Zarlink Semiconductor has manufactured a chip for Pricer AB designed to aid its Electronic Shelf Labeling (ESL) system. This system lets retailers easily change the price of an item by transmitting the information to a central pricing controller via Zarlink's ultra low-powered wireless device and then letting cash registers and electronic labels know of the price change. A Pricer ESL system can range from a few hundred to tens of thousands of electronic shelf labels, each carrying a Zarlink ultra low-power wireless SoC (system-on-chip). For more info go to www.zarlink.com.
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.