A rugged PC is basically a computer that is made to work in challenging environments – i.e., environments that provide unsteady conditions, extreme temperatures or other problems not encountered in everyday computer operating environments. Within this remit, there is a range of various specifications, and these can be designed, of course, to equip the PC for operation in the unique environment in which it needs to be deployed. It could be that a buyer needs a rugged embedded PC, which is made to function to a high level on a small range of specified jobs. Or they could wish to use their PC in transit on roads, sea or air – providing bumpy or otherwise unstable conditions – in which case they would want a rugged transport pc.
The desired specifications will depend not only on the environments in which the machine is deployed, but also, clearly, on the purpose for which it is to be used. This could be anything from military reconnaissance to editing sequences for documentary film-making for dispatch. There is a range of areas that rugged computers can be designed to specialise in:
- custom algorithms for real-time vision applications;
- targeting devices for Ballistics;
- target recognition and video tracking;
- training systems and embedded simulation;
- imager integration and sensor control;
- stabilized mechanisms, positioning and pointing systems;
- image stability and Fusion hardware and software
But how does the technology operate? Or, in other words, how are the objectives obtained? IT has often had difficulty with practical deployment in circumstances where the user can ill-afford instability or an uncertain machine. Practical solutions have been innovated by many rugged PC suppliers to satisfy this need. For instance, computing hardware can be deployed in a hard, shock-proof chassis with conduction cooling. The basic point of most rugged and embedded computers is that the electronics installed within them function in a controlled environment. Their actual components can be used based on their ability to function well in extreme temperatures as well as unstable environments. In addition to this, computer systems can be designed specifically to counteract wet or extremely dusty conditions or work environments.
So the type of rugged PC you opt to buy is determined by the environment in which you wish to deploy it. Think about a rugged embedded PC for highly specific usage, or, for example, a rugged transport pc for use when regularly on the road in unstable conditions.
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