Monkeys placed the master fuse in the Mazda MPV in a very interesting place. You had to disassemble the electrical system to replace the fuse - not an easy project in a parking lot. So I called the dealership for a tow when my fuse sent out - with a bad fuse the car won’t start. But, if the car won’t start you can’t shift out of park. If you can’t shift out of park the transmission won’t turn. And of course the steering is also locked so the wheels can’t rotate and be centered. All of the above makes towing very difficult. It cost over one hundred dollars ($100) to replace a ten cent ($0.10) fuse.
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.