Hardware Definitions

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  • A

    active sensor

    An active sensor is a device with a transmitter that sends out a signal, light wavelength or electrons to be bounced off a target, with data gathered by the sensor upon their reflection. Active sensors contrast with passive sensors, which simply detect and respond to some type of input from the physical environment.

  • Amazon Prime Air drone

    Amazon's Prime Air drone is a delivery system in development that uses remote-controlled robotic vehicles to transport goods from the warehouse to the consumer. The drones are small, unmanned octocopters -- helicopters with eight rotors -- that use GPS navigation.

  • B

    Blue Gene

    Blue Gene is a supercomputer development project at IBM for a series of high-performance system-on-a-chip (SoC) arcitectures with minimal power demands. The series includes Blue Gene/L, Cyclops64, (formerly Blue Gene/C), Blue Gene/P and Blue Gene/Q.

  • bring your own wearables

    Bring your own wearables (BYOW) is a trend toward the use of employee-owned wearable computing devices in a business setting.

  • D

    device mesh

    A device mesh is an ad hoc network in the internet of things (IoT). The term, which was coined by research firm Gartner, describes an ever-changing mesh network consisting of the endpoint devices that people use to access applications, information and other people.

  • drone (UAV)

    A drone, in technological terms, is an unmanned aircraft. Drones are more formally known as unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) or unmanned aircraft systems (UASes).

  • E

    embedded firmware

    Hardware makers use embedded firmware to control the functions of various hardware devices and systems much like a computer’s operating system controls the function of software applications.

  • embedded system

    An embedded system is a combination of computer hardware and software designed for a specific function or functions within a larger system.

  • G

    Google Glass

    Google Glass is a wearable, voice- and motion-controlled Android device that resembles a pair of eyeglasses and displays information directly in the user's field of vision.

  • H

    headless system

    A headless system is a computer that operates without a monitor, graphical user interface (GUI) or the typical peripherals used to control it, such as a keyboard and mouse. Headless computers are often used in embedded systems and servers.

  • I

    Intel Atom

    Atom is Intel's family of x86 and x86-64 processors that are optimized for small computing devices, such as smartphones and mobile Internet devices (MIDs).

  • Intel Quark

    Intel Quark is an embedded system-on-a-chip (SoC) processor design intended for smaller mobile devices like wearable computers. As with their counterparts in elementary particles, Quark is smaller than  Atom. The Quark processor is said to be a fifth of the size of Atom and draw a tenth of the power.

  • intelligent device

    An intelligent device is any type of equipment, instrument, or machine that has its own computing capability.

  • IoT devices (internet of things devices)

    IoT devices, or any of the many things in the internet of things, are nonstandard computing devices that connect wirelessly to a network and have the ability to transmit data.

  • M

    machine data

    Machine data is digital information created by the activity of computers, mobile phones, embedded systems and other networked devices.

  • machine-to-machine (M2M)

    Machine-to-machine, or M2M, is a broad label that can be used to describe any technology that enables networked devices to exchange information and perform actions without the manual assistance of humans.

  • MEMS (micro-electromechanical systems)

    A MEMS (micro-electromechanical system) is a miniature machine that has both mechanical and electronic components.

  • microcomputer

    A microcomputer is a complete computer on a smaller scale and is generally a synonym for the more common term, personal computer or PC, a computer designed for an individual.

  • microcontroller

    A microcontroller is a compact integrated circuit designed to govern a specific operation in an embedded system.

  • mobile robot (mobile robotics)

    A mobile robot is a machine controlled by software that use sensors and other technology to identify its surroundings and move around its environment.

  • P

    passive sensor

    Passive sensor technologies gather target data through the detection of vibrations, light, radiation, heat or other phenomena occurring in the subject’s environment.  They contrast with active sensors, which include transmitters that send out a signal, a light wavelength or electrons to be bounced off the target, with data gathered by the sensor upon their reflection.

  • pervasive computing (ubiquitous computing)

    Pervasive computing, also called ubiquitous computing, is the growing trend of embedding computational capability (generally in the form of microprocessors) into everyday objects to make them effectively communicate and perform useful tasks in a way that minimizes the end user's need to interact with computers as computers.

  • R

    RFID (radio frequency identification)

    RFID (radio frequency identification) is a form of wireless communication that incorporates the use of electromagnetic or electrostatic coupling in the radio frequency portion of the electromagnetic spectrum to uniquely identify an object, animal or person.

  • RFID tagging

    RFID tagging uses small radio frequency identification devices to track and identify objects.

  • S

    smart bulb (smart light bulb)

    A smart bulb is a networked LED light bulb that has additional features to enable automation, presence-sensing capabilities and customization.

  • smart grid sensor

    A smart grid sensor is a small, lightweight node that serves as a detection station in a sensor network.

  • smart home hub (home automation hub)

    A smart home hub is hardware or software that connects devices on a home automation network and controls communications among them.

  • smart meter

    A smart meter is an Internet-capable device that measures energy, water or natural gas consumption of a building or home.

  • smartwatch

    A smartwatch is a wearable computing device that closely resembles a wristwatch or other time-keeping device.

  • SoC testing (system-on-a-chip testing)

    SoC (system-on-a-chip) testing is the testing of system-on-a-chip (SoC) devices.

  • switch-on-a-chip (SOC)

    A switch-on-a-chip (SOC) is a network - typically a storage network - switch (a device that channels incoming data flow from any of multiple input ports to the output port appropriate for its destination) that is built into a single microchip (integrated circuit).

  • system-on-a-chip (SoC)

    System-on-a-chip (SoC) technology is the packaging of all the necessary electronic circuits and parts for a "system" (such as a cell phone or digital camera) on a single integrated circuit (IC), generally known as a microchip.

  • T

    thing (in the Internet of Things)

    A thing, in the context of the Internet of things (IoT), is an entity or physical object that has a unique identifier, an embedded system and the ability to transfer data over a network.

  • V

    VeriChip

    VeriChip is an injectable identification chip that can be inserted under the skin of a human being to provide biometric verification.

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