Intestinal Robots

Intestinal robots are artificial electromechanical systems – robots – that were designed for exploring the inner cavities and organs of the body, particularly the intestines and other parts of the digestive tract.  Built to replace or provide an alternative to colonoscopy, currently the only option for taking a look inside the human body (this is done by inserting a tube through a convenient orifice), intestinal robots have gained much attention from the medical community.  Due to the minute size of the circuitry that has to be used in intestinal robots, they are seen as a field for technological development and as an application of Moore’s Law. First-Generation Robots The first wave of intestinal robots was mostly designed to pass through the body passively.  The primary component of these robots was a miniaturized camera that took still images or video as it passed through the patient’s body.  An early example of…

Continue reading

Robotic Assistance for the Disabled

Embedded devices – particularly digital ones – that are specially designed to assist individuals with disabilities are often seen as the next step in that particular field of technology.  Such embedded devices generally have several advantages over the previous wave of embedded devices that have monitoring functions, control capabilities and the ability to access and use communication protocols like the internet.  The modern embedded applications devices do not stop at monitoring, tracking and relaying information; they almost always directly assist the user, such as in the form of a prosthetic limb or a personal transport assistance vehicle. Advancements in Embedded Devices Although research on embedded devices – especially  programmed computer systems designed to do a limited number of tasks – has been ongoing since the creation of the computer itself, great advances have only been achieved in recent years as a consequence of the developments in computing and computer chip-making…

Continue reading

Embedded Electronics in Space and Medicine

Embedded medical and space systems make use of miniaturized computers that are designed and programmed to do only one or a very limited number of functions. Their minute size and very low energy demands allow them to be used in several environments. Combined with other systems, they can be used to create any number of new devices. Embedded Systems in Medicine Because of their small size and their specificity in function, embedded systems have been widely used in medicine, especially when used as a relatively large component. Current computer tomography (CT) scanners use application-specific integrated circuits (ASICs) that span a few square inches; this is quite big in comparison to other implementations of embedded systems which cover a mere fraction of an inch. Photodiodes are yet another embedded system that is critical to CT scanners. Photodiode arrays (photodiodes arranged in a linear fashion on an integrated chip) are responsible for…

Continue reading

Sherpa Robot codename BigDog

The Sherpa robot (codenamed ‘BigDog’) is supposedly the most advanced four-footed robot in the world. The project is funded by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) and is being developed in cooperation with other agencies and organizations. Other DARPA-funded robot projects include that of the tree-climbing robot. The BigDog project aims to create a robot that could mimic animal movement, mechanics, control, and structure. The robot is being developed for the primary purpose of developing a robotic “pack mule” – a robot that can be used in a battlefield to carry heavy loads and go over rough terrain. Thus, this robot would function like a real animal that can carry the military unit’s supplies and ammunitions, although unlike real animals, the robot will not go hungry, become thirsty or get weary.

Continue reading

Embedded Electronics in Medicinal and Biological Sciences

Embedded medical and biological application refers to the use of technology and computers for observing certain events or generating a response when certain events occur. ‘Embedded’ points to the fact that such devices are either small or very passive, or both, such that the subjects of the observations are not continuously aware of it.

Continue reading

Green Embedded Electronics

‘Green electronics’ is an ideal that refers to environmentally friendly digital devices. Before the idea was brought forward, a considerable percentage of components involved in the manufacturing process of most electronic and digital devices were very toxic. Chemicals such as lead and polyvinyl chloride (PVC) were commonly used in the manufacture of items like LCD screens and laptop computers. The green electronics initiative is often seen as an extension of a company’s corporate social responsibility (CSR) plan because of its environmental core ideas. The concept is currently being pushed by many environmentalist organizations, most notable of which is Greenpeace International. In August 2006, Greenpeace released a list of the top ten ranked corporations that were actively reducing toxic components from within their products and improving the recycling process for their merchandise. Mobile phone manufacturer Nokia and computer giant Dell share the top spot on the said list. Step One: Reduction…

Continue reading

Radio Frequency Identification

Radio frequency identification (RFID) is an identification system that uses radio waves to send data, and RFID tags or transponders. The first patented RFID device was a passive radio transponder with an integrated memory by Mario Cardullo. At present, the technology has many applications, particularly in the retail industry because of its small size, low power demands and high levels of efficiency offered. The application of RFID is seen as the next generation of the barcode technology that is currently in use.

Continue reading