04 August 2015

Interface

Up on the bridge, everything is a glass cockpit.  Configurable displays, touch screens, soft-switches, even some motion-capture holo-display controls.  The whole ship can be run from the bridge, in fact.

Why then, engineering?  More importantly, why is it manned?

Because engineering is where the manual overrides reside.  Valves with wheels.  Hard wired physical switches.  Dedicated electronic controls with manual switched redundancies!

A warning panel with distinct and dedicated lights (three bulbs per light!) telling you what system is having a problem instead of a pop-up on a computer screen that your entire life on the internet has trained you to instantly minimize and ignore.

Letting the ship's computer run things is preferred, and far more efficient, but... if your choice is between it efficiently not working at all or inefficiently working some with the harsh reality of hyperspace pressing in on the hull...

It's the difference between replacing a nothing part like the primary field strength generator or shutting down the entire waveguide form while in hyperspace to replace and re-wind the field initiator coil (all while trusting the secondary FSG to hold while you remember where in The Void did you leave your 0.05mm magnetic superconductor spool and wondering if your splicer's powercell is still good).

Physical tell-tales are a good thing.

A skilled engineer can tell at a glance at the annunciator panel in engineering and see if, perhaps, an alarm is spurious by seeing what other systems are not illuminated.  They might then be able to override the computer and keep an essential system online or even operate it in a degraded capacity and avert disaster.

Traveller Tuesday is an Erin thing I intermittently also do, but it's Her idea originally.

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