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What Is Technology Research and Development?

A research and development team can use brainstorming to generate ideas.
Computer-aided drafting programs are a great tool for technology research and development teams.
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  • Written By: D. Jeffress
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 17 October 2014
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Technology research and development refers to the invention, design, improvement, and construction of new types of products, equipment, and machinery. Highly skilled scientists and engineers conduct technology research and development on medical equipment, consumer electronics, industrial machines, power generators, computers, and any number of other modern devices. Professionals conduct research in many different settings, including engineering firms, biotechnology companies, manufacturing plants, university laboratories, and private shops.

A significant portion of technology research and development is dedicated to coming up with creative, useful inventions.Egnineers perform comprehensive research on current technology in their field of expertise to determine the need for new products or improvements that can be made to existing ones. Professionals in most settings work together to brainstorm ideas, calculate the amount of time and money it will take to develop a new product as well as the likelihood of its success. Engineers frequently write grant proposals to obtain the funding necessary to begin the building phase.

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A team of expert engineers usually employs computer-aided drafting programs to design a piece of equipment, work out the measurements and functional aspects, and subject it to simulated tests. When the design shows promise, the engineers obtain raw materials, build a prototype, and conduct several experiments and test runs to make sure it works properly. A successful machine goes through a final inspection to ensure that it is safe, legal, and as efficient as possible. The team of engineers can then apply for patents and arrange for the item to be mass-manufactured, advertised, and sold to distributors.

Millions of hours and huge sums of money are allocated to technology research and development in dozens of different industries. Some of the most important and most prominent research is geared at nanotechnology and its applications to computer science. Expert scientists and engineers continuously think of ways to make computers, electronics, and telecommunications services faster and more effective. Technology research and development is essential in the design of energy-efficient automobiles, generators, and power plants. The work of modern engineers also influences environmental protection, medical services, food science, aeronautics and public sanitation systems.

Individuals who wish to get involved in technology research and development can apply for internships or assistant positions at different institutions. Assistants help engineers build and test prototypes, write reports, and apply for patents. People who want to become more involved in designing new products are typically required to obtain bachelor's degrees or higher in mechanical, industrial, biomedical, or computer engineering. Professionals who gain experience in the field and stay up-to-date on the latest technological advances are may be granted the opportunity to supervise a team of engineers and assistants and organize independent research projects.

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