The device will help fill the gaps left by canes, dogs and basic GPS devices by providing users with more information about their surroundings. Worn around their shoulders, it will help users better navigate indoor spaces, such as office buildings and shopping malls, by helping them identify everyday features, including restrooms, escalators, stairs and doors.
The device will be equipped with cameras that detect the user's surroundings and communicate information to him or her through speakers and vibration motors. Users, in turn, will be able to interact with the device through voice recognition and buttons. Toyota plans to eventually integrate mapping, object identification and facial recognition technologies.
You will see a highly automated manufacturing flow, like what the automotive industry uses. But what you see is sometimes the flow is like this [he moves one hand off to the side]. Sometimes the flow is like this [he shifts it again], and all of a sudden, the flow is like this [he moves both hands]. And you say, “What the hell is going on here?” Well, what happens is that there’s a customer request such as, “I want this product in that size, in that lot size, with that blue color, with that dot on the bottom.” So the software steers the manufacturing process into lots as small as one item. And then sometimes all of a sudden, you see that certain products are being sorted out into a queue, because the plant received information about a quality defect in that product. So the simulation fixes the defect and gets approval from quality management to put it into the production process. And then off we go.
Industrie 4.0 basically takes the cost of scale close to zero. The production process is being changed. It’s machines talking to machines in a self-optimizing manufacturing and engineering process. Using this approach, we have attained a production quality rate of 99.9988%. That is getting pretty close to Six Sigma. In the last five years, we have increased productivity eightfold. It’s really something.
Farmers are using satellite data to get precise information about the health of their crops. Healthy plants absorb light for photosynthesis and reflect infrared. By looking at a field with both visible and infrared cameras, satellites can provide weekly – even daily – information to farmers about the state of their crops. This helps ensure fertilisers and other treatments are only applied where they are needed.
Autonomous farm vehicles can be accurately controlled to follow set paths using global navigation satellite systems to ensure that no section of the field is missed when ploughing or seeding, and overlapping is reduced. This helps prevent too much soil compaction, which causes lower yields, and means fewer seeds or treatments are wasted.
Satellite positioning is also being used to monitor and manage livestock. Scotland’s Rural College,SRUC, is working on “virtual fencing”, which involves fitting cattle with a collar programmed with exclusion zones. Cattle can be gently nudged away from particular areas using negative stimuli such as an irritating sound.
Since Dorn Cox began automating his 250-acre New Hampshire farm four years ago, he has installed dozens of sensors. Some measure moisture in soil around his squash. Some track temperatures in the greenhouse air around his cucumbers. Others track wind speed and rainfall in segments of field roughly a quarter-acre in size. When something is amiss—temperatures are too high or the soil is too dry—he receives an alert on his smartphone. He also sends out drones to survey his field crops for dryness, soil erosion, and plant health.
Makers of semiconductors spend upward of $5 billion to build and operate fabrication plants—known as “fabs”—that run 24 hours a day so they can recoup their investment before the equipment becomes obsolete in five years or so. Rows of pristine machines sit in windowless cleanrooms, which are almost as free of humans as they are of dust. Intel and Texas Instruments have spent decades perfecting this almost sci-fi form of manufacturing. Now they want to show the rest of the world how it’s done.
The chipmakers have set their sights on what researcher IHS estimates is a $185 billion global market for gear to automate industrial production. To capture a portion of that spending, they’re prodding companies to bring the Internet of Things—a term that describes a world in which physical objects are embedded with electronics and talk to each other—into factories. “It’s moving beyond hype and into engineers rolling up their sleeves,” says Doug Davis, senior vice president of the IoT division at Intel, which had more than $2 billion in sales last year. “The economic value and impact are unquestioned.”
ProGlove, developed by Workaround, is an “intelligent” glove that uses chips to power a simple display on the wrist. If the person wearing the glove completes an assembly task correctly, a large green check mark appears.
A great story in National Geographic to embed and then track artificial tusks with GPS chips into the ivory supply chain.
"To start, Christy asked taxidermist George Dante and Quintin Kermeen, founder and president of Telemetry Solutions, to lend their expertise to the project.
Real ivory is tough to impersonate. First of all, it won't melt when you hold a flame to it. Genuine ivory also has "Schreger lines" — small imperfections on the cut-end of the tusk, much like rings on a tree trunk, that show the elephant's age.
Despite these challenges, Dante created such a believable version that Christy and his editor were detained for a night at an airport in Tanzania.Officials thought the tusks were real even though Christy and his editor had notes from the US Fish and Wildlife Service and National Geographic certifying the tusks were artificial.
After navigating a few other hiccups, Christy dropped the tusks directly into the ivory supply chain through the coastal city of Mboki in the Central African Republic."
“I have since installed a few WeMo and Hue devices in my home, and I have to say, I like what Echo can do with them.
It's cool to be able to say "Alexa, Bedroom lights fifty percent" and then have the Philips Hues in the entire room dim. Or say "Alexa, Espresso machine on" and have the Rancilio Silvia in my kitchen connected to a WeMo smart switch begin its heat-up process.”
Flex’s 2,500 product designers have created a library of 130 component designs that can help companies cobble together devices more quickly. Some of its engineers have built a tiny sensor that scans your retina, useful for products that need to log in users without keyboards. Another group focuses on bendable circuit boards that will be used in electronic tattoos to track vital signs, or in sneaker-mounted wireless chargers that draw power from a wearer’s movement, says Joan Vrtis, who heads that team. “We are trying to be very much in front of what our customers want,” she says.
To help customers make use of its components or create new ones, Sargent has opened 23 R&D labs across the country where they can work with designers and use 3D printers and industrial manufacturing equipment to make prototypes. Flex is developing smart shelves with Intel and crop-monitoring sensors with Farm2050, a food production consortium started with Google Executive Chairman Eric Schmidt.