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Programming with MicroPython by Nicholas H. Tollervey

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Chapter 6. Thinking Embedded

This chapter helps you think about generating embedded solutions to real-world problems.

Why is this important?

While microcontroller-based devices have been around for a long time, it is only recently that they have received broad attention due to the hype surrounding the Internet of Things (IoT). Many people have become interested in the opportunities available in this field, especially given some of the bombastic language in the media. Apparently, we are “standing at the precipice of the next transformative development, a world in which innovation becomes more human”, and where “technology will be embedded in hundreds of everyday objects we already use—our cars, wallets, watches, umbrellas, even our trash cans.”1

The antidote to such tiresome hype is reflective, grounded, and critical thinking. Such an outlook is essential for identifying and evaluating opportunities to solve important problems with genuinely useful embedded solutions.

In The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy series of books, Douglas Adams beautifully lampoons what happens in the absence of such thinking. He describes the Sirius Cybernetics Corporation (who manufacture all manner of everyday objects containing “advanced technology”) in the following way:

It is very easy to be blinded to the essential uselessness of [their products] by the sense of achievement you get from getting them to work at all. In other words—and this is the rock solid principle on which the whole of the Corporation’s ...

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