Posts Tagged ‘Actuator’

Signals, Sensations, Perceptions, Commands, Actions!

May 2, 2014 4 comments


In humans, the sensors are the eyes, ears, nose, skin, and taste buds. The processor/memory/controller combo is the brain. The actuators are the muscles. Although not shown on the diagram, “commands” are also issued to the sensors. All inter-part communications “In Here” are manifested via neural currents.

Of course, this crap is all made up. It’s simply a cacophonous dump of what was in my tortured mind at the moment.

Unobservable, Uncontrollable

September 11, 2013 4 comments

Piggybacking on yesterday’s BS post, let’s explore (and make stuff up about) a couple of important control system “ilities“: observability and controllability.

First, let’s look at a fully functional control system:

Intact CS

As long as the (commands -> actions -> CQs -> perceptions) loop of “consciousness” remains intact, the system’s decision maker(s) enjoy the luxury of being able to “control the means of production“. Whether this execution of control is effective or ineffective is in the eye of the beholder.

As the figure below illustrates, the capability of decision-makers to control and/or observe the functioning of the production system can be foiled by slicing through its loop of “consciousness” at numerous points in the system.

observe control

From the perspective of the production system, simply ignoring or misinterpreting the non-physical actions imposed on it by the actuators will severely degrade the decision maker’s ability to control the system. By withholding or distorting the state of the important “controlled quantities” crucial for effective decision making, the production system can thwart the ability of the decision maker(s) to observe and assess whether the goal is being sought after.

In systems where the functions of the components are performed by human beings, observability and controllability get compromised all the time. The level at which these “ilities” are purposefully degraded is closely related to how fair and just the decision makers are perceived to be in the minds of the system’s sensors, actuators, and (especially the) producers.

Effective, Incompetent, Coercive, Klueless

September 7, 2013 Leave a comment

In any control system design, the accuracy of its input sensors, the force of its output actuators, the ability of its controllers to decide whether the system’s goals are being met, and the responsiveness (time lag) of all three of its parts determine its performance.

However, that’s not enough. All of the control system’s sensors and actuators must be actually interfaced to the controlled system in order for the controller + controllee supra-system to have any chance at meeting the goal supplied to (or by) the controller.EICK

%d bloggers like this: