Automation describes a wide range of techniques and technologies that aim at reducing human intervention in processes. This is usually accomplished with control systems, such as a thermostat that controls your oven temperature and the cruise control on your vehicle, to large industrial processes with thousands of sensors and output signals.
While automation often gets a bad rap for displacing jobs, the applications for automation promoted here are designed to assist individuals, families, and small communities, and enable them to become their own producers and gain independence.
The simplest form of an automated process involves a feedback loop, where measurements from an input or sensor are used to change the signal to an output device that is capable of affecting the measured condition. When run periodically, this feedback loop can regulate the measured condition to a specific value.
Thus, automation can be accomplished simply with three components: Software, Inputs, and Outputs.