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Power Electronics

The first high power electronic devices were mercury-arc valves. In modern systems the conversion is performed with semiconductorswitching devices such as diodes, thyristors and transistors, pioneered by R. D. Middlebrook and others beginning in the 1950s. In contrast to electronic systems concerned with transmission and processing of signals and data, in power electronics substantial amounts of electrical energy are processed. An AC/DC converter (rectifier) is the most typical power electronics device found in many consumer electronic devices, e.g. television sets, personal computers, battery chargers, etc. The power range is typically from tens of watts to several hundred watts. In industry a common application is the variable speed drive (VSD) that is used to control an induction motor. The power range of VSDs start from a few hundred watts and end at tens of megawatts.

Electric Vehicle

An electric vehicle, also called an EV, uses one or more electric motors or traction motors for propulsion. An electric vehicle may be powered through a collector system by electricity from off-vehicle sources, or may be self-contained with a battery, solar panels or an electric generator to convert fuel to electricity. EVs include, but are not limited to, road and rail vehicles, surface and underwater vessels, electric aircraft and electric spacecraft.

Industrial Systems

Industrial control system (ICS) is a general term that encompasses several types of control systems and associated instrumentation used for industrial process control.

Such systems can range from a few modular panel-mounted controllers to large interconnected and interactive distributed control systems with many thousands of field connections. All systems receive data received from remote sensors measuring process variables (PVs), compare these with desired set points (SPs) and derive command functions which are used to control a process through the final control elements (FCEs), such as control valves.

The larger systems are usually implemented by Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition (SCADA) systems, or distributed control systems (DCS), and programmable logic controllers (PLCs), though SCADA and PLC systems are scalable down to small systems with few control loops. Such systems are extensively used in industries such as chemical processing, pulp and paper manufacture, power generation, oil and gas processing and telecommunications.

Internet of Things

The Internet of things (IoT) is the network of physical devices, vehicles, home appliances, and other items embedded with electronics, software, sensors, actuators, and connectivity which enables these things to connect, collect and exchange data, creating opportunities for more direct integration of the physical world into computer-based systems, resulting in efficiency improvements, economic benefits, and reduced human exertions.

The number of IoT devices increased 31% year-over-year to 8.4 billion in the year 2017 and it is estimated that there will be 30 billion devices by 2020. The global market value of IoT is projected to reach $7.1 trillion by 2020.

Automation

Automation is the technology by which a process or procedure is performed without human assistance.Automation  or automatic control is the use of various control systems for operating equipment such as machinery, processes in factories, boilers and heat treating ovens, switching on telephone networks, steering and stabilization of ships, aircraft and other applications and vehicles with minimal or reduced human intervention. Some processes have been completely automated.

Automation covers applications ranging from a household thermostat controlling a boiler, to a large industrial control system with tens of thousands of input measurements and output control signals. In control complexity it can range from simple on-off control to multi-variable high level algorithms.

Robotics

Robotics is an interdisciplinary branch of engineering and science that includes mechanical engineering, electronics engineering, computer science, and others. Robotics deals with the design, construction, operation, and use of robots, as well as computer systems for their control, sensory feedback, and information processing.

These technologies are used to develop machines that can substitute for humans and replicate human actions. Robots can be used in many situations and for lots of purposes, but today many are used in dangerous environments (including bomb detection and deactivation), manufacturing processes, or where humans cannot survive (e.g. in space). Robots can take on any form but some are made to resemble humans in appearance. This is said to help in the acceptance of a robot in certain replicative behaviors usually performed by people. Such robots attempt to replicate walking, lifting, speech, cognition, and basically anything a human can do. Many of today’s robots are inspired by nature, contributing to the field of bio-inspired robotics.