Rote instruments consist of large numbers of a few types of basic components, each of which performs a rather simple task. The accomplishment of complex tasks is possible through intricate interconnections (programming) between the components. The important principles of operation reside in the program, and by changing the program the instrument can be put to different uses. New problems can be approached in a straightforward, intellectual, bureaucratic, "systems", manner. The solutions will be elementaristic and often a bit clumsy.These categories are not that neat. So, for example, one could have a device that has a large number of simple components which performs a rather simple task (hence looks to be to that degree a rote instrument), but which is also specialized on a particular (type of) task in a particular (type of) situation (hence looks to be to that degree a smart instrument).
Smart instruments are specialized on a particular (type of) task in a particular (type of) situation and capitalize on the peculiarities of the situation and the task, i.e. use shortcuts, etc. They consist of few but specialized components. For solving problems which are repeated very often, smart instruments, if they exist, are more efficient and more economical. They are also likely to be more reliable and durable. Solution of a new problem requires the invention of a new instrument. A straightforward and bureaucratic procedure is not likely to achieve that, since the task is creative and just as much intuitive as intellectual. (Runeson, 1977, pp. 173-4).
Maybe this, however, is not what is important about the distinction. Maybe it is the use of shortcuts. Using a shortcut is a smart thing to do, right?