One More Time, With Feeling

Interest and investment in ... technologies is holding steady.

Interest and investment in ... technologies is holding steady.

I realized as I was preparing the column for this month that all of my end-of-year editorials have had to address some dramatic changes. My first December column in 2019 was written not long after I first took this job. In 2020, there was the pandemic and the election. In 2021, there was still a pandemic, along with civil and economic unrest and disruption. (And although I did not know it then, there was also a looming war in Europe.)


Last December I closed the year on a note of cautious optimism about the pandemic, the economy and the world at large. The world, of course, remains a dangerous place. On the other two fronts, however, my hesitant optimism was not entirely misplaced. Inflation is bad, but most of the other economic news this year (unemployment, consumer spending, etc.) has been okay to good. Recent moves by the federal government in the U.S. (like the infrastructure bill and the CHIPS act) could increase economic activity. At the recent IMTS show in Chicago, we saw plenty of things to feel good about, including exhibitors who were doing a lot of business. The pandemic, unfortunately, is still with us but vaccinations and treatments have made it possible to get back to relative normalcy.

Still, I am entering 2023 a little uneasy. It may be a hangover from the midterm elections (and the knowledge that the 2024 campaigns are already noisily starting). It may be uncertainty about exactly how or when we may see inflation start to recede. It could be the long, slow and tragic war in Ukraine. It may just be that it is early November as I write this, and the World Cup still hasn’t started.

To bolster my spirits (and hopefully yours), I turned to our content for this month, which showcases the optimism and innovation that is still happening in the engineering space.

Contributing Editor Beth Stackpole has written an interesting piece on 4D printing, a technology that creates items that can change their shape or other attributes when exposed to external stimuli. Senior Editor Kenneth Wong takes a look at efforts to diversify the engineering workforce by recruiting more women.

We also have articles on new innovations in the professional workstation market; the state of CAD interoperability; and two different perspectives on the growth and direction of digital twins in manufacturing.

Of course, as is always the case this time of year, we have the results of our Technology Outlook survey of readers. (Spoiler alert: you are all still embracing innovative technology.)

That’s good news. Interest and investment in these technologies is holding steady. When I checked my column from last year I also noticed that I was lamenting the performance of the Cleveland Browns (again this year, but worse!) while marveling at the Cavaliers (ditto, but better!). The more things change, as they say. Have a great New Year!

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About the Author

Brian Albright's avatar
Brian Albright

Brian Albright is the editorial director of Digital Engineering. Contact him at [email protected].

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