Imagine that you could be bold and articulate for that meeting you have coming up, then shift to suave and charming for a date, and then shift easily to chill and fun for a trip to the lake with friends. When you imagine this, you have to additionally imagine that you make this change easily, convincingly, and with no sense of artificiality.
Let’s say you could do this by popping in something called a Personality Module each time. Each Personality Module would leave you with the same skills and memories and all — you’d still be you — but you’d have output tailored to the needs of the particular situation you found yourself in.
Now imagine that if you woke up one morning feeling bad tempered and lazy, you could just pop in a friendly, energetic Personality Module and you’d be ready for work. If you came home from work feeling stressed out and irritable, you could just pop in a new Personality Module and you’d be ready to enjoy your friends and family. Again, these Personality Modules we’re imagining wouldn’t change you in any essential way; you’d just be taking the output specifications from your best self and using them to reprogram a less-great iteration of yourself. Not only could you adjust output for different needs, you could also quickly repair problems, without all the time and effort involved in resting, destressing, or whatever you do right now to psych yourself up.
Handy, eh? We’re describing Indramat’s Personality Modules: preprogrammed and yet programmable modules that were set up with the right specs for different situations, and which could be plugged into drives to suit them to the work they’d be called upon to do.
Indramat’s Personality Module was a significant breakthrough in its day. Indramat servos had — for the first time — a programmable module that carried all the configuration information needed for the servo.
That means that replacing the servo didn’t mean reconfiguring all the variable settings again. Plugging in the Personality Module does that. Pull out the old drive, pop the Personality Module into the new drive, install the new drive, and you’re set.
The benefit from the point of view of time is obvious. Since downtime for motion control invariably translates into lost money, keeping downtime to a minimum is an important goal.
There’s also less chance of error. Even if you’re just copying settings, it’s easy enough to let random error creep in. Less homing, tuning, and troubleshooting is always a good thing.
It also meant that a single drive could quickly be reconfigured for different needs. Change the Personality Module, and the drive was ready for a new situation.
So far, there are no Personality Modules for human beings.