No Relation: Electrical engineer Robert Oppenheimer is not to be confused with J. Ro.
What would it be like to go through life as an engineer with a name that carries powerful associations with the era of nuclear weapons, McCarthyism, and mutual assured destruction? Ask Robert Oppenheimer, an electrical engineer in Hawthorne, NY. No relation to the J. Robert Oppenheimer, he's had to put up with the usual raised eyebrows, wisecracks, and outright disbelief over his name for much of his life. Probably more than his share, given his choice of engineering as a career. "In college I took a course in relativistic physics, and when I signed my name on the exam the professor assumed some student was having fun at his expense," he recalls. "Luckily, he still passed me." These days Robert, who is good humored about it all, says that he gets more questions about the Oppenheimer Funds (no relation there, either) than the A-bomb. Guess the Cold War really is over.
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.