By Ron Wilson, Editor-in-Chief, Altera Corporation
The growth of wearable electronics—whether for biometrics, communication, or augmented reality—extends the concept of an embedded system into new, unexplored territory. Putting sensors and output devices on or in the human operator conjures up the coined word cyborg: a merging of human faculties with embedded systems.
Just as wearables open new vistas for applications, they demand new perspectives in embedded architecture. A cluster of sensors in an adhesive patch or an ingestible lozenge is completely isolated from conventional power, ground, and I/O connections. Yet to achieve tiny size and near-zero energy consumption, that little cluster may be more-then-conventionally dependent on local signal-processing, storage, and wireless connectivity. It is a paradox architects must untangle.
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