In case you hadn’t noticed, LEDs are big these days. In Brussels, the Dexia Tower office building uses that many LEDs to illuminate the entire building. A computer controls the display, which sometimes encodes the next day’s weather forecast, and other times just displays a static or moving pattern.
Each window is illuminated by a row of 12 RGB LEDs along the bottom of the windowpane. To properly light the building the blinds must be closed — they are controlled by a computer as well.
For a couple weeks after the building opened in December 2006, passers by on the street were able to interact with the LED display via a multi-touch screen. They were not, apparently, able to play Tetris however.
Recently, in a cost cutting measure, the display has been cut back to 10 minutes each hour from sunset to midnight. There are manyvideoson youtube you can watch to see the lights in action.
The final showdown is under way in our first-ever Gadget Freak of the Year contest. Who will win an all-expenses-paid trip to the Pacific Design & Manufacturing Show? It's up to you, dear readers, to tell us.
For industrial control applications, or even a simple assembly line, that machine can go almost 24/7 without a break. But what happens when the task is a little more complex? That’s where the “smart” machine would come in. The smart machine is one that has some simple (or complex in some cases) processing capability to be able to adapt to changing conditions. Such machines are suited for a host of applications, including automotive, aerospace, defense, medical, computers and electronics, telecommunications, consumer goods, and so on. This discussion will examine what’s possible with smart machines, and what tradeoffs need to be made to implement such a solution.