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Does Electronics Deliver the Most Value?

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  • Indium Corporation

  • Folks,

    I just finished teaching a new class (for me) The Technology of Everyday Things  at Dartmouth.  This class fills a lab and technology requirement for non-engineering students.  We study the underlying physics and technical principles behind everything from automobiles, airplanes, DVD players, computers, and even why a curve ball curves.  In addition to labs, classes, homework and two tests, the students have to purchase and take apart a technology product of their choosing.  They must write a report and give a presentation discussing how the product works.

    Two of my students, Christina Chen and Amanda Watson, purchased a DVD player from WalMart for about $30.  The attached photo shows all that is inside the DVD player and its remote.  Considering that the unit cost $30, it is likely that the total manufacturing cost of the DVD is $15 or less.  The manufactured cost could not be to much more than $15 and still be sold for $30, as transportation, packaging, the user manual, and profit are not insignificant.  It is impossible for me to look at this photo and not marvel.  Consider the many injection molded plastic parts, multiple assembled PCBs, a precision electrical motor, screws, fasters, etc., etc.  Truly modern electronics delivers a tremendous amount of value for each dollar!


    Dr. Ron