What is Embedded Systems?
If you are just learning about embedded systems for the first time, I assure you that you have been using it already. MRI, MP3 players, ATMs, digital watches, etc., are examples of embedded systems. It’s not a new innovation, embedded system technology has been around since the 60s. In fact, there was a renowned embedded system built in MIT instrumentation lab by Charles Stark Draper. It was called the Apollo Guidance Computer.
What embedded systems look like
When you think embedded technology, think microprocessor and microcontroller that are built as a single-function computing utility. They can be used on an individual device, or on a network of devices. Embedded systems are built for specific tasks. No single embedded system performs more than one function. However, there can be a compound or multi embedded systems in a larger device, and they offer more general functionality. This is often the norm, you will hardly find only one embedded system in one device. As it remains, embedded systems can either have no user- interface – common to basic embedded systems that are built for one task. While some have a graphic user interface (GUI – this comes with complex embedded systems). Lastly, embedded systems is a breach of software and hardware, it is not entirely hardware, and it is not entirely software.
Embedded systems are like an aggregation of all the modern technology we already have – AI, VR, AR, automation, machine learning, and more. With the use of embedded systems technology, the world will experience massive development in the following I.T sectors.
- Internet of things
- Context-aware devices
- Organic computing
- Intelligent devices
- Ubiquitous computing
- Cyber-physical systems
- Automatic contextual reconfiguration
Embedded Systems Now, and Future
Embedded systems can be used in any sector, whether health, agriculture, marketing, retail, education, security and defense, architecture, space expeditions, etc. Already, there are embedded system devices that are popular all over the world, for instance, the Occulus eye gear. Autonomous cars are also popular. Some major brands are certain about the effectiveness of their self-drive cars, and they will start releasing them for commercial use. BMW has been doing research and development since 2005, although the car may not become commercial until 2021. The good news is that the automobile company is serious about the use of the car. Google and some other brands are more likely to start giving us more updates on the autonomous vehicle that they are working on together. Google already released a video showing how good the self-drive car is. Some people believe that autonomous cars will outperform human driving. The autonomous vehicles have built-in context-aware systems that enable them to see, predict, avoid, and navigate traffic. It’s just much better than suddenly finding out that there’s a puddle on the road and desperately trying to avoid it. Autonomous cars can also communicate with themselves, get traffic information, and driving signals. Hence, they will be able to prevent accidents. This is because devices are now connected, and can share information with themselves, that’s why it is called internet of things (IoTs).
Oh! That’s Not All
The future is one where the washing machine will be able to change the settings because of the texture, and color of the fabric. While also considering the temperature and weather. The washing machine will be able to detect the environment because of the built-in context-aware systems. While it will be able to change the settings because of the automatic contextual reconfiguration. What if the fridge can adjust the temperature for the food you keep in the different sections?
Imagine, you walk into your room, you are so hot because of the sun and you’ve been fully dressed all day. Then your air conditioner detects that and automatically switches itself on. They your ac regulates itself to the temperature compatible with your body – so that it is cold/breezy enough to make you refreshed, but not too cold to give you cold. This can only be possible because your air conditioner is an intelligent device that can learn through machine learning and natural language processing. Through embedded systems technology, your air conditioner will be able to learn about your body temperature, and your reaction. From what it learned about your preferred weather/temperature, your washing machine will automatically adjust itself.
Embedded Systems Will Make Life Better For Everyone
This is one of the reasons embedded systems is good for the elderly and disabled. It is a technology that can create smart homes that will be convenient for the elderly and disabled. Embedded systems home devices will be able to regulate the temperature in the house, notify them when necessary, etc. Imagine, when an older person who is living in a smart home dozes off while cooking. That will be terrible, she might end up in the ICU. However, with an embedded system, this will not happen. The future is one where the stove and the pot can interact. The stove will learn that the food is cooked, and automatically switch itself off. In a case where this doesn’t happen, and there’s a fire from too much heat in the kitchen, the stove can call the emergency number and pass the message across.
Last year, eSight, the largest R&D organization dedicated to promoting (and making) wearable technology for blindness released their flagship eye gear. The eSight 3 is a wearable eye gear that helps legally blind people to see. In fact, the eye gear was named Time’s best invention of 2017.
Embedded system technology will also enhance space expeditions
With the use of embedded systems, space engineers will be able to build machines that will help astronauts in space. Already, there are companies working on robots that can move around in any terrain, no matter the complexities. These robots will be able to detect and reconfigure to adapt in the terrain.
Embedded systems just bring everything together under one umbrella, the same device that has context-aware built-in systems, has automatic contextual reconfiguration. This device will also be connected to other internet of things. Devices will be enhanced to give better performances – therefore embedded systems will be beneficial to every sector all over the world. Embedded systems have more promises, this year will also birth more advancements in the technology. Both major tech brands and new ones will release their innovations. Embedded systems are everywhere, soon, starting from 2018, there will be hardly any sector, office, or house that will not have an embedded system technology.