Imagine; walking through the showroom doors onto the convention floor, the voices of people exchanging conversations and sharing ideas echoed through the room with buzzing enthusiasm. My name is Gordon Chan and I’m a marketing intern here at Premio Inc. Only a couple months had passed since I started as a marketing intern, but I had found out a lot about embedded technology in that short period of time. Enough so that I was given the opportunity to attend this embedded tech expo.
The 2019 Embedded Technologies Expo & Conference (held at McEnery Convention Center in San Jose, CA) is unique as the only event that provides an unparalleled experience focused on edge computing designs and the future of embedded systems. Leading top names in the industry along with start-up businesses had set up their booths to showcase and share their latest technologies with a room full of their peers. My first thought after entering the convention was just how monumental the conference was. Our Premio booth was a drop in the ocean compared to the elaborate maze of exhibition stands set up by organizers.
Co-located with the Sensors Expo & Conference, this shared space allows exhibitors and attendees alike to learn about the inter-connected relationship between sensors and embedded systems that is essential to marketplace growth. In the same manner, we partnered with Edyza, a start-up company focused on deploying high-density internet of things (IoT) sensors capable of collecting geo-data on temperature, humidity, and air pressure. They required an industrial edge computer capable of withstanding the harsh agricultural environments while capable of monitoring each sensor to analyze crucial logistical data in real-time. Our rugged, fanless edge computers succeeds where traditional computer systems fail, allowing Edyza to employ their sensors in industrialized agricultural settings confidently, knowing that our computers are collecting and delivering crucial data smoothly.
After checking in with my manager, I walked through the convention floor and tried to take in as much of the scene as I could. This was unbelievable. Left and right leading tech industries were showcasing their latest and inspiring projects. I had only gone through a handful of booths before encountering a small start-up that focused on smart ammonia sensors. Their sensors can operate continuously in the presence of ammonia, which is a highly toxic byproduct common to agricultural and animal industries, and accurately identify where the gas is originating from. This would have significant applications in manufacturing industries and animal farms where the chemical is typically present.
Many of the exhibition stands at the conference covered similar technology, granted that this was a sensors expo. There were countless companies focusing on radar sensors with wide applications in autonomous driving, providing useful data on vehicle speed and distance. And some even explored possible employments in medical homes. These specialized medical sensors capture imperative data related to the patient’s heart rate, respiration, and sleep quality, reinforcing the shift towards at-home patient care.
Technology has become a transformative factor in this generation, impacting the way we interact with each other on a daily basis. This is ever more apparent in the way healthcare has advanced in parallel with technological developments, everything from how we identify and classify diseases to improving accessibility of treatment. Being surrounded by advanced medical technology and listening to the passionate individuals behind the projects genuinely piqued my interest about the future of healthcare access. There are plenty of things we have yet to understand the full potential of, things we’re constantly trying to figure out and find answers to.
Throughout the day I couldn’t stop thinking about all the conceivable applications for these medical radar sensors. Their size and relative cost makes them ideal for the consumer market. Mounting a radar sensor onto your wall would be less pervasive than a video camera, all while providing the same level of accuracy. Even down to the minute details would drastically improve the quality of follow-up care. Formal caregivers and family members could then confidently access and follow the feed in real-time.
If their breathing becomes erratic or in the event of sudden cardiac arrest, the sensor can communicate the distress and act as an early signaling for immediate emergency care. With nearly 43.5 million caregivers in America providing unsalaried assistance to adults or children (National Alliance for Caregiving and AARP), the economic imperative to providing a time and cost-efficient solution is all the more significant. Integrating this IoT sensory technology would allow care workers to remotely access and check on their patients, eliminating for the need for constant round-the-clock care
Even patients in outlying locations or even patients with accessibility disorders wouldn’t need to physically visit their primary care providers anymore if their homes were connected through an IoT sensor network. Doctors would be able to communicate and visually interact with the patients, receiving real-time data from the radar medical sensors. This would drastically reduce the cost and time it would otherwise take and effectively hand full autonomy over to the patients.
The direction technology is headed exponentially amazes me. The network of sensors, embedded systems, and connectivity provides a clear example of what technology is capable of. And as development of AI and machine learning continues to improve, so will the quality of life of people with the integration of modern technologies into their daily lives. Some people see things that others don’t, and I’d like to think that the people I met at the conference are somewhat of visionaries.