According to the video below, the inventor of the first digital computer was John V. Atanasoff. This video tells the story of Atanasoff’s work on creating the Atanasoff-Berry computer. Atanasoff wanted a shortcut to the long calculations needed for theoretical physics. He worked on ideas for a faster calculation system during 1935 and 1937. His idea was to create a chain of mechanical calculators. The idea failed, so in 1937, Atanasoff decided to build a new machine using a binary system, choosing digital over analog.
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.