Call a high-tech headhunter these days, and the phone gets answered on the first ring with an anxious, "How can I help you?" During the summer of 2000, headhunter Hugh MacKenzie was overwhelmed with demand for high-tech help. Things slammed to a halt in early 2001 for H.M. Associates in Danvers, MA. "Before, they had 20 openings to fill and were begging for engineers," says MacKenzie, president of H.M. Associates. "Now they're saying, 'Yeah, I can give you one opening to fill.' The quantity has dropped through the floor." MacKenzie trades in EE designers from ASIC to logic. He likens the current situation to this year's East Coast winter. "Some days you see a glimmer of warmth, then another storm comes in and it seems like spring is never going to get here."
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 radio show will show what’s possible with smart machines, and what tradeoffs need to be made to implement such a solution.