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Using the Technological Capability We Have

Embedded systems will soon be improving everything from the automotive industry to the electric grid.
September 23, 2008

Lisa Su, senior vice president and chief technology officer at Freescale Semiconductor spoke in her keynote today at EmTech’s Women in Technology Workshop about near-future uses of embedded systems. Now that we can put hundreds of millions of transistors on a chip, she says, the question is, what do you do with all that technology?

She sees embedded systems improving the electric grid – with good sensor technology and electronics, she says, it would be possible to create many smaller local electric systems. Home appliances could have smart power meters that adjust based on spikes in demand. Other areas where she sees embedded systems causing big improvements are telemedicine, robotic surgery, and the automotive industry. In all three cases, the key innovations, she says, would come from networks, whether those networks would allow faster diagnoses, or smart highways that take over most of the duties of driving.

“When you think of what we can do as a society, we’ve really only scratched the surface when it comes to using the technology capability that we have,” Su says.

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"It was in the newspaper, but the towers fell the next day, and what I’d done was quickly lost."

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