There were 43 billion Internet of Things (IoT) devices in the world last year. Yep, you read that right. There are approximately six times as many IoT devices out there in the world as there are people on Earth.
Yet, despite their massive prevalence, how many of us can actually say we know what goes into making an IoT device? Of the many types of electronics in the world, IoT devices are the most opaque. For plenty of people, they might as well be assembled by elves.
Well, let’s fix that.
Let’s take a journey into the basic electronic components that make IoT devices what they are.
One of the most basic electronic components — not just in an IoT device but across the electronics industry — is the resistor. These little guys sit on a circuit and, to put it simply, slow down an electric charge as it passes through.
Think of it like using a hose to water your garden. A slow-moving flow of water gets the plants what they need to survive without any complications. Meanwhile, if you max out the flow and use a super-fast jet of water, you’ll destroy all your beautiful flowers.
The same applies to electricity. Letting too much electric reach the device too quickly will just overload it, so we use resistors.
Another crucial part of many types of electronics is the capacitor. These are basically small batteries that charge and discharge energy when it’s needed.
They’re used to ensure the flow of electricity stays steady (sucking up or discharging extra energy as needed), and also to accomplish things like strobing lights. The brightening and dimming of an LED inside a plastic enclosure can be mapped to the charging and discharging of the capacitor inside it.
Finally, let’s talk about transistors. These are really the beating heart of IoT devices (and all computers) because they’re what allow Central Processing Units (CPUs) to function.
To break it down to the bare basics, transistors use an electric charge to switch themselves to either an ‘off’ or ‘on’ state. Now, that can be handy because being able to flip a device between binary states is useful in and of itself.
But what if you had billions of transistors?
This is how the CPU of an IoT device works. A billion transistors, each one in either an ‘off’ or ‘on’ (or ‘1’ or ‘0’) can carry and interpret vast amounts of data that is encoded into those 1s and 0s. It can, to put it simply, ‘compute’.
The Electronic Components That Keep the World Moving
So there you have it, 3 super common electronic components that can be found throughout the electronics industry. Without things like capacitors, resistors, and transistors, we’d all still be living in the dark ages.
And you couldn’t ask Alexa to play music. Imagine!
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