Fractional Horsepower Engines and the IOT



Fractional Horsepower Engines of the IOT
Almost anything can be computerized in the IOT with connected processor-enabled sensor-based systems.
By Larry A. Crāpo, Director of Business Development, Breadware, Inc.
Back in 1983, Steve Jobs made a famous analogy between big computers, little computers, and steam engines — “Only with the advent of the fractional horsepower motor could horsepower be brought directly to where it was needed.” He was right. We don’t lash our portable drills and smoothie blenders to some rotating overhead wilderness of belts and pulleys run from a single large engine out in the garage. Each item has its own little motor.
At the time, Jobs meant his comment in defense of personal computers, which had only begun to displace computing power distributed from mainframes and minicomputers, and which sometimes encountered corporate resistance if not outright hostility. Hop into the DeLorean and motor forward 35 years, and we can make the same observation today about personal computers and “fractional horsepower” computers hooked to the Internet of Things.
Figure: Fractional horsepower engine – Of an Alchin traction engine. (Courtesy https://www.flickr.com/photos/elsie/)
According to Pew Research (whose numbers from 2014 are now somewhat brittle with age), 84% of US households have at least one desktop/laptop computer, and 73% have a broadband connection to the internet. Other areas of the world are equipped to a greater or lesser extent. Singapore and Lithuania are hovering at 100% connected. We’re at a point where the personal computer (especially in the home) can be considered as the mainframe or minicomputer of Jobs’ vision, and a host of smaller, internet-connected devices — TVs, phones, and stereos already; alarm systems, doorbells, vacuum cleaners, and HVAC as we speak; and appliances such as the fridge, washers/dryers, and soon everything else — form the Internet of Things, IoT.
There is a temptation… perhaps a strong temptation… to view an internet-enabled refrigerator as symptom of a fad. What’s it going to talk to, the milk? I will pause soberly to mention that personal computers once were derided in the same jocular tone, and dare I mention the phrase “get a horse”? (Oddly, no one ever shouted, “Get a messenger!” to the people putting in the first telephones.)
The long-term answer is: yes, it will talk to the milk — and ultimately to the milk distributor and the dairyman. That’s because IoT will not rest with adding a cool but expensive new feature to the top-end models of an already expensive appliance. IoT will be pervasive, like barcodes. Milk production lines, storage, and shipment will benefit from better instrumentation using connected IoT devices. You may not have experienced it personally — yet — but this IoT-fueled expansion in the number of internet-connected devices is what is driving the change from the IPv4 internet addressing scheme to the IPv6 internet addressing scheme. IPv4 can “only” connect to 232 devices (4,294,967,296, about half the number of people on the earth). IPv6 can provide individual addresses to 2128 discrete devices (and we’re ignoring internal networks). That’s… um… a lot. Like, more than the number of grains of sand on the Earth. A lot.
Almost anything can be computerized in this IoT way — some frivolously, some powerfully, some in ways we don’t currently anticipate (that’s the fun part). Edison invented the electric light, but he also invented the electric pen.
You don’t use an electric pen, do you?
We celebrate Edison’s inventiveness, anyway. So, too, with IoT. Some ideas will work famously, we won’t be able to live without them. Others will be the electric pens of 2020. This is what makes a horse race. It’s time to experiment. This is exciting. It’s Microsoft in 1985 exciting. The marketplace will decide — as it decides everything — what is useful and what we can live without.
Sure, we can do it; we can do anything. Anything encompasses quite a lot. Novelist Elan Mastai commented that every invention includes its own accident. You can’t have a wrong number without telephones, for example. We don’t yet know what “accidents” will accompany IoT. Still, there are a few questions that ride shotgun with the Internet of Things for both manufacturers of IoT-enabled devices and their users: What is the benefit? What is the cost? And who bears that cost?
This is where the shoulders of giants have brought IoT. It’s where the paradigms shift. It’s where we need those cleats to hang on.
About Breadware:
Breadware enables the Internet of Things for all sorts of Things. Breadware technology applies a high-level software abstraction technology to internet-connected hardware to make electronics development affordable, flexible, and accessible. This overcomes hardware development methods that have been clunky, disconnected, costly, and time-intensive. Breadware overcomes the IoT bottleneck.

Almost anything can be computerized in the IOT with connected processor-enabled sensor-based systems. Breadware provides development solutions that can help.

By Jeff Walden, Senior Editor, Breadware, Inc.

Back in 1983, Steve Jobs made a famous analogy between big computers, little computers, and steam engines — “Only with the advent of the fractional horsepower motor could horsepower be brought directly to where it was needed.” He was right. We don’t lash our portable drills and smoothie blenders to some rotating overhead wilderness of belts and pulleys run from a single large engine out in the garage. Each item has its own little motor.

At the time, Jobs meant his comment in defense of personal computers, which had only begun to displace computing power distributed from mainframes and minicomputers, and which sometimes encountered corporate resistance if not outright hostility. Hop into the DeLorean and motor forward 35 years, and we can make the same observation today about personal computers and “fractional horsepower” computers hooked to the Internet of Things.

Figure: Fractional horsepower engine - Of an Alchin traction engine. (Courtesy https://www.flickr.com/photos/elsie/)

Figure: Fractional horsepower engine - Of an Alchin traction engine. (Courtesy https://www.flickr.com/photos/elsie/)

According to Pew Research (whose numbers from 2014 are now somewhat brittle with age), 84% of US households have at least one desktop/laptop computer, and 73% have a broadband connection to the internet. Other areas of the world are equipped to a greater or lesser extent. Singapore and Lithuania are hovering at 100% connected. We’re at a point where the personal computer (especially in the home) can be considered as the mainframe or minicomputer of Jobs’ vision, and a host of smaller, internet-connected devices — TVs, phones, and stereos already; alarm systems, doorbells, vacuum cleaners, and HVAC as we speak; and appliances such as the fridge, washers/dryers, and soon everything else — form the Internet of Things, IoT.

There is a temptation… perhaps a strong temptation… to view an internet-enabled refrigerator as symptom of a fad. What’s it going to talk to, the milk? I will pause soberly to mention that personal computers once were derided in the same jocular tone, and dare I mention the phrase “get a horse”? (Oddly, no one ever shouted, “Get a messenger!” to the people putting in the first telephones.)

The long-term answer is: yes, it will talk to the milk — and ultimately to the milk distributor and the dairyman. That’s because IoT will not rest with adding a cool but expensive new feature to the top-end models of an already expensive appliance. IoT will be pervasive, like barcodes. Milk production lines, storage, and shipment will benefit from better instrumentation using connected IoT devices. You may not have experienced it personally — yet — but this IoT-fueled expansion in the number of internet-connected devices is what is driving the change from the IPv4 internet addressing scheme to the IPv6 internet addressing scheme. IPv4 can “only” connect to 232 devices (4,294,967,296, about half the number of people on the earth). IPv6 can provide individual addresses to 2128 discrete devices (and we’re ignoring internal networks). That’s… um… a lot. Like, more than the number of grains of sand on the Earth. A lot.

Almost anything can be computerized in this IoT way — some frivolously, some powerfully, some in ways we don’t currently anticipate (that’s the fun part). Edison invented the electric light, but he also invented the electric pen.

You don’t use an electric pen, do you?

We celebrate Edison’s inventiveness, anyway. So, too, with IoT. Some ideas will work famously, we won’t be able to live without them. Others will be the electric pens of 2020. This is what makes a horse race. It’s time to experiment. This is exciting. It’s Microsoft in 1985 exciting. The marketplace will decide — as it decides everything — what is useful and what we can live without.

Sure, we can do it; we can do anything. Anything encompasses quite a lot. Novelist Elan Mastai commented that every invention includes its own accident. You can’t have a wrong number without telephones, for example. We don’t yet know what “accidents” will accompany IoT. Still, there are a few questions that ride shotgun with the Internet of Things for both manufacturers of IoT-enabled devices and their users: What is the benefit? What is the cost? And who bears that cost?

This is where the shoulders of giants have brought IoT. It’s where the paradigms shift. It’s where we need those cleats to hang on.

dsfdsdfds

About Breadware:

Breadware enables the Internet of Things for all sorts of Things. Breadware technology applies a high-level software abstraction technology to internet-connected hardware to make electronics development affordable, flexible, and accessible. This overcomes hardware development methods that have been clunky, disconnected, costly, and time-intensive. Breadware overcomes the IoT bottleneck.

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