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The Other Power Tool: A Rugged Embedded Computer

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ByJeremy P Stanfords

A rugged embedded computer is generally a tablet or small form factor device that is built to withstand exposure to extreme environmental conditions. It is not designed to be a full replacement for a standard PC, but to allow the user to conduct activities where access to a particular program is required despite the harsh environment. The end user may be a field engineer, delivery person, warehouse employee, military, or first responder, such as police or emergency medical worker.

Ruggedized computers conform to any number of specifications based on their intended use. As an example, there are different standards for military applications as well as industrial ones. Despite this fact, these computers are generally water-resistant or completely waterproof and are readable in bright light or low light conditions. Some are equipped with a keyboard while others have dedicated function buttons and use the screen for input. They can also be used by the average consumer who is tough on equipment or works in outdoor weather of all types.

Since they were designed to work under harsh conditions, these computers can be tailored to be kid-friendly. Small children can be especially rough on electronic devices, but a shockproof computer is more than adequate to withstand the abuse. Their ability to resist water can also be an advantage in the event of accidental beverage spills.

For the home handyman, these embedded devices can be valuable. When the device has wireless capabilities, it is possible for someone to use the Internet as a reference while working on the task at the same time. For example, installation instructions for a project may be needed to do the job correctly without having to call a local contractor. Video playback might be limited, but most embedded devices are capable of displaying static images found in do-it-yourself websites.

Professionals would also be able to use them in their line of work. Carpenters would not have any need to worry about sawdust destroying their computer as they built custom projects. Mechanics would not have to worry about grease smudges on the screen or keyboard. It would allow them to conduct administrative functions done on a standard computer, such as bookkeeping, in the same environment as their work. There would not be many standard PC's that would up to the task or be as portable.

Embedded rugged computers are small, lightweight devices that are capable of handling adverse working conditions. Originally built for military or industrial tasks, units that are available to the public can be put to everyday use and prove an invaluable tool. These devices can find a practical place in the home or toolbox.

Author is a freelance copywriter. For more information about rugged computers, please visit http://www.germane.com

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