As I recollect, it took a bit longer. People were still getting used to digital vs. analog. But I remember the PC movement gathering steam and excitement. It wasn't like today, when someone probably said "smartphone" and got the response, "Sure. Sounds good. Go with it."
That's a good question about PCs in automation, Chuck. The change would be a matter of retiring those old, huge IBM machines. I think most industries welcomed the change. I'll never forget visiting a magazine distributer in the 1980s and seeing their new, small server. It was in the "computer room." The room was about 20' x 20', fully cooled. All it had inside was a server that was smaller than a coffee table.
The merging of Ethernet and wireless, along with the rise of mobile platforms for plan operations, parallels what I've been hearing in machine vision for the last couple of years. Actually, intersects is a better word, since MV is becoming a bigger deal in several types of plant operations, not just QA.
Yes, it will be fun to watch it develop. There are a number of applications and developments in factory intelligence that that are showing up now that would be hard to imagine just a few short years ago. I agree about tablets. I can see a lot of applications that would work on a table that wouldn't be as useful on the small screen of a smartphone.
I totally agree with you Rob, that gaming technology like Plantville and mobile platforms are going to have a huge impact on automation and manufacturing operations in the next couple of years (as if they haven't already). I don't think the mobile question will just be answered by the smart phone, however. I think you're going to see a real leap in how the iPad and other tablets get used on the factory floor this year as new mobile apps come out addressing needs in this space.
Earlier this year paralyzed IndyCar drive Sam Schmidt did the seemingly impossible -- opening the qualifying rounds at Indy by driving a modified Corvette C7 Stingray around the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
Wearables are changing the way we see ourselves. With onboard sensors that have access to our bodies, we are starting to know our physical selves like never before, quantifying our activity, our heart rate, breathing, and even our muscle effort.
Last week, the bill for reforming chemical regulation, the TSCA Modernization Act of 2015, passed the House. If it or a similar bill becomes law, the effects on cost and availability of adhesives and plastics incorporating these substances are not yet clear.
This year, Design News is getting a head start on the Fourth of July celebration. In honor of our country and its legacy of engineering innovation -- in all of its forms -- we are taking you on an alphabetical tour through all 50 states to showcase interesting engineering breakthroughs and historically significant events.
Focus on Fundamentals consists of 45-minute on-line classes that cover a host of technologies. You learn without leaving the comfort of your desk. All classes are taught by subject-matter experts and all are archived. So if you can't attend live, attend at your convenience.