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Re: [Fwd: starship-design: HIGHLY OPTIMIZED TOLERANCE]


That's the idea. The more generic the better as long as the cost is low
enough, and the cost I quoted is do-able in my personal experience.

I design electronics as a consultant/contractor and I have done
remote-controls, TV Station telemetry systems, fire and burglar alarm
systems, Fuel control systems, remote lighting control, telephones and
answering machines and a bunch of other stuff. All of it is based on a
"few" generic parts and a few generic designs. I cut and paste from a
schematic onto a new one, add a few bits of glue and I have a board. I cut
and paste from a software library and add some more glue and have code.

I've delivered things in two weeks that real companies had quoted months
for, not because I'm that good, but because I have a good sense of re-use.

A generic module could "control" practically everything electronic you
encounter throughout a day. Some applications may take several or many in
parallel but most can be handled through a single board. With enough effort
even something as complicated as a personal computer can be made up of a
bunch of smaller modules. More likely you would have two different modules,
the small one and the big one mainly to make up for the lack of good
parallel processing software today.

The only step your example left out is you have to look on the microwave to
see that it is software version "xxx" and load that code into the board
from some generic database. A clever guy would have each board have a basic
boot-strap code that can get its application (microwave, oxygen monitor,
refrigerator controller) code through a network such as 485 or Bluetooth.


>> >==
>> >A better suggestion may be to design a "generic" logic module using modern
>> >technology. I'm not suggesting a few gates on a board as in the 80s I am
>> >suggesting a 32 Bit ARM processor, a DSP, 160k of program flash, 8Mbits
>> >of
>> >data flash, 12k of RAM, a USB port, an IRDA port, some A/D channels, some
>> >D/A channels, somer general purpose IO pins. This could be built on a 2x3
>> >board that uses very low current (50ma with both CPU and DSP cooking at
>> >22/80 mips) at 3.0 volts using available (off the shelf) technology for
>> >$20
>> >a board in medium volumes at about 2 oz a board.
>This idea has a lot of advantages -- standardized power supply and interface
>connectors and such. When someone says, "Hey, this thing doesn't work,
>what do I
>do?", the answer is "Swap the board," and it won't be necessary to ask "Which
>one?" Color-code and polarize the connectors, and when the microwave oven goes
>down, the cook could send the dishwasher to fix it.