Advanced technology rakes in dollars during recession

While the country languished in recession back in 2009 there was one area which provided the US with a relatively steady flow of income.

According to a report from the National Science Foundation (NSF) it was more technologically advanced products which fared best during the depths of economic despair.

Although advanced technology products did see a decline from 2008 to 2009 as exports dropped from $270 billion to $245 billion, the nine percent fall was less than half of other sectors.

This means a resounding financial success for the development of cutting edge technology including nuclear resonance imaging, micro integrated circuits, satellites and robotics.

While in the UK at least there is concern about funding developments at university level into advanced technology engineering, the report shows that there are clear financial benefits. 

There are four main areas of advanced technology products and these are aerospace, electronics, information and communications technology and life science.  In the US these four areas accounted for 85 percent of overall ATP exports in 2010.  ATP trade then grew a further 11 percent as the global economy recovered somewhat.

The decline in ATP exports during the recession was most notable to Asian countries, with exports falling 15 percent from $94 billion in 2008 to $78 billion in 2009.  This is largely attributable to a slowing of electronics exports to the region, considered the most important of advanced tech products. 

The EU and the North American Free Trade Agreement zone fared significantly better.

During 2008 to 2009 US ATP exports to Japan, Taiwan and South Korea saw the largest drops, between 19 and 29 percent.  China saw little change.

Post recession this rebounded, and the Asian region grew faster than other regions.

TechEye spoke to robotics expert Antonio Espingardeiro at the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE), who told us that advanced technologies should get greater backing during times of recession.

“We are still living difficult times, an economic storm,” he says. “However, history tells us that after a great depression there’s a new set of opportunities. It seems to me that this a crucial time for research.”

“A time where technology seems boosting our lives in ways that we never thought seems a promising investment. Talking in a short term the next 5 to 10 years will serve as a laboratory for testing new devices, software, ideas that will have direct applicability in a not too distant future.”

“So in economic terms if you invest in applicable research now, you might be well collecting your infinite profits on the coming years.

In terms of robotics Antonio Espingardeiro believes we “could expect new robotics applications emerging in areas such as health care, energy, entertainment, household, security among others”.

This could lead to “massive markets where production costs are low and robots are easy to use and useful”.

“Then you will have your profitable margins.”