Embedded Computing – Where will it Take Us?

by | Aug 6, 2014 | Hardware and Software

How long will it be before the first petrified human teleportation test subject tries to hide his or her nerves with a tremulous “beam me up, Scotty”? Perhaps that scenario is a very long way off or will never happen. However didn’t people used to say the same thing about the little communicator that the cast of Star Trek phoned home on?

Today’s smartphones have more functionality than the communicators used by the crew of the good ship enterprise and more processing power than a 1990s desktop computer. The smartphone is a very visible example of embedded computing and has given us mobile capabilities that “trekkies” of the 70s could only fantasize about. Moreover, embedded computing is powering many of the appliances, devices and technology that we barely give a second thought to as we use them in our everyday existence.

Marvels of Embedded Computing Technology

When you climb into your car each day for example, unless it’s a very old model, you’re probably oblivious to the fact that from the moment you start the engine, your safety is in the hands of embedded computers that control engine and braking functions, as well as the information presented on the LCD display in your dashboard.

Some modern military fighter aircraft are equipped with embedded computing systems without which, they could literally never stay in the air. Only the millions of inputs to control surfaces from powerful microprocessors keep these flying machines stable enough to maintain controlled flight. Even civil airliners are controlled as much by embedded computer technology, both onboard and in air traffic control centers, as by the inputs of pilot and first officer on the flight deck.

From systems as advanced as weapons of mass destruction and Mars rovers to those as mundane as washing machines, embedded computing is at the heart of more useful and sometimes not so useful manufactured items than we ever take time to acknowledge. So what’s next?

Embedded Computing in the Human Body?

If you should tend to scoff at the idea of computers embedded inside the human body, re-read this article from the start. In fact to save you the trouble, human embedded computing is already here, as anyone with a heart pacemaker will tell you. Furthermore, a tiny chip is already in production which can be ingested inside a capsule and swallowed, before being used to transmit data from inside the body.

How much longer then, before a wireless keypad can be inserted under the skin on the palm of your hand, allowing you to make a call from your mobile phone by dialing on your hand? How much longer after that before you can be instantly disassembled and transported byte by byte to another location before being reassembled again? Perhaps it will never happen – But that’s what they said about the communicator. Click here to learn more.


Latest Articles