Computer problems have played a major role in a number of air and rail catastrophes these past 20 years. Some high-tech space projects have also failed due to software glitches. And in our everyday lives, remote control in all its forms is becoming increasingly widespread. Today, designers are trying to rationalise software and related fields of application, with an aim to design more 'intelligent' products and systems, including trains, boilers and, more prosaically, household appliances.