Gadget Freak Case # 204: Self-Starting, Solar-Powered Stirling Engine
Doug Conner's self-starting solar power Stirling engine runs all year when the sun is visible from the sculpture’s location. The engine can shut down when the sun isn’t visible, and it can restart by itself when the sun comes back up.
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.