SAN FRANCISOLisa Su, Freescale Semiconductor senior vice president and chief technology officer, made a request of attendees at the Vision 2008 Embedded Linux Developers Conference: share.
Open-source collaboration is the key to accelerating time-to-market of embedded systems, Su told an audience of several hundred during a keynote address here Thursday (Oct. 2).
"As a semiconductor company, we certainly believe that the way we are going to drive innovation is to get as many people as possible collaborating together," Su said.
Hardware and software engineers developing embedded systems will have the greatest opportunity to shape technology innovation over the next 10 to 15 years, she added.
Su said many in the semiconductor industry believe it is a maturing business with slowing innovation. "I really think just the opposite," she said. "The embedded space is where the action is."
Five to 10 years from now, Su said, people will daily come into contact with thousands of embedded devices designed to enhance communication and well being. But making it happen will require substantial "hyper-integration" on the hardware side, power-smart multiprocessing that considers cost and form factor and an ecosystem of developers, she said.
"This is all within the realm of our reach if we are able to innovate in the embedded space," Su said.
Su said emerging "mega trends" of sustainability, wellness and networking would all rely on embedded systems to realize their potential in the years to come.
Referencing the innovation that has occurred within the semiconductor industry to stay on track with Moore's Law, Su noted that current power generation networks are "archaic" and have barely changed over the past 50 to 60 years. She offered a vision for the future of embedded systems used for smart power metering and distributing electricity more efficiently.
"We are just scratching the surface of what we can do there," Su said. The electrical grid of the future "requires silicon, software and innovation," she added.
Su said embedded systems will enhance healthcare by connecting technology to quality of life. She gave examples of robotic surgery and telemedicinewhere electronic monitoring equipment provides real time information about a person's condition (heart rate, etc.) and makes it available for health providers in another location.
Embedded systems will also play a key role in enhancing networking by creating a "invisible network" that is always available without the need for human action to connect. Invisible networking will play a key role in enhancing automotive safety through things like collision detection, Su said, if reliability concerns are overcome.
"You need to get in a place where you believe in the technology enough so you can use it in these safety critical situations," Su said. "The technology can't be 99 percent reliable."