I have been watching this trend in the hobbyist community for a while now, and it really makes sense to try to package it a bit more cleanly. The building blocks are there, with downright cheap and small processing boards are an amazing array of sensors. There are a number of companies that are sitting in comfortable product niches that will soon find their devices challenged by a new generation of garage startups based on these highly-integrated components. Those of us that have been doing it for a long time may turn up our noses at this new generation of "script kiddies", but they will turn out useful products at warp speed.
@LarryM99 I think you are right on the mark with your comment about turning out "useful products at warp speed." From our expeirenece, rapid prototyping of ideas is essential. It allows creators to test those ideas quickly with real users, refine the ideas, and try again (and again). That iterative process is critical because few ideas are great the first time. The tools developers use to realize those ideas - both hardware and software - either help or hinder the process. We choose help. )
The culture of embedded systems development is built around doing the most with the least "wasted" resources. The hard part about this transition is that it violates that religion. By definition rapid prototyping requires more CPU / RAM / storage than a tailored, efficient system. The hurdle to get over is that that matters much less than it used to. When the price and power increments between low and high end were 100X or more than it was worth optimizing COGS by expending NRE (and therefore time-to-market). When the differences are practically nonexistent then it makes no sense at all.
@LarryM99 Perhaps my favorite kind of coding is optimization, so I respect both the hard work and clever solutions of embedded programmers. Getting the very most out of hardware is incredibly valuable, especially as the product stabilizes and the volumes grow. But, that takes time. For prototypes and perhaps even the early product revisions, it can be better to focus on usability and reliability to create a product lots of people want. Our hope is that Kinoma Create will become another tool along that journey, especially at start.
A Book For All Reasons Bernard Cole1 Comment Robert Oshana's recent book "Software Engineering for Embedded Systems (Newnes/Elsevier)," written and edited with Mark Kraeling, is a 'book for all reasons.' At almost 1,200 pages, it ...