Cyber Physical Systems
Just like the Internet has completely transformed how people interact with and use information, the interactions that people have with engineered systems are being transformed by cyber-physical systems. Cyber-physical systems integrate networking, control, computation, and sensing into infrastructure and physical objects, connecting them to one another and the Internet.
NSF is one of the leaders in supporting advances in the fundamental tools and knowledge that are turning cyber-physical systems into reality. Those advances have the potential for reshaping our world by providing more efficient, reliable, precise and responsive systems, to make it possible for a revolution of “smart” systems and devices ranging from smart grids to smart cars, and collectively leading to smart cities – which are capable of addressing some of the nation’s most pressing issues.
Energy and transportation
In the future, we will be traveling in driverless cars that securely communicate with one another in planes and on smart roads that coordinate in order to reduce the number of delays. There will be drones checking infrastructure for damage and delivering Wi-Fi access to disaster areas. Offices and homes will be powered by smart grids that are user-aware and that make use of sensors for analyzing the environment and optimizing cooling, heating, and lighting.
Medicine and health care
Cyber-physical systems are currently poised to completely transform health care delivery by enabling smart medical services and treatments. Sensors located inside of the house will be able to detect changing health conditions; bionic limbs and robotic surgery will help heal as well as restore movement to the disabled and injured and one day might even be able to augment human abilities; new operating systems will allow for personalized medical devices to be interoperable.
Sustainability and the Environment
Cyber-physical systems are being used increasingly for promoting sustainability. Currently, cyber-physical systems are assisting firefights to deter and detect fires, helping to improve agricultural practices, and allowing scientists to effectively mitigate oil spills underwater.
Cyber-physical system advances will enable usability, security, safety, resiliency, scalability, adaptability, and capability that will far exceed today’s simple embedded systems.