The Embedded Systems Conference in Silicon Valley has been known for years as being “the place” to catch up on the latest in the embedded systems — a technology that’s becoming increasingly important to automation as microcontrollers find their way into nearly everything. Beyond the new and coming-soon product details that can be explored at ESC, the event is also known for its keynote speakers and special events.
This year’s top draw keynoter is Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak. And while past ESC events have featured special events such as a Toyota Prius teardown, this year’s special attraction will take attendees back in time in order to teach them how to move forward with the latest design engineering technologies.
The special attraction I’m referring to is Samson — a 66 milion year old dinosaur skeleton that will be part of the “Decode the Past. Embed the Future” experience at ESC Silicon Valley, to be held at the McEnery Convention Center in San Jose, CA, May 2-5, 2011.
Samson was discovered in South Dakota in 1987 and is considered to be one of the largest known Tyrannosaurus Rex specimens in existence. The connection between Samson and ESC stems from the use of 3D imaging technologies and computational methods such as finite element analysis (FEA) that palaeontologists and various engineers used to assemble Samson’s nearly 40-foot long skeleton. The lessons learned from this approach provided unprecedented knowledge of the anatomy, lifestyle and evolution of the Tyrannosaurus Rex.
Taking the knowledge to be gained from Samson a step further, in 2005 Samson’s skull was sent to NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, AL, where scientists studied it with the same Computed Tomography (CT) scan technology and equipment used to examine the space shuttle.
With the aid of these new analytical technologies, we can scrutinize the fossilized remains of a dinosaur that lived millions of years ago to develop new approaches to the systems we design today.
“In recent years, palaeontologists, biomechanics specialists, systems modeling engineers and medical researchers have pooled their skills,” said Ron Wilson, editorial director ESD, EDN & EE Times Designlines. As a result, “we can map the shape and density of fossilized bones, build biomechanical computer models, and determine much about how these creatures actually lived their lives. These same modeling techniques are used in developing advanced embedded systems in aerospace, transportation, and medical applications.”
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