Had to pass along my Monkey Product. It’s a little dated but it’s classic.
When my wife and I were married, we received lots of very nice gifts - dishes, pots and pans, small appliances, glassware, serving trays, bedding, etc. One of the things we got was a toaster. It looked like a pretty nice toaster but one thing I noticed that I thought was odd was that the power cord came out the front of the toaster, where you select how “brown” you want your toast. Now, while this was a little different, what I found very strange, and something that just ended up infuriating me, was the fact that the length of the power cord was about 12 inches. So to plug the toaster in to any outlet, you had to turn the unit away from you to use it, which meant that you had to select how brown you wanted your toast before you plugged it in. This wouldn’t be a problem if you lived alone but if you wanted really brown toast, and your spouse wanted slightly brown toast, well….you get the picture. The monkey that designed our toaster with a 12 inch cord that came out the front needed to be shot!
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.