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Managing Power Electronics: VLSI and DSP-Driven Computer Systems by Nazzareno Rossetti

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Chapter 8

Future Directions and Special Topics

8.1 Beyond Productivity and Toys: Designing ICs for the Health Care Market

As a veteran IC developer for the semiconductor industry, I have been, and still am, involved in efforts to design better consumer technologies. The exciting projects I have worked on range from making better electronic typewriters (late 1970s), to better hard disk drives (1980s), to better computers (1990s), and now, to designing better cell phone handsets and other portable electronics. Such technological advances have brought increased productivity to the industry and have enhanced peoples' lives, offering new forms of communication and expression, as well as creating new toys for entertainment.

All of these improvements, from the serious to the frivolous, are worthwhile, but they seem to lack the true nobility of “changing the world”; a catch-phrase worn out by almost daily use in our industry. However, within the fledgling fields of telemedicine and biosilicon opportunities are now presenting themselves which will enable us to focus our industry's aim on a truly substantive and meaningful purpose; namely enhancing lives by helping people fight against, or better cope with, diseases.

I will offer a personal example of how attention to health care technology could improve lives. In the last few years I have seen people close to me struggle with diabetes, a disease in which the body does not produce or properly use insulin, a hormone produced by the pancreas ...

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