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.
Engineers at Fuel Cell Energy have found a way to take advantage of a side reaction, unique to their carbonate fuel cell that has nothing to do with energy production, as a potential, cost-effective solution to capturing carbon from fossil fuel power plants.
To get to a trillion sensors in the IoT that we all look forward to, there are many challenges to commercialization that still remain, including interoperability, the lack of standards, and the issue of security, to name a few.
This is part one of an article discussing the University of Washington’s nationally ranked FSAE electric car (eCar) and combustible car (cCar). Stay tuned for part two, tomorrow, which will discuss the four unique PCBs used in both the eCar and cCars.
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