Tag Archives: disruptive technologies

Museum of American Heritage highlights technology 1750 – 1950

A tip of the hat to audio guru Steve Williams, who tipped me off to the Museum of American Heritage. What started as a private collection of Frank Livermore has grown into a full-blooded museum.

They intend to combine elements of history, technology, and design. This will illustrate the evolution of technology, how and why it has influenced society from inception to the current time, and give a glimpse of future expectations. The museum has an average of 12,000 visitors per year, plus 3,000 to 6,000 visitors for special holiday displays and over 5,000 attendees at its annual Vintage Vehicles and Family Festival.

Museum Entrance

Museum Entrance, courtesy Britt Bredstad

There is a nice archive of exhibits and you can poke around their site to see a great spread of technology over the decades.

Located at 351 Homer Avenue in Palo Alto, CA, MOAH exhibits are open from 11am to 4pm on Friday, Saturday and Sunday, except during exhibit changeover weeks and selected holidays. Call MOAH at 650-321-1004 for further details.

How the IoT is changing everything

The McKinsey Global Institute has identified the Internet of Things (IoT) as among the most disruptive technologies of the coming decade. As James Manyika and Michael Chui of the CFR’s Foreign Affairs journal note, the IoT is a set of technologies that incorporates the physical world into the virtual one via networks of electronic sensors and devices connected to computers.

“The applications of a mobile-ready Internet of Things go beyond clothes: Tiny detectors that can gather and relay data about location, activity, and health (how well an object or device is holding up) have already been incorporated into everything from bridges and trucks to pacemakers and insulin pumps,” Manyika and Chui wrote in a recent journal article.

“The IoT makes it possible to monitor and control the location, condition, and behavior of objects, machinery,and devices through networks. This can be as simple as tracking the whereabouts of a container of freight that has an RFID (radio-frequency identification) tag or as complex as managing machinery across an enterprise using actuators that modify the activities of the machines.”

In addition, the two Foreign Affairs writers noted that closed-loop systems are capable of responding in real-time and without human intervention to data that its sensors pick up.

“For example, with sensors and actuators in oil fields, pumping systems can automatically adjust to optimize production and reduce the potential for failures through early detection of anomalies in the flow of oil and gas,” they continued. “Already, the Internet of Things is used across industries to manage complicated supply chains, optimize performance of machinery, and sense when maintenance is needed.”

Manyika and Chui also confirmed that the Internet of Things applications could have an economic impact of $900 billion to $2.3 trillion a year in manufacturing alone by the year 2025.

“This estimate is based on potential savings of 2.5 to 5 percent in operating costs. In addition, using sensors in the power grid (smart-grid applications) could drive value of $200 billion to $500 billion annually, and applications in public-sector services (water systems and the like) could cut waste by ten to 20 percent annually, which could save $20 billion to $40 billion a year,” the two concluded.

As we’ve previously discussed on Bits & Pieces, Atmel is well positioned for the rapidly evolving IoT as our portfolio includes ultra-low power WiFi capability and an extensive lineup of microcontrollers (MCUs).

“As applications become more interconnected and user interfaces become richer, microcontrollers must handle and transfer ever-growing levels of data. To boost performance for these smart, connected applications, Atmel’s 8-bit Flash MCUs integrate a wide range of classic communication peripherals, such as UART, SPI and I2C,” an Atmel engineering rep told Bits & Pieces.

“Plus, our higher-performance 32-bit MCUs and embedded MPUs (eMPUs) feature Ethernet and full-speed and high-speed USB, while also providing extension ports for external communication modules such as WiFi or cellular modems. Simply put, Atmel MCUs are designed to deliver maximum performance and meet the requirements of advanced applications. That is why we offer highly integrated architecture optimized for high-speed connectivity, optimal data bandwidth and rich interface support – making them ideal for powering the smart, connected products at the heart of the IoT.”