In this course, the emphasis has been on devices communicating with each other in networks. You were introduced to some general principles about signals and networks, and the differences between wired and wireless networks. You met some of the network technologies in common use (Ethernet, WiFi and Bluetooth), before looking more closely at specific applications (smart homes, RFID systems) for networked devices. But we have barely had time to scratch the surface of what these technologies offer or the issues they raise.
In the article you looked at in Section 1 (Networked microsensors and the end of the world as we know it) Shepherd talked about small, powerful devices, linked into networks, that can be used to monitor and control aspects of our environment. He talked about the advantages this can bring to society, and the concerns about the loss of personal privacy that the use of such systems may bring. We hope your study of this course has provided you with some insights into what he was referring to, and an awareness of the huge potential – both enabling and restricting – that these technologies offer.
We hope also that you are feeling more practised in using the Web to find your own information about technologies that are new to you, and more confident about being able to identify reliable resources, extract relevant information and present it in your own words.