Lee, what you have articulated in your article is the vision that resulted in things like the Java programming language. Java was originally intended to be used in smart, embedded devices like home appliances. In fact, some of the early examples used to illustrate this included a smart toaster.
The example you give of the appliance repair scenario is a good one. Of course, it is being used on military systems and has been used in aerospace applications for a while. What is new is the availability of very inexpensive smart control systems. I was working with one, from Cypress Semiconductor, that costs only a dollar in quantity. It is a whole programmable, configurable System on Chip (SoC) with extensive I/O. It also is small and draws little power. I use it as an example, and there are many devices around that fit the bill. What makes it different is the connectivity.
Your comment about the Industrial Internet increasing complexity puzzles me, though. In my opinion, it makes it easier to connect things and automate more processes. I guess you could look at it as making things more complex becuase we can do more. On the other hand, these new things we can do are easier to do than before. Having a standard makes it cheaper and easier to integrate.
A middle school team from Rochester, Mich., has again nabbed the grand prize in the annual international Future City Competition, which drew students from 37 regions of the United States, as well as from England and China.
The word “smart” is becoming the dumbest word around. It has been applied to almost every device and system in our homes. In addition to smartphones and smart meters, we now hear about smart clothing and smart shoes, smart lights, smart homes, smart buildings, and every trendy city today has its smart city project. Just because it has a computer inside and is connected to the Web, does not mean it is smart.
Are you being paid enough? Do you want a better job? According to a recent survey Manpower released just before Engineers Week, employers and engineers don't see eye-to-eye about the state of US engineers' skills and experience.
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