For fans of "The Sarah Conner Chronicles" -- How long should it take to reboot a Terminator?

I got a kick out of the old Arnold Schwarzenegger 'Terminator' movies so I was looking forward to their reincarnation as a TV series called The Sarah Conner Chronicles. But I have to say one aspect of the fake technology invented by the screen writers stopped me a bit. It turns out that in the future it will take Terminator robots all of 15 seconds to reboot after the equivalent of blowing a circuit breaker. The writers have already used this bit of inventiveness several times for dramatic effect.

I'd hazard a guess that engineers who are involved in bringing real systems back online after a hiccup are either laughing or throwing things at the TV when the mention of this "15 second reboot time" comes up. I can't think of too many embedded computer systems that have the luxury of 15 whole seconds in which to get back to normal after a traumatic event. Perhaps line reclosers in electrical substations take that long, but that's by design: They keep retrying to see if temporary faults on the power line have gone away.

The message is clear: In the future, design for efficient reset will become a lost art.

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Lee Teschler

Leland serves as Editor-in-Chief of Machine Design. He has 34 years of Service and holds a B.S. Engineering from the University of Michigan, a B.S. Electrical Engineering from the University of...
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