I was one of the early supporters of T. Boone Pickens plan to vastly expand wind energy and natural gas. The urgency in his grass roots compaign to gain support for breaking our oil dependency makes a lot of sense. He’s doing what politicians have failed to do for decades. And I still support the centerpiece of his plan which is to reduce our foreign oil dependency by 30% in 10 years.
But he’s beginning to ring hollow. Like a rock star, he circulates around the country and the TV airwaves. However, when asked the tough questions, he stumbles. And he’s restricting press access. Yesterday in Chicago, we sent Chuck Murray to cover his town hall meeting at the Navy Pier. Afterward, the media was shuttled into a small room and was literally told they had five minutes to ask him questions. Murray asked about one of the biggest challenges and that is storage and his thin response was it’s coming. That hardly instills confidence. Also, I have twice requested interviews with him with largely no response. He’s sort of like Sarah Palin - will his plan lose luster if asked the hard questions. Put under the glare of media scrutiny, can the PickensPlan stand up? One wonders.
That said, he could use the media to gain more support for his proposals. And I, for one, don’t understand why he doesn’t.
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.