The 2008 Audi A5 Coupe is attracting attention for its interior, as well as its style and handling. A big part of that stems from the Audi Symphony and Concert digital radios, which feature a six-CD changer and a MultiMedia Device Interface for connecting MP3 players. An optional Bang & Olufsen surround sound amplifier and digital radio round out the sound sources. The Analog Devices Inc. Blackfin DSP chip is the engine for all these features, handling the audio decoding and processing functions, communications protocol processing and all control processing. The ADI chips also handle the driver interface, which is increasingly important as drivers have more electronics to control.
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.