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developerWorks: Robots and Networked Appliances on a Shoestring

Jan 06, 2005, 07:00 (0 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Lewin Edwards)

"An attractive, speedy route to developing complex, initially loosely specified applications that have a mix of real-time and non-real-time components is to take a fairly powerful x86-based PC-compatible single-board computer running Linux, and use a slenderized custom software bundle on that machine to control a bevy of assorted small microcontrollers configured to handle the hard real-time tasks in the system.

"You save development time principally from the fact that you can buy off-the-shelf hardware for most of the functions to be carried out on the PC; you can use an off-the-shelf operating system, and you can use ready-rolled device drivers that have already been debugged for you, for the most part..."

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