Control technology, who is who controls

The world’s first pilots were radio-frequency devices that commanded German navy ships to collide with Allied boats during World War I. During World War II, the pilots detonated bombs for the first time. The end of great wars left scientists with a brilliant technology that he could not use anywhere. Sixty years later, some of us spend an hour looking for a remote control before we remember that the TV has buttons.

Everything, especially technology, is growing. A pilot is no longer needed to control a given machine, it is enough to program a specific sequence and the machine will make it our will. So, referring to the above example with a bomb, programmed does not need someone to manually detonate it – all you need is control technology.

Control technologies

What is control technology? It is nothing more than a software or machine designed to achieve a specific purpose.

Because computers do not understand ordinary spoken languages, they require their own machine language to complete the task. It is a binary language created exclusively by combining a series of zeros and ones in a specific combination. Every application you use on your desktop, tablet, phone is constructed by combining an unimaginable combination of numbers 1 and 0.

Our whole life is now filled to the brim with technology controlled, from the coffee maker brewing morning coffee, through traffic lights on the way to work, and on the machines in production plants.

The control technology is used to:

  • system support, e.g. traffic lights,
  • control activities, eg robot movement,
  • creating video games,
  • control of production equipment, eg laser cutters.

Computers follow the instructions or sequences programmed in them. A block diagram can be used to help in the design of sequences. Actions can be deployed, organized or deleted if it is no longer needed.

The advantages of computer control systems

  • Computers do not need interruptions.
  • Computers may repeat actions in an identical manner indefinitely.
  • Computers can work in environments that are dangerous to people.

Disadvantages of computer control systems

  • The computer is only as good as its programming, which may contain errors.
  • If the computer is insufficient, it can take a long time to do something in a critical time.
  • A computer dealing with conditions not covered by its programming will not know what to do.

Control systems at home

There are many objects in our homes that use control systems. They include:

  • electric kettles
  • washing machine
  • TV remote controls
  • TV recording devices
  • security lights
  • robotic vacuum cleaners

Robotics is an expanding field made possible by control. Robots’ abilities will improve with the development of better sequences and technologies.

One of the areas in which robotics plays an important role is unmanned exploration of distant planets. Thanks to pre-programmed actions and remote control capabilities, man, with the “hands of technology”, is able to do many impossible things.

CAD or CAM

Computer-aided design (CAD) or computer-aided production (CAM) involves the use of computers to design products in 2D or 3D. They are then produced in printers.

3D printers and laser cutters are examples of CAD or CAM operation. Man no longer has to operate the machine, it is enough to program a specific shape and turn on the machine.

Block diagrams and sequencing

The software can be used to create sequences in a block diagram, for viewing simulations on the screen.

Symbols connected together form a block diagram. The programming of a flowchart consists of:

  • instruction sequences that lead to the actual simulation
  • decisions that lead to two different activities
  • loops that repeat the action until the specified condition is met
  • variables that store data for use in making decisions

Visual programming or block diagram can be used to focus on the solution’s logic without distracting from the complexity of the programming language written.

Video games

Games are based on complex sequencing and programming. Depending on the player’s decision, the game changes. The more complicated is sequencing and programming, the more options a player has.

Examples of software that can be used to create games include:

  • Adobe Flash
  • Scratch
  • Alice
  • MissionMaker

For example, a typical Scratch game consists of a script or a list of commands that cause an object to behave in a certain way. Uses your own block diagram programming language to create interactive stories, animations, games, music and art. It is also possible to share your works with other people in the online community. Users create explicit instructions by combining blocks of code in a specific order on various elements called sprites. The screenshot below shows the game Flappy Bird “from the kitchen” using Scratch.

It’s easy to see that control technologies have their pros and cons. Like everything in this world. On the one hand, machines save us from the monotony of constantly performing the same operation, but also enough to put into circulation something new, so that the machine did not know how to behave.