Instrumentation & Measurement Magazine 23-9 - 65

lifegraduation
after

Vincenzo Marletta

The Union of Networks and Measurements

I

don't know why but I particularly like the title of this issue of the Magazine: Measurements for Advanced Networking
& Networks for Advanced Measurements. I find this subject
and this apparent dualism very interesting. I speak of apparent dualism because, although it is correct
to separate the two topics, measurements
for networking and networks for measurements (advanced or not), and treat them
separately, actually they go hand in hand.
I cannot imagine a network for measurements which in turn does not require
measurements, even if only during the
development phase to verify its correct
functioning or to study its behavior in different conditions. But let's not forget that
the measurements also serve when monitoring the network once in the field, for
example for self-diagnosis.
Networks and measurements are largely discussed in
the literature and at conferences dedicated to measurements
and instrumentation and sensors, particularly in specific
conferences such as the IEEE International Symposium on
Measurements and Networking (M&N). We already talk
about it a lot and will talk about it more and more in the future. Networks and measurements are widely used in myriad
different applications, in the most varied fields of application,
and it is all too easy to predict that they will be used more and
more in the future.
We are already almost used to having sensor networks in
homes and cars, and they have already been present for some
time in many other contexts where, for example, safety must
be guaranteed: just think of airplanes and industrial or nuclear power plants. Gradually they are penetrating many
other contexts thanks to the possibility they offer to optimize
the management of existing services and to be able to implement new ones.
As an example, in [1] my colleagues and I presented a network of assistive technologies (sensors and actuators) that
integrates solutions already existing on the market and innovative systems (developed during the project) aimed at
supporting the independence and autonomy of fragile people,
such as the elderly, by guaranteeing their safety. This is just an
December 2020	

example of a new context in which measurement networks can
offer numerous advantages and in which they will find more
and more space. And, who knows what other applications we
will see in the future!
I recently read a science fiction novel written in the early
years of this century by an American writer named Steve
Alten. I love to read and I do it all the time. In addition to
readings related to my work (scientific articles, theses, etc.),
I read everything: novels of various kinds (classic, historical, fictional, fantasy, autobiographical), essays, poems, etc.
I have read very few science fiction novels, and in this book
I was struck by the description of a futuristic means of transportation. In particular, what caught my attention is the
description of the vehicle management system. The means
of transportation, writes the author, is controlled by an artificial intelligence ... a brain - a crystalline biological organ placed
in a globe ... From which they depart billions of microcircuits that
... power every square centimeter like arterial vessels ... The walls
are interfacing panels connected to a computer ... [2]. The entire
system is in charge of monitoring the external environment
and monitoring and managing the internal environment to
ensure the safety and comfort of travelers and continuous interaction with them.
Well, if for a moment we put aside prejudices and leave
out some details and don't think about technological problems, we can recognize in this description a futuristic (or
perhaps it is more correct to say science fiction) network of
measurement. I do not know (I think none of us) if ever, in the
distant future, man will build something similar, but I know
that we cannot exclude it a priori. Let's remember that what
technology is realizing today was science fiction until recently. Many examples can be given: who of us 30 years ago
would have said that one day he would have talked to people on the other side of the planet in videoconference as in the
movies? Or that we would be wearing electronic devices that
could monitor physiological parameters? Who would have
thought we would see self-driving or internet-connected
cars? And these are just a few examples; then think of the tablets, cell phones, domotics and voice assistants we have at
home today. What is still only science fiction today could one
day become reality in some way. Who knows what we will
see during our life!

IEEE Instrumentation & Measurement Magazine	65
1094-6969/20/$25.00©2020IEEE



Instrumentation & Measurement Magazine 23-9

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