Do neighborhood animals dig up your flower beds or get into your trash? Rick Prescott created a computer-controlled "machine gun" to help deter local pests, including the two-footed kind that invade work cubes. Rick mated an infrared sensor with a Nerf-brand gun that shoots spongy "bullets" to create the Infrared-Seeking Sentinel. An Atmega168 microcontroller tracks a heat source and unleashes either a single shot or a fury of automatic fire. Zap, zap, zap. Take that, Mr. Dog.
A new service lets engineers and orthopedic surgeons design and 3D print highly accurate, patient-specific, orthopedic medical implants made of metal -- without owning a 3D printer. Using free, downloadable software, users can import ASCII and binary .STL files, design the implant, and send an encrypted design file to a third-party manufacturer.
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.