This article introduces the concept of Hardware Microservices which parallels the software based microservices architecture. The way electronic devices are made has always been monolithic. Companies have to design everything, every time. In our view, any electronic project is 25% innovation and 75% reinventing the wheel. This forces companies to take significant risks, spend big money, and hire big skilled teams. We call this the reference design syndrome.
This article was originally published in Luos.
What is Reference Design?
A reference design is a way a company, as an expert in its domain, tries to explain to you how to control and command its components.
But why don’t they do it themselves? Why don’t they sell you a plug-and-play subset?
Each year, there are 1 million new smart devices designed. We estimate that between €500,000 and €5 million is wasted reinventing the wheel for each device.
Globally, the impact of this colossal mess means that as much as €5 trillion is wasted annually!
What is the Importance of Embedded Systems?
Embedded systems are essential because they are the backbone of many modern technologies. They are found in devices such as cell phones, cars, medical implants, robots, and many other devices. Without embedded systems, many of the devices we use today would not function. Embedded and edge developers are responsible for creating the software that makes these systems work.
How was this Issue Solved in Software?
Before 2012, when you wanted to build a web service such as Airbnb, you needed to develop everything: the chat, shopping cart management, search features, etc. In a nutshell, you needed a lot of skills and teammates! These days, things are entirely different thanks to microservices and APIs. You can use Intercom, Apicart, or Algolia. It has become faster, easier, cheaper! Even if you’re not a tech guy, you can aim to build a nice MVP. In other words, microservices unleashed the SaaS industry beginning around 2012.
What are the Benefits of Microservices?
- Accelerate turnaround
- Improve fault resolution
- On-demand flexibility and scalability
- Making changes is less expensive
- More innovation is unleashed!
What is more, microservices architecture has enabled a whole new way of thinking when it comes to a product’s conception: instead of working with large “layer teams” like electronics, mechanics, or low-level teams, it’s now possible to unleash “function teams” who deal with microservices as complete products, developing each of them from conception to production.
With one function team responsible for one microservice, product conception shifts from a vertical and monolithic method to a horizontal system of microservices. Thanks to app containerization, this method has become a reality, which is made possible by companies like Docker.
Did you know that Luos connects every part and function of your electronic devices into a single system image? You can get started with us and our technology step by step!
We believe the electronics industry needs to evolve in the same way! And we’re doing this with an open-source architecture that turns electronic devices into full microservices architectures.
This technology could first allow hardware microservices for electronics and embedded systems, but it could also merge them with microservices in the software industry. To be sure, this implies a whole new way of considering these industries and their future.
We believe that the solution to unleashing this new technology is using a piece of embedded software and a communication bus and protocol to link all the applications in a single system image.
Electronic design becomes:
- Universal: we can use several technologies to implement a function, and it works the same way. You can exchange your brushless motor with a stepper without changing any of your code!
- Scalable: if your device needs ten motors with fine control, you must make one good version and duplicate it ten times. There is no need to build a giant electronic board, and it’s easier to debug and maintain.
- Plug-and-play: thanks to hardware/software microservices, you can re-use your design in a plug-and-play way for other versions or projects. You capitalize on your existing designs.
- Collaborative: with this kind of architecture, you can quickly build a device by working with topic-oriented teams. No need to be familiar with every point of the project. You can focus on your task.
In conclusion, the development of electronic devices has never evolved and is still monolithic. Companies always have to design everything from A to Z means time and skills are wasted, and risks escalate.
At Luos, we believe that the best way to solve this problem is to make electronics “microservice-able.”
To enable this, we have created an open-source embedded system architecture that makes electronics universal, modular, scalable, and progress through distributed developments.
Our vision is concentrated on making more accessible embedded and edge systems and projects related to developer missions. The mission of our community is to provide a maximum of tools to gain time during project development. We see much frustration during the industrialization process: when you have worked a thousand hours in your optimized project but can’t go to market depending on different variables, or for example, if there is a communication problem between different MCUs (microcontroller), or just access and monitor your system quickly.
As is the case with SaaS, we want companies to focus more on their core business and less on technical issues.
To put it simply, we like to say that Luos are the “Docker” of electronics and embedded systems.
How do we make it possible?
Our slogan: The new way to think, create, maintain and evolve embedded systems.
We want to make developing electronic devices easier, cheaper, faster, and more accessible!You can help us and make your contribution to this beautiful project by following us on Reddit, joining our fantastic community, or star our Luos repository on Github.