Beyond the rifles and the flash-bang grenades, there was plenty of other technology in the chase for the Tsarnaev brothers.
The owner of the Mercedes SUV that was carjacked in Cambridge had his mobile phone on (and he left it in the car after he was allowed to escape). This allowed the police to trace the vehicle was in Watertown and eventually catch up to it.
FLIR — forward-looking infrared – was used to get a thermal heat map of Dzhokhar Tsarnaev as he cowered in the boat where he was eventually captured (photo below)
Robots were used to examine the abandoned car of the suspect and in lifting the tarp off the boat.
The Boston Police, Fire, EMS live feed was one of the most popular “radio stations” during the crisis (it was turned off at various points to not compromise operational details)
Not a common sight in most cities, but the chase brought out SWAT team Humvees and Blackhawk helicopters.
Foxconn, the contractor manufacturer for Apple, HP, Microsoft and many other high-tech companies has suffered from high-profile labor incidents in China – suicides, plant explosions. Its rollout of robots gives it a diversification opportunity but likely also new labor headaches. From Everything-Robotic:
“Foxconn, the wholly-owned subsidiary of Taiwan-based Hon Hai Precision (2317:TW), has begun deploying their own brand of industrial robots to their factory in Jincheng, Shanxi Province, China, according to various reports from China news sources. Shanxi Province is an area where Foxconn is partnering with local governments - spending $16 and $27 million respectively - to build factories and employ 200,000+ local workers. One of those new factories is earmarked to manufacture robots.
The turquoise industrial robot shown above is called a FoxBot and about 10,000 of them have been manufactured and deployed since 2011 into one of the Foxconn factories in Jincheng. Loosely translated from multiple Chinese articles, the FoxBot is described as:
Only can be engaged in some simple and repetitious tasks. Priced at $20,000 to $25,000. There are different versions. Some appear crab-like, others act as lifts, some as pick and place robots. All appear to be capable of precise movements.”
As the world's largest online retailer, it's no surprise that its biggest fulfillment center in Phoenix, Arizona is the size of 28 football fields...Amazon has 80 fulfillment centers in the world to handle all of its orders….And with the holiday shopping season in full force, Amazon hired an additional 50,000 employees to help with the expected demand.
In the GE case study in The New Polymath (excerpted below) I wrote
His predecessor, Jack Welch, earned the nickname “ Neutron Jack ” for his focus on efficiency; Immelt will likely go down in history as “ Proton Jeff, ” as he encourages positive vibes toward all kinds of technology. GE Global Research (GRC) is organized into 10 technology competencies: energy and propulsion, chemical technologies and materials characterization, material systems, biosciences, power conversion systems, electronic systems and controls, computing/decision sciences, imaging, micro and nano structures, and ceramics and metallurgy.
Walking out of the GRC (I was there in 2009 during my book research) I just knew Immelt had groomed GE into a technology juggernaut, even if GE is not classified as such by Wall Street, media and analysts.
I have since keenly followed GE’s technology road maps and product directions and this blog catalogs many of the innovations that are launched through GE’s wide range of business units and country locations.
This morning GE emailed me a paper on what it calls the “Industrial Internet” (available here).
“The Industrial Internet will help eliminate hundreds of billions of dollars of wasted time and resources across critical industries by combining Internet-connected machines, product diagnostics, software, and analytics to make business operations efficient, proactive, predictive, and strategically automated.”
Its definition includes 3 components
Intelligent machines : New ways of connecting the word’s myriad of machines, facilities, fleets and networks with advanced sensors, controls and software applications. Advanced Analytics: Harnessing the power of physics-based analytics, predictive algorithms, automation and deep domain expertise in material science, electrical engineering and other key disciplines required to understand how machines and larger systems operate. People at work: connecting people, whether they be at work in industrial facilities, offices, hospitals or on the move, at any time to support more intelligent design, operations, maintenance as well as higher quality service and safety.
The potential payback is huge
• Connecting machines and the Internet could potentially eliminate $150 billion in waste across major industries, driving a productivity revolution
• Just 1% increase in efficiency can mean savings of $30 billion in aviation, $66 billion in power generation and $63 billion in healthcare over 15 years
Immelt, and the authors of the GE paper are presenting on the GE vision of the Industrial Internet this Thursday at its Mind+Machines event in San Francisco. I will plan to be pretty close to the front.
NASA’s Mars rover may have something to teach the oil industry. Safely traversing the Red Planet while beaming data through space turns out to have a lot in common with exploring the deepest recesses of earth in search of crude oil and natural gas. Robotic Drilling Systems, a small Norwegian company that’s bent on developing a drilling rig that can think for itself, has signed an information-sharing agreement with NASA to discover what it might learn from Curiosity.
The company’s work is part of a larger futuristic vision for the energy industry. Engineers foresee a day when fully automated rigs roll onto a job site using satellite coordinates, erect 14-story-tall steel reinforcements on their own, drill a well, then pack up and move to the next site. “You’re seeing a new track in the industry emerging,” says Eric van Oort, a former Royal Dutch Shell executive who’s leading a new graduate-level engineering program focused on automated drilling at the University of Texas at Austin. “This is going to blossom.”
For the past month, a lunch-tray-sized aircraft has been skimming over Peruvian ruins snapping high-definition photos which are then stitched together to build a 3D map of the site.
The flyer is the brainchild of Steven Wernke and Julie Adams, archaeologist and roboticist respectively at Vanderbilt University in Tennessee. Wernke says that the craft will speed up site mapping drastically compared to traditional methods - a fiddly medley of theodolites, measuring tapes and photography which often requires repeat visits over two or three years during the dry season.
The Vanderbilt team is currently mapping the Peruvian ruins of Mawchu Llacta, an Inca settlement that was mysteriously abandoned in the 19th century. They plan to return next year to work out any kinks that crop up in the lab once they are back in Tennessee.