Recent Developments In Electronics
The development of integrated circuits has revolutionized the fields of communications, information handling, and computing. Integrated circuits reduce the size of devices and lower manufacturing and system costs, while at the same time providing high speed and increased reliability.
Digital watches, hand-held computers, and electronic games are systems based on microprocessors.
Other developments include the digitalization of audio signals, where the frequency and amplitude of an audio signal are coded digitally by appropriate sampling techniques, that is, techniques for measuring the amplitude of the signal at very short intervals. Digitally recorded music shows a fidelity that is not possible using direct-recording methods.
Digital playback devices of this nature have already entered the home market. Digital storage could also form the basis of home video systems and may significantly alter library storage systems, because much more information can be stored on a disk for replay on a television screen than can be contained in a book.
Medical electronics has progressed from computerized axial tomography, or the use of CAT or CT scanners (see X Ray), to systems that can discriminate more and more of the organs of the human body. Devices that can view blood vessels and the respiratory system have been developed as well. Ultrahigh definition television also promises to substitute for many photographic processes, because it eliminates the need for silver.
Today's research to increase the speed and capacity of computers concentrates mainly on the improvement of integrated circuit technology and the development of even faster switching components.
Very-large-scale integrated (VLSI) circuits that contain several hundred thousand components on a single chip have been developed. Very-high-speed computers are being developed in which semiconductors may be replaced by superconducting circuits using Josephson junctions and operating at temperatures near absolute zero.