This onion chopper seems clever, with these intersecting cutting blades forming a grid mounted by a set of plastic hinges to a cutting board. Just swing the knife grid down and – voila! — chopped onions. Too bad the designers didn’t account for the fact that an onion is not isotropic. Depending on the orientation of the onion, some parts don’t get a clean cut. Or no cut at all, as was the case here when the plastic hinge broke under the force applied while attempting to cut axially into the leathery end slice of an onion.
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.