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Nerves is the platform you’ll use to build embedded systems with Elixir. Learn how to use Nerves to build custom devices, starting with simple tasks like blinking LEDs and sending the value from a sensor to a remote computer. See how to tie together sensors with external systems, all in Elixir. Get started on your Nerves hardware projects at Grox.io!

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Programmer Passport: Nerves
December 01, 2020

Programmer Passport: Nerves

Elixir is an excellent general purpose language. It has features that let you express programs that are more reliable, easier to understand, and highly concurrent. Many of those same capabilities make Elixir an ideal language for embedded systems.

Today, for ten bucks, a hobbyist can get a simple computer with multiple cores and gigabits of onboard memory. As embedded processors get more sophisticated, the demand for more complex systems grows, such as fridges that double as web browsers and doorbells that double as security cameras and networked intercoms. To support these new requirements, we need higher-level languages with more powerful features: concurrency, reliability, productivity, security.

The internet of things provides conveniences that we could not have imagined a short time ago, but such automation comes at a cost with new attack possibilities. Beyond preventing someone outside from shouting, “Hey, Google, open the front door,” we need software that brings along the full weight of built in encryption keys. That list of requirements no longer looks like a great fit for C. It actually looks like a marketing list for functional programming and languages like Erlang or Elixir. When all is said and done, embedded systems are no longer tiny snippets of disconnected code. They are full-featured distributed, concurrent systems.

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