Flowcharting, developed mainly by computer programmers, has become a favorite tool of companies striving to comply with ISO's management standards for quality and the environment. Makers of flowcharting software have redesigned their products to create documents that would appeal to ISO 9000, QS 9000, or ISO 14000 auditors. SPSS Inc. (Chicago), for example, has come out with version 4.0 of allCLEAR. This flowcharting software is loaded with task-specific items for ISO standards, as well as new shapes, structures, and templates. Improved outlining in the new allCLEAR instantaneously creates charts as you type lines of text. The outlining window now features a tree-like structure enabling the user to expand and collapse levels to either hide or reveal details. Users can now attach data, notes, and even launchable URL addresses to flowchart shapes to convey more information on any step. And they can import files from other popular flowcharting programs, such as Visio Corp.'s Visio, Corel Corp.'s CorelFlow, and Micrografx's ABC Flowcharter. Another flowcharting program, Axion Corp.'s 4TQFlow+, automatically generates process documentation in word processors.
Robots that walk have come a long way from simple barebones walking machines or pairs of legs without an upper body and head. Much of the research these days focuses on making more humanoid robots. But they are not all created equal.
The IEEE Computer Society has named the top 10 trends for 2014. You can expect the convergence of cloud computing and mobile devices, advances in health care data and devices, as well as privacy issues in social media to make the headlines. And 3D printing came out of nowhere to make a big splash.
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.