Our daily lives are shaped by electronic systems. In the home we have a myriad of electronic accessories: radios, TVs, VCRs, hi-fis, camcorders, cassette and CD players, telephone answering machines, microwave ovens, and personal computers. Not so obvious but just as much a part of our lives are sophisticated electronic controls such as the microprocessor engine control of our car. We utilize a telephone system that functions with electronic devices to amplify and transfer telephone signals. Our conversations are carried around the world using a combination of microwave or fiber-optic links and satellites. Electronic radar systems are relied on for a safe flight from one airport to the next, and electronic sensors and computers “fly” a modern jet airplane. Modern medical practice depends on extremely complex diagnostic and monitoring electronic systems. Moreover, the commercial and industrial sectors could no longer function without electronic communications and information processing systems. The video monitor is a pervasive reminder of the new electronic world.
For better and at times for worse, electronics has changed our lives. Although we are in constant touch with what is happening around the world, we are also at the peril of weapons of unimaginable destructive power that rely on electronic developments. An understanding of electronics is imperative not only for designing and using electronic systems but for directing the evolution of electronic systems so that they serve to improve the human condition.
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