labs off-the-shelf, industrial-grade fabrication and electronics tools, wrapped in open-source software and programs let users locally design, fabricate and test almost anything. The Fab Lab concept, Gershenfeld believes, will provide thriving incubators for local microbusinesses anywhere in the world.
There's a time for debate, and a time for action.
By Nicolas Mokhoff (firstname.lastname@example.org), research editor for EE Times