BREVET DE TECHNICIEN SUPÉRIEUR
Epreuve de langue vivante du groupe 9
Domotique, Equipement-technique-énergie, Informatique industrielle
WEB READY TO RUN HOMES AND FIND LOST DOGS
Household appliances such as toasters and curtains – and even family pets – could soon have their own web servers thanks to a tiny computer system. It fits all the components of a web server on to a chip the size of a match head and can store pages and send them to any browser in the world.
According to the chip's inventor, the tiny server will cost about 50p to make and be used to store information about whether an electrical appliance is on or off, or if your pet is in or out of the house.
He hopes the tiny server can be used initially to make home appliances easier to control. He says: "I built the server to be compatible with all kinds of home appliances, from toasters to curtains.
"One possible scenario is simply to get rid of all the confusing buttons on all those devices and have everything controlled from a single computer screen. Any PC with a web browser could then be used to check on your house and turn appliances on and off.
"For instance, if you think you left the oven on, you can simply ask its web server. This also has the advantage of making appliances cheaper. You won't need a screen and lots of buttons, simply an on/off switch and this chip."
Although several companies have previously tried to develop systems to connect home appliances to the Net, none of the devices has been small enough. He says : "This is something you could put into every light socket in your house. The system could use your house's electrical wiring as its link to the Net, allowing you to control the appliance from anywhere."
He also envisages more unusual uses. He says: "I am planning to add a camera to the server to allow it to store pictures, and we thought a great idea would be to have a pet collar with this in. Then if your dog runs off, you simply connect to its collar to see where it is. You could also download its route when it gets back, to see what it has been up to."
The current server is based on a commercially available small eight-bit processor, although its inventor had to write all the software himself, but he says it still adheres to the relevant standards.
[He is currently deciding whether to go into partnership with an appliance manufacturer or simply give away his software free. "I have had a few chats with appliance manufacturers. However, I already have a working prototype running a publicly available web server, so at least I already know this thing works," he says.
The present server stores only small pages but its inventor has already worked out how to store up to 2 megabytes of files on future versions, allowing pictures and even video files to be sent from the tiny servers.]
He is also working on an even smaller version of the server, just 1 mm by 1 mm, that could be built into existing mobile-phone chips allowing them to access the Net or even send live video pictures of their owner's current location.
Adapted from The Sunday Times - 18-08-99
1/ Rédiger en français un compte rendu du texte comportant 150 mots (+ ou - 10 %). (7 points)
2/ Traduction en français de « He is currently... » à « ... the tiny servers. » (6 points)
3/ Expression personnelle en anglais (150 mots environ) : Explain in your own words the advantages and drawbacks of tiny computer systems as they are presented in the text. In what way will they change our daily lives? Give your opinion. (7 points)
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© Christian Lassure - English For Techies