This dry-land fish swims to the music of connected, hand-held MP3 or iPod players and has a built-in speaker for operation without a headset. In addition, the unit has multicolored flashing lights and produces sound effects. Even without connecting the I-FISH, its face and tail light up and it wiggles to the beat of music when it is placed in front of a speaker. Depending on the song, the unit displays one of four music-based personalities — for example, country music soothes it. Touching the top of its head triggers a “fish song.” Analog circuitry provides the amplification for the speaker and for powering the array of LED lights.
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.