ENTRIES TAGGED "embedded systems"

What BlackBerry is up to these days

Practically dead in smartphones, BlackBerry is dominant in the auto industry.

Here’s a surprise, via Bloomberg:

“BlackBerry’s QNX operating system, used to power its BlackBerry 10 phones, has become the technology of choice for mapping, communication and entertainment systems in cars from Ford Motor Co. to luxury German brands Porsche and BMW.”

BlackBerry acquired QNX in 2010 from Harman International, a long-time supplier to the auto industry. “Long-time supplier” is the crucial bit. As for why QNX has done well, Bloomberg explains:

“‘QNX is the standard right now,’ said Matthew Stover, an analyst at Guggenheim Partners in Boston. ‘It’s proven and people know what it is.’

A key to maintaining the lead is QNX’s track record in running safety systems, crucial in situations where a software freeze could mean a car accident.”

By the logic of Silicon Valley, that’s a disruption waiting to happen, as Google and a consortium of automakers have foreseen. But this also underscores the ways in which the market for software in heavy industry, and in physical machines in general, is different from the market for software that stays strictly virtual.

[H/T Jim Stogdill]

Comment: 1

Internet of Things in celebration and provocation at MIT

IoTFest reveals exemplary applications as well as challenges

Last Saturday’s IoT Festival at MIT became a meeting ground for people connecting the physical world. Embedded systems developers, security experts, data scientists, and artists all joined in this event. Although it was called a festival, it had a typical conference format with speakers, slides, and question periods. Hallway discussions were intense.

However you define the Internet of Things (O’Reilly has its own take on it, in our Solid blog site and conference), a lot stands in the way of its promise. And these hurdles are more social than technical.

Read more…

Comment: 1

Hurdles to the Internet of Things prove more social than technical

MIT's IoTFest reveals the IoT poses as much challenge as it does promise.

Last Saturday’s IoT Festival at MIT became a meeting-ground for people connecting the physical world. Embedded systems developers, security experts, data scientists, and artists all joined in this event. Although it was called a festival, it had a typical conference format with speakers, slides, and question periods. Hallway discussions were intense.

However you define the Internet of Things (O’Reilly has its own take on it, in our Solid blog site and conference), a lot stands in the way of its promise. And these hurdles are more social than technical.

Participants eye O'Reilly books

Participants eye O’Reilly books (Credit: IoT Festival)

Some of the social discussion we have to have before we get the Internet of Things rolling are:

  • What effects will all this data collection, and the injection of intelligence into devices, have on privacy and personal autonomy? And how much of these precious values are we willing to risk to reap the IoT’s potential for improving life, saving resources, and lowering costs?

Read more…

Comments: 2

Oobleck security

What is the security model for a world filled with sensors?

I’ve been thinking (and writing) a lot lately about the intersection of hardware and software, and how standing at that crossroads does not fit neatly into our mental models of how to approach the world. Previously, there was hardware and there was software, and the two didn’t really mix. When trying to describe my thinking to a colleague at work, the best way to describe the world was that it’s becoming “oobleck,” the mixture of cornstarch and water that isn’t quite a solid but isn’t quite a liquid, named after the Dr. Seuss book Bartholomew and the Oobleck.  (If you want to know how to make it, check out this video.)

One of the reasons I liked the metaphor of oobleck for the melding of hardware and software is that it can rapidly change on you when you’re not looking. It pours like a liquid, but it can “snap” like a solid. If you place the material under stress, as might happen if you set it on a speaker cone, it changes state and acts much more like a weird solid.

This “phase change” effect may also occur as we connect highly specialized embedded computers (really, “sensors”) to the Internet. As Bruce Schneier recently observed, patching embedded systems is hard. As if on cue, a security software company published a report that thousands of TVs and refrigerators may have been compromised to send spam. Embedded systems are easy to overlook from a security perspective because at the dawn of the Internet, security was relatively easy: install a firewall to sit between your network and the Internet, and carefully monitor all connections in and out of the network. Security was spliced into the protocol stack at the network layer. One of my earliest projects in understanding the network layer was working with early versions of Linux to configure a firewall with the then-new technology of address translation. As a result, my early career took place in and around network firewalls. Read more…

Comments: 3
Top Stories: November 14-18, 2011

Top Stories: November 14-18, 2011

America's tech schizophrenia, why Apple fans don't like Android, and the terrifying importance of embedded systems.

This week on O'Reilly: Doug Hill used Steve Jobs and Ted Kaczynski to examine America's love/hate relationship with technology, Mike Loukides criticized mobile carriers for messing with Android's UI, and engineer Elecia White shared her enthusiasm for embedded systems.

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Why embedded systems are "terrifyingly important"

Why embedded systems are "terrifyingly important"

Embedded systems engineer Elecia White on race cars, smart dust, and learning on the fly.

Author and embedded systems engineer Elecia White discusses the state of embedded systems and what lies ahead (hint: distributed intelligence and microdots).

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Why embedded systems are “terrifyingly important”

Why embedded systems are “terrifyingly important”

Embedded systems engineer Elecia White on race cars, smart dust, and learning on the fly.

Author and embedded systems engineer Elecia White discusses the state of embedded systems and what lies ahead (hint: distributed intelligence and microdots).

Comment: 1
The secret is to bang the rocks together

The secret is to bang the rocks together

Arduino is a building block for the world to come.

Every so often a piece of technology can become a lever that lets people move the world, just a little bit. The Arduino is one of those levers.

Comments: 9

Complete real-time sleep feedback loop: Zeo device provides raw data

Zeo has recently added a new feature to their consumer-priced sleep
device that puts out sleep phase and brain wave data every 30 seconds.

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Four short links: 19 October 2010

Four short links: 19 October 2010

Positive Gov2, Psychology of Places, Open Source Embedded Devices, and Dilbert on Data

  1. YIMBY — Swedish site for “Yes, In My Back Yard”. Provides an opportunity for the net to aggregate positive desires (“please put a bus stop on my street”, “we want wind power”) rather than simply aggregating complaints. (via cityofsound on Twitter)
  2. Getting People in the Door — a summary of some findings about people’s approaches to the physical layout of shopping space. People like to walk in a loop. They avoid “cul de sacs” that they can see are dead-ends, because they don’t want to get bored walking through the same merchandise twice. Apply these to your next office space.
  3. OpenBricksembedded Linux framework that provides easy creation of custom distributions for industrial embedded devices. It features a complete embedded development kit for rapid deployment on x86, ARM, PowerPC and MIPS systems.
  4. Dilbert on Data — pay attention, data miners. (via Kevin Marks)
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