Embedded Systems: Devices for Everyday Life
Most people use embedded systems everyday. Items such as smart phones and iPods contain embedded systems. Joseph Sifakis, founder of Verimag Design, and Scientific Coordinator of ArtistDesign Network of Excellence on Embedded Systems Design, defines embedded systems as being composed of hardware and software components specifically designed for controlling a given application device.
Embedded systems are a growing phenomena in the technology world. Telephone and communication devices were some the earliest innovators of embedded systems. Today, governments and industries are putting major financing towards development of new applications and devices for trains, planes, and automobiles. Embedded systems are also found in smart cards and many consumer electronics.
Some new applications include smart medical devices intended to drive down the cost of health care and help track a person’s medical information. Embedded systems devices are being designed to assist with medicinal dosing and delivery systems to prevent accidents and treatment errors.
Smart houses will make us more energy efficient, and lower our carbon footprint. A new television commercial shows a woman at the airport turning off electrical devices at home with her smart phone. The futuristic energy grid will talk with your home or office during peak energy use to prevent brown outs and black outs.
All of this sounds wonderful, as software engineers and computer scientists incorporate these devices in our everyday gadgets, making life easier and more enjoyable. Ford uses Microsoft embedding in their automobile sound systems. Anti-lock brakes are another embedded software system. However, we've heard before that computers and the Internet will provide society with a technological utopia.
What happens when the technology goes bad? Computer viruses and worms have become all too common. Are embedded devices susceptible to these as well? For instance, Toyota’s acceleration problems could be a result of faulty embedded systems, even though Toyota claims otherwise