Incorporating intelligence into engineered products: adaptive structures Online publication date: Sun, 13-Jul-2003
by Senol Utku
International Journal of Computer Applications in Technology (IJCAT), Vol. 13, No. 1/2, 2000
Abstract: From the onset of commercial availability in the early Fifties, digital computers are used throughout the world in simulating real or virtual events, and store-retrieve-process large quantities of data with lightening speeds, thus yielding extensive benefit to humankind, as demonstrated by their valuable uses in communication, transportation, weather prediction, space and other scientific explorations, energy, health care, administrative, and commercial systems. Various attributes of digital computers such as speed, durability, and reliability, have increased, and others, such as weight, volume, and cost per unit operation, have decreased ten thousand fold in a time span as small as forty years. Similar advances are taking place in the fields of sensors, and actuators. On the other hand, as a result of observing the living beings, it is a widely accepted notion that intelligent behaviour involves sensing, processing and taking action. In such an environment of economics and mental frame, microprocessors, sensors, and actuators are becoming integral parts in many engineered products. Beyond simulation and data handling, a new and much bigger market for the use of microprocessors is in the works. Microprocessors, with the help of sensors and actuators, are being used to make engineered products more intelligent in their function in real time, and thus make them even more beneficial to humanity. This paper discusses an area from the author's field of speciality, i.e., adaptive structures, where the structural behaviour is controlled autonomously in real time, by means of an onboard microprocessor aided by appropriate sensors and strain inserting actuators. This is similar to a human neural system controlling, in real time, the body it is attached to by, with the help of various sensory input it receives, properly contracting and relaxing appropriate muscles.
Online publication date: Sun, 13-Jul-2003
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