Many attempts have been made and are underway for implementing energy harvesting systems for powering the low power wireless sensor networks. It will be really interesting to explore a bit on these systems too
Chuck, I hear different numbers all the time, but I think people expect a fairly functional (8-bit? 16/32? ADC?) microcontroller available in high volume for well under $1, say in the 30 to 50 cent range. Whether the low end is feasible....
Loring, I agree that one of the main things holding back widespread use is the competing standards. When I worked for an OEM, the customers always had some other idea in mind (and a lot of times it was whatever was "hot" at the moment".
I still think the other issue is the power source. Once battery technology evolves to where you can get a reliable long-term (i.e., year+) or self-recharging source, this tech will really take off.
Loring: In the RFID world, we used tto hear about "nickel tags." The belief was that when nickel tags arrived, millions of products would suddenly use RFID. Is there a similar price-point goal for microcontroller-powered dust?
Probably the biggest problem in universal adoption is that there is no single protocol that is the equivalent of 802 LANs and the seven-layer OSI prototol stack in wireless sensor nets. ZigBee is the most common physical and data-link protocol, though there's a lot of RFID, Wireless HART, NFC, etc. Eventually, probably all such nets will use TCP/IP and have an IP address. But the IP connection is not obvious because the cost of nodes needs to be so low. Until the cost of microcontroller-powered "dust" drops, we may have quite a protocol mess out there!
Robots that walk have come a long way from simple barebones walking machines or pairs of legs without an upper body and head. Much of the research these days focuses on making more humanoid robots. But they are not all created equal.
The IEEE Computer Society has named the top 10 trends for 2014. You can expect the convergence of cloud computing and mobile devices, advances in health care data and devices, as well as privacy issues in social media to make the headlines. And 3D printing came out of nowhere to make a big splash.
For industrial control applications, or even a simple assembly line, that machine can go almost 24/7 without a break. But what happens when the task is a little more complex? That’s where the “smart” machine would come in. The smart machine is one that has some simple (or complex in some cases) processing capability to be able to adapt to changing conditions. Such machines are suited for a host of applications, including automotive, aerospace, defense, medical, computers and electronics, telecommunications, consumer goods, and so on. This discussion will examine what’s possible with smart machines, and what tradeoffs need to be made to implement such a solution.