In 2028, sensors are everywhere
|November 2028 is the 40th anniversary of ESD. Click here read other 2028 lookbacks.|
As the Max Plank Institute prepares for the commissioning of its first commercial Tokomak fusion generator later this year, it provides a wonderful backdrop to reflect on the innovation that has taken place in the first quarter of the 21st century. Fusion, the long sought after and highly anticipated source of power, has finally become practical after a burst of activity in the last two decades. The major breakthrough came when real-time solvers on FPGA Infinicore systems made it possible to stabilize and control the plasma indefinitely. Rapid commercialization is now underway with the promise of near limitless clean energy.
Indeed, no one would have expected to see such advances as we see today in energy, medicine, and technology as little as two decades ago. What feels to be an exponential increase in the pace of innovation is due in large part to the ubiquitous nature of embedded devices. With the "format wars" on design tools finally decided, the standardization of high-level graphical design tools and heterogeneous hardware make it possible for any domain expert--nuclear scientists to stay-at-home spouses--to target an array of devices, from environmental sensing networks across the globe to personal processors in our clothes that detect nutrition and hydration deficiencies. The buzzword is no longer "embedded intelligence" but instead "embedded inter-operation."
The environmental movement begun at the beginning of this century proved to be a catalyst for transformations in several areas. Obviously the energy sector saw great change and "cleaned up" by moving its focus to carbon-neutral technologies, but that shift created additional, unexpected advancements. For example, bio-reactors that can feed on carbon emissions and convert them into reusable materials like bio-diesel and fertilizer. This particular byproduct of renewable energy research has all but eliminated "dead zones" in our oceans that at one point appeared to be unstoppable.