Category Archives: Hardware

You could be seeing things that aren’t there: Google Glass finds new home in old industries

google glass with manual

On the left is an assembly engine manual that GE’s mechanics used to consult. Now they use Glass Enterprise Edition on the right. Picture: Google X

About four years ago, when Google first showed off its Glass product – a pair of hi-tech spectacles capable of running augmented reality apps – it was met with some scepticism, incredulity even. 

Few people thought it would take off, as interesting as the idea was. Maybe people generally couldn’t see themselves walking around wearing glasses which could be seen as intrusive.

Theoretically, Google Glass could display images on pretty much everything and everyone you looked at while wearing them – and would people in your eyeline appreciate that? 

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Bosch to build gigantic semiconductor production plant in Germany

bosch_waferfab-reutlingen 111

German industrial giant Bosch is building a massive semiconductor production plant which would represent the single largest investment in the company’s 130-year history. 

The high-tech facility, to be located in Dresden, would employ around 700 staff working on 300-millimeter semiconductor chips which Bosch says has growing applications in the automotive market, smart cities and on the industrial internet, all strong markets for Bosch.

The construction of the high-tech factory is to be completed by the end of 2019, says Bosch, and production is expected to begin at the end of 2021 after a start-up phase. Overall, the investment volume for the site is estimated to be around $1.1 billion. 

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Qualcomm says it’s producing 1 million chips a day for IoT applications

qualcomm board

Qualcomm says it is currently shipping more than 1 million chips per day for the internet of things. 

The company made the announcement at its IoT industry analyst workshop.

The company says its production momentum reflects Qualcomm’s “unique ability to invent and deliver the technologies needed for the IoT, and to meet challenging customer requirements for interoperability, connectivity, compute and security”. 

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Nvidia developing self-driving technology with truckmaker Paccar

Nvidia is working with Paccar, a truck manufacturer, on developing solutions for autonomous vehicles. 

The collaboration was shared by Nvidia founder and CEO Jen-Hsun Huang during his keynote at the Bosch Connected World conference in Berlin.

Separately, he provided details of Nvidia’s partnership with Bosch, the world’s largest automotive supplier, on self-driving car technology.

“This is probably the largest single mass of a product that we’ve helped make,” said Huang, addressing a crowd of more than 2,000 executives, developers and others attending the event. 

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Nvidia and Bosch launch artificially intelligent self-driving car computer

Nvidia CEO Huang on stage at Bosch event

Nvidia CEO Jen-Hsun Huang on stage at Bosch event

One of the world’s largest automotive suppliers, Bosch, provided a massive stage today for Nvidia CEO Jen-Hsun Huang to showcase its new artificial intelligence platform for self-driving cars.

Speaking in the heart of Berlin to several thousand attendees at Bosch Connected World — an annual conference dedicated to the Internet of Things — Huang detailed how deep learning is fueling an AI revolution in the auto industry.

The small AI car supercomputer was unveiled last week in the opening keynote address by Bosch CEO Dr Volkmar Denner, who focused on how his company, which had €73 billion in revenue last year, is pushing deeper into the areas of sensors, software and services. 

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Nvidia launches new board for robotics development


Company says its IoT platform for manufacturing, industrial, retail will be made possible by Nvidia’s artificially intelligent-powered Jetson 

Nvidia has unveiled the Nvidia Jetson TX2, a credit card-sized platform that it says delivers AI computing at the edge – opening the door to “powerfully intelligent” factory robots, commercial drones and smart cameras for AI cities. 

Jetson TX2 offers twice the performance of its predecessor, or it can run at more than twice the power efficiency, while drawing less than 7.5 watts of power. This allows Jetson TX2 to run larger, deeper neural networks on edge devices.

The result: smarter devices with higher accuracy and faster response times for tasks like image classification, navigation and speech recognition.

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Growing pains at ADL as it launches ‘industry’s smallest’ Intel-based embedded PC

adl embedded systems

Exclusive interview with JC Ramirez, director of engineering, ADL Embedded Solutions

If there’s one problem most companies would be happy to have is the one related to having too many orders to deal with. 

This is the situation ADL Embedded Solutions finds itself in, according to JC Ramirez, the company’s director of engineering and product manager.

In an exclusive interview with Robotics and Automation News, Ramirez says the company is experiencing “serious growing pains”, especially in Germany, where there is “too much work” going on.

ADL has generally been highly regarded and known as a “board company”, specialising in supplying technology for military and defence applications.

But the company has been going higher, into the upper levels of integration with its products in the past few years. 

Tiny chip capable of running deep neural networks could accelerate robotics development


One of the challenges in robotics development is the fact that the computer processing required is just massive, often too much for a complex machine to handle onboard without packing very large pieces of hardware. 

One way around it has been to connect the robots up to cloud computing systems which run such things as neural networks and can remotely process data – but this is inefficient and slow.

Even if takes a few seconds to process massive quantities of data, those seconds are just too much time wasted for a machine such, for example, an autonomous car on the move – these things need to be instantaneous. 

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ADL launches what it claims is ‘industry’s smallest Intel-based embedded device ever’

adl 1500 device

ADL Embedded Solutions has launched its ultra-compact ADLEPC-1500 Embedded PC, which the company claims is “the industry’s smallest Intel-based embedded device ever released”.

At 3.4” x 3.2”, the ADLEPC-1500 is a “full-feature embedded PC” targeted at unmanned, industrial controls, robotics, traffic management and surveillance market, says the company.

ADL adds that the device’s wide voltage and temperature range make it “ideal” for a variety of applications and environments. 

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Industrial internet: Advantech joins LoRa Alliance


Advantech, which claims to be one of the world’s leading suppliers of industrial computers and “intelligent systems”, has joined the LoRa Alliance. 

The LoRa Alliance is open, non-profit association which provides a forum for its 400 members to develop standards for internet of things technologies.

Advantech says it will provide the LoRa gateway and sensor node devices based on the open standard for Industry 4.0 and Smart City applications. 

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Human-machine interface league: The impact of digital decay for older industrial devices

Philip Oakey

What, him? Together in electric dreams… Phil Oakey of The Human League in his heyday, with mullet out of sight for once. Oakey had no idea about cloud computing.

Jonathan Wilkins, marketing director of industrial automation supplier EU Automation examines how digital decay is affecting industry

The 80s: an era of double denim, floppy disks and such classics as Don’t You Want Me, by The Human League. Back then, the concept of storing the vinyl collection of your standard new romantic as well as enough movies to rival the local video shop on a “cloud” was unimaginable and let’s be honest, ridiculous.

Today, data storage for consumer and industrial technology is advancing rapidly, but what does this mean for older industrial devices?

Digital decay describes storage media, or anything stored in computerised form, gradually decaying over time. Much like the spine of a well read book will crack and its pages will fade and crease, digital media is also vulnerable to breakdown and deterioration over time. For consumers, the throw out and upgrade attitude to storage devices is fine, but for industrial manufacturers it’s not quite so simple. 

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Qualcomm unveils first communications chip for connected cars

qualcomm at ces

Chip giant Qualcomm has revealed its first communications chip for connected cars, a market in which it is soon to be dominant after its acquisition of NXP Semiconductor goes through. 

Presenting the new chip at CES, Patrick Little, Qualcomm’s senior vice president of automotive, said the chip can handle cellular signals at speeds measured in gigabits per second, according to a report in the Wall Street Journal.

“No longer will you be cranking windows and pushing buttons,” WSJ quoted Little as saying. “You’ll walk into your car and it will feel like a very seamless transition with your handset.”

Full report on Wall Street Journal

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Reality ain’t what it used to be: The Sword of Damocles gets a reboot

Leroy Spence, head of sales development at industrial spares supplier EU Automation, looks at how AR and VR are changing the world of manufacturing

The Oculus Rift, Microsoft HoloLens and even Google Cardboard are a far stretch from the first virtual reality headset, created in 1968 by computer scientist Ivan Sutherland.

The concoction was called the Sword of Damocles and, because of its formidable size and weight, had to be anchored to the ceiling so it didn’t crush the user.

Almost 50 years later, we are only now seeing VR and augmented reality being used in manufacturing environments. 

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Maxim Integrated launches new PLC development platform

maxim-Pocket IO PLC Development Platform

Maxim says its new platform transforms traditional manufacturing processes with real-time intelligence, adaptive manufacturing, and distributed control

Maxim Integrated has launched a new Pocket IO programmable logic controller development platform which its says can significantly increase manufacturing productivity.

The company says the platform provides customers with the ability to achieve the smallest form factor and highest power efficiency for next-generation PLC designs.

Lost productivity is a common concern for Industry 4.0 designers challenged with keeping a manufacturing line running 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. 

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Beyond Moore’s Law: Human-plus-machine computing

d-wave processor

By Adam Devine, vice president of marketing, WorkFusion

How do we move forward in a world where Moore’s Law no longer holds true? For five decades, Gordon Moore’s famous prediction about processing power doubling about every two years held firm.

It was a reliable sort of constant as innovators continued to increase the number of transistors per square inch on integrated circuits.

But all good things must come to an end, and Moore’s Law has been confounded by another, more immutable law: physics. 

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