Hardware Architecture for Digital Embedded Devices with Self Healing Mechanism
Digital Embedded Devices of next-generation safety-critical industrial automation systems require high levels of survivability and resilience against the hardware and software failure. One of the concepts for achieving this requirement is the design of resilient and survivable digital embedded systems. In the last two decades, development of self-healing digital systems based on molecular and cellular biology have received attention for the design of robust digital systems. However, many of these approaches have not been architected from the outset with safety in mind, nor have they been targeted for the applications of automation community where a significant need exists. This paper presents a new self-healing hardware architecture, inspired from the way nature responds, defends and heals: the stem cells in the immune system of living organisms, the life cycle of the living cell, and the pathway from Deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) to protein. The proposed architecture is integrating cellular-based biological concepts, traditional fault tolerance techniques, and operational schematics for the international standard IEC 61131-3 to facilitate adoption in the automation industry and safety-critical applications. To date, two industrial applications have been mapped on the proposed architecture, which are capable of tolerating a significant number of faults that can stem from harsh environmental changes and external disturbances and we believe the nexus of its concepts can positively impact the next generation of critical systems in the automation industry.