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Smartphones in Industrial Automation

This week in history, on February 24, 1955, an American entrepreneur and inventor named Steven Paul Jobs was born. In 1976, Jobs co-founded Apple Inc, with Steve Wozniak. Together they revolutionized the market for personal computers. Steve Jobs was awarded or applied for over 300 patents during his lifetime for applications in computers, portable electronic devices and user interfaces, and a number of others in a range of technologies. Continue reading

History of Automation: Elon Musk Makes History with First Hyperloop Demo and an Old Idea

On May 11, 2016, Hyperloop One, a project started by Tesla and SpaceX founder Elon Musk, held its first full-scale live demo. Hyperloop technology relies on pressurized capsules that make use of linear induction motors and air compressors to drive transportation pods on cushions of air. Continue reading

History of Automation: Mark David Weiser Predicts IoT in 1988

Mark David Weiser, who died this week in 1999, was a visionary in the field of computer science. Weiser worked as the CTO of Xerox, and was embracing the future of IoT well before the internet was widely accessible. His vision of “ubiquitous computing” almost perfectly describes today’s Internet of Things. He described ubiquitous computing as a future in which personal computers would be be replaced with tiny computers embedded in “smart” devices (everyday items such as coffeepots and copy machines) and share network connections. Continue reading

History of Automation: Parts Standardization

In 1813, a government contract instituted a new standard for an order of twenty thousand pistols ordered from the contractor, Col. Simeon North of Berlin, Conn. According to the contract, these pistols had to be made to the following specifications: “component parts of the pistols are to correspond so exactly that any limb or part of one pistol may be fitted to any other pistol of the 20,000.” Continue reading