Opportunities and obligations for physical computing systems

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Stankovic, John A
Mok, Aloysius
Rajkumar, Raj

The recent confluence of embedded and real-time systems with wireless, sensor, and networking technologies is creating a nascent infrastructure for a technical, economic, and social revolution. Based on the seamless integration of computing with the physical world via sensors and actuators, this revolution will accrue many benefits. Potentially, its impact could be similar to that of the current Internet. We believe developers must focus on the physical, real-time, and embedded aspects of pervasive computing. We refer to this domain as physical computing systems. For pervasive computing to achieve its promise, developers must create not only high-level system software and application solutions, but also low-level embedded systems solutions. To better understand physical computing's advantages, we consider three application areas: assisted living, emergency response systems for natural or man-made disasters, and protecting critical infrastructures at the national level.

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Copyright 2005 IEEE. Reprinted from Computer, Volume 38, Issue 11, November 2005, pages 23-31. This material is posted here with permission of the IEEE. Such permission of the IEEE does not in any way imply IEEE endorsement of any of the University of Pennsylvania's products or services. Internal or personal use of this material is permitted. However, permission to reprint/republish this material for advertising or promotional purposes or for creating new collective works for resale or redistribution must be obtained from the IEEE by writing to pubs-permissions@ieee.org. By choosing to view this document, you agree to all provisions of the copyright laws protecting it.
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