Elizabeth, sometimes you run across a system that has the feel of being designed by a bunch of fresh-from-school engineers without enough experienced supervision. This story has that feel.
The company as a whole may very well know better, but the company isn't a homogeneous whole.
As to accountable, the only time that happens is for safety (think automobile recalls). If the interior door cosmetic panel has a push-in plastic fastener that fails after the warranty expires, and fails consistently, I doubt the automobile company will recall the panel.
This is another case in which it would be good to hear from the company's designers to see why exactly they made the washer this way. You say that "the designer group had very little knowledge of reliable solid-state electronics." But shouldn't the company know better? And shouldn't they be held accountable somehow or try to improve this situation?
Festo's BionicKangaroo combines pneumatic and electrical drive technology, plus very precise controls and condition monitoring. Like a real kangaroo, the BionicKangaroo robot harvests the kinetic energy of each takeoff and immediately uses it to power the next jump.
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