Embedded system technologies Canned Solutions by ABB

Tin cans have firmly established themselves as the medium of choice for shipping and storing a broad range of products. An important part of this success story is their simplicity. If an opening-tool is needed at all, it is the modest and universally compatible can-opener. Computer systems have long been the antithesis of this. Even simple tasks called for specialist skills. Not so for embedded systems!

09/07/2006


Tin cans have firmly established themselves as the medium of choice for shipping and storing a broad range of products. An important part of this success story is their simplicity. If an opening-tool is needed at all, it is the modest and universally compatible can-opener. Computer systems have long been the antithesis of this. Even simple tasks called for specialist skills. Not so for embedded systems!

Here, the computer is usually contained within the device it controls and reacts directly to relevant events. In the extreme, it blends in so well that nobody knows it’s there– until they take a peek inside. “Embedded, Everywhere” is the title of a research agenda published in 2001 by the National Academy of Sciences in the USA. This agenda highlighted the importance the scientific community attached to research in the field of embedded computers. Embedded intelligent devices are today, five years later, pervasive and estimated to be more numerous than people on earth. By 2010, at least three embedded computers will exist for every living person. That equals 16 billion machines, growing to 40 billion by 2020.

The European Union is currently formulating a major initiative covering research into the next generation of embedded device technologies, which will focus on the interaction between embedded networks. ARTEMIS1), as the program is called, rallies industries and academia to lead the development efforts, backed by funding from national governments and the EU. Asia is equally aware of the significance of embedded technologies for future economic growth and prosperity. Government-backed programs exist in Japan, Korea and China, each with its own flavor and emphasis. All these regional and national programs are driving towards the pervasive use of embedded devices in a multitude of applications across industries and large infrastructures, health and entertainment, fixed and mobile networks.

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