I’ve never been a big fan of dual-purposes devices, as they often wind up doing neither function particularly well. Here’s an example sent in by Ian Benton of his solar-powered calculator and tape measurer that allows the user to do both, just not at the same time!
“I thought this device would be handy for working out the area of a room. I measured the length, and entered it into the calculator memory. I then measured the width of the room. In doing so, my hand covered up the solar panel that powered the calculator, which caused it to lose the number in its memory.Now I know why it includes a notepad and pencil! I suppose I could use the calculator to convert inches to millimetres, but the tape is already marked in both imperial and metric. “
This post appeared in sister publication Electronic Weekly’s MBM blog.
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.