Embedded Systems«Intelligence» takes account of autonomous reasoning and acting in a co-operative manner. «Ambient Intelligence» refers to an exciting new paradigm in information technology, «in which people are empowered through a digital environment that is aware of their presence and context and is sensitive, adaptive and responsive to their needs, habits, gestures and emotions». This applies not only for people-centered tasks, which, of course, seems the most exciting, science-fiction-type, aspect, but also for purely technical solutions like smart sensors, actuators and control systems, especially in safety related applications. [1, p.2]
Heterogeneity (of environment, applications, protocols, etc.), autonomy (self-awareness, self healing, self-organizing, etc.), nomadic mobility (ad hoc, unreliable, heterogeneous, etc.) and scale-less (number of users, geography, structure, etc.) are the new emerging embedded systems challenges.
Used in everything from consumer electronics to industrial equipment, embedded systems —small, specialized computer systems stored on a single microprocessor — are playing a major role in the growth of the Internet and the boom of wireless communication channels. Due in part to embedded systems, more and more consumer products and industrial equipment are becoming Internet-friendly. For example, DVD players are now dialing in to Internet databases for movie trivia, and GPS (Global Positioning System) mechanisms are often integrated into automobiles. It is all proof that the Internet and wireless technologies are not just for personal computers anymore. Most embedded systems are small enough to sit on the end of your thumb and are usually hidden within much larger and more complex mobile computing or electronic devices, so they often go unnoticed. But embedded systems actually represent the vast majority of semiconductor sales. According to the World Semiconductor Trade Statistics blue book, there are an estimated 5 billion embedded microprocessors in use today — a whopping 94 percent share of the world market. [2, p. 23] Embedded systems can be regarded today as some of the most lively research and industrial targets. In this field, the ever-increasing demand for computing power and any sort of system resources continuously challenges state-of-the-art design methodologies and development techniques. Most of the complexity of these tasks comes from the need to satisfy tight constrains on performance, memory size, code size, power consumption, appliance weight and dimension, possible real-time behaviours, maintainability, scalability, security, time-to-market and, last but not indubitably least, cost. In this scenario, solutions can be proposed at different levels of abstraction, making use of an assortment of tools and methodologies: both the hardware and software components must be taken into account. Moreover, the networked nature of many embedded systems raises new issues about their proper development. Tackling new problems emerging in this complex scenario, calls for a joint effort by academia and industry. [3, p. 6] This part provides an overview of four different, but nevertheless typical applications of embedded systems, i.e., some work on Autonomous Systems The rapid development of micro-processor technology and the continuous growth of integration density of electronically and mechatronical components yields a significant cost reduction of high tech products. Driven by this development it becomes feasible to embed information processing and communicating devices in all sorts of appliances, toys, production facilities, communication systems, traffic and transport systems etc. In future, IT-systems will be embedded more and more into complex mechatronical applications in the sectors of manufacturing and human daily environment, where they tend to disappear behind the system's functionality. Autonomy, adaptability and network integration are characteristic features of these systems. Conventional control systems and architectures are no longer adequate to realize the potential of these technologies completely, nor are they sufficient to master the complexity of such systems. The solution is to design selected components as «autonomous systems», which can act mainly on themselves without external control most of the time. In this context, autonomous mobile and bio mimetic robots form the forefront of development. In the Master's program in Autonomous Systems, students will train practical skills and intellectual abilities necessary for the design and development of autonomous, technical systems. Covered topics include, but are not restricted to, the design of embedded systems, controller programming, mechatronics and sensorics, real-time systems, distributed systems, object-oriented design, navigation and control of mobile robots, computer vision, and mathematics of dynamic systems. [4, p. 56] On Intelligent travel safety through co-operative networks Intelligent Vehicle Systems – accident prevention through improved driver-warning strategies, hazard detection, actuation and sensing including sensor fusion and sensor networks, as well as the integration of independent safety systems and their interaction with the driver. New generation advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS) will increase vehicles’ intelligence and contribute to safer and more efficient driving.On Ambient assisted living support for the «aging society» Am I; on a user-centered design approach to smart environments; on platforms for ambient services — spanning the gap between the issue of sensor networks and adaptive applications — (Ambiance, Construct); and, as a special case, intelligent materials for smart applications. Ambient Embedded systems in the field of health science will help to detect sudden change in patterns of symptoms and help in analysing which antibiotic/medicine will suit the best. These systems will be of best use to people who are on dialysis, artificial respiratory systems and suffering from Cancer; ambient embedded systems might just be the answer to AIDS-like search and destroy ADIS affected tissue/cell. A personal robot platform with emotional feedback.There are many variations in definitions of what exactly is a robot. Therefore, it is sometimes difficult to compare numbers of robots in different countries. To try to provide a universally acceptable definition, the International Organization for Standardization gives a definition of robot in ISO 8373, which defines a robot as «an automatically controlled, reprogrammable, multipurpose, manipulator programmable in three or more axes, which may be either fixed in place or mobile for use in industrial automation applications».
The personal robots will be able to express feelings, emotions liking disliking on various issues when asked for. The biggest threat that stands in the way and the reason why their development is proceeding at a slow pace is; since all the future embedded systems will be connected to the web server directly, they will be vulnerable to viruses/ re-programming. The PR platform is going to cater to most of the time saving tasks of daily activity whether in home or in office leading to more output.The steps in the development of PR are already in its beta stages. For instance Actroid-DER, a robot for events, which KOKORO, Inc. developed. It is possible to have a good command of four languages, Japanese, Chinese, Korean, and English. The Actroid-DER in this picture is stationed at the robot station of Expo 2005 Aichi Japan. She is not human, without doubt. A Japanese Actroid is a robot, which is intended to look as much like a human as possible. On new gen-embedded computer systems. This wide spectrum of projects is typical for the broad range of foci addressed by the engineering of Am I applications for the future intelligent environment of people.Getting smarterThanks to the Internet and the market explosion of new technologies, embedded systems are becoming smarter and more network-friendly every day. So, whereas today’s embedded systems may perform such mundane tasks as synchronizing the clock in a microwave oven, tomorrow’s systems might download recipes via the Internet or alert repair companies of product malfunction.Clearly, the growing use of embedded systems on the Internet also represents a lucrative proving ground for vendors looking to extend their reach of desktop operating systems and development tools. Because there is not yet an established market leader in embedded operating systems, companies such as Microsoft (with Windows CE), Sun Microsystems (with Java 2 Micro Edition), and Red Hat Software (with Linux for Embedded Developers) all face an excellent opportunity to branch their operating systems into this promising market. Most experts predict that the current explosion of activity in the embedded technology sector is only going to get bigger. A recent report by market research firm IDC predicts that by 2002, Internet appliances — primarily consisting of embedded systems — could rival the unit volume numbers posted by all PC vendors combined. Dataquest echoes this sentiment, predicting that by 2003, 400 million Internet appliances will be in use and that by 2010, all home PCs will be replaced by embedded system-based devices. In this scenario, most home offices would probably use one or more separate Internet appliances, which will either be industry-specialized or will converge many technologies (phone, fax, Internet, and TV) into one device. Embedded systems have a number of industry trends to thank for their growing popularity, at least in part. First of all, their phenomenal growth is closely linked to the increasing availability of more powerful and less expensive processors, as well as to the decreasing price points of low-cost, high-density memory. Industry analysts are also pointing to several other factors that are driving embedded system usage, all closely associated with business and consumer expectations. The factor is the ongoing emergence of standards-based operating systems for embedded devices. Current usage trends show the market to be fragmented with developers employing a combination of commercial, free, and proprietary operating systems for development. With this in mind, many major operating system vendors are repurposing their wares for the embedded marketplace.A case in point is Microsoft: At the recent Embedded Systems Conference 2000 in San Jose, Calif., the company made several announcements of its intentions to promote the use of the Windows CE operating system in Web-enabled cell phones and PDAs. These plans included offering enhancements to Windows CE 3.0 to make it easier to network and communicate among embedded system-based devices. Not to be outdone is Sun Microsystems, which, in conjunction with a variety of industry partners, has developed the Java 2 Micro Edition (J2ME) standard, a development language that combines a small-footprint JVM (Java virtual machine) with a set of APIs for use in a range of embedded applications. Of course, Linux vendors are also thinking small. For example, Red Hat Software’s Red Hat for Embedded Developers provides a toolkit for developers looking to create open-source applications for embedded-system devices that contain as little as 32KB of memory.The embedded systems in the future will be autonomous capable to take minor decisions on their own self, in turn reducing the time consumption on the task input and leading to efficiency in the respective field. [5, p. 8] They will be able to perform multiple tasks at the same time will be even smaller smarter and lighter and cheaper. They will blend with the present scenario and the people; without causing any kind of discomfort to us rather will be more assistive in nature.
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