Stanford cryptography pioneers Whitfield Diffie and Martin Hellman win Turing Award

Stanford's Martin Hellman, left, and Whitfield Diffie, shown in 1977
Stanford’s Martin Hellman, left, and Whitfield Diffie, shown in 1977, were awarded the 2015 A.M. Turing Award this week

The groundbreaking algorithm from Whitfield Diffie and Martin Hellman enabled a secure Internet and sparked a clash with the NSA that foreshadowed current privacy battles between government agencies and Silicon Valley companies.

Stanford cyber-security innovators Whitfield Diffie and Martin Hellman, who brought cryptography from the shadowy realm of classified espionage into the public space and created a major breakthrough that enabled modern e-commerce and secure communications over the Internet, are being honored with the Association for Computing Machinery’s 2015 A.M. Turing Award.

The award is often referred to as the “Nobel Prize of computing” and comes with a $1 million prize funded by Google.

The Association for Computing Machinery (ACM) made the official announcement Tuesday morning at the RSA conference in San Francisco – one of the largest gatherings of cryptographers working on Internet security.  Continue reading Stanford cryptography pioneers Whitfield Diffie and Martin Hellman win Turing Award

ABB using IoT networking technology supplied by Jasper

The world is moving rapidly toward the automation of industrial processes, and new industries are entering the robotics market at unprecedented rates. 

Advancement in technologies and communication make today’s industrial robots more powerful and user friendly than ever before. Companies such as ABB are constantly pushing the boundaries of technology to create new smart products that make factories around the world safer, more productive, and more cost-efficient.

ABB is a leading supplier of industrial robots and modular manufacturing systems. The company has installed more than 250,000 robots worldwide serving a variety of industries including automotive, plastics, metal fabrication, foundry, electronics, machine tools, pharmaceutical, and food and beverage.

ABB has been using an Internet of Things network installed by Jasper, which provides a solution called Control Center.

Continue reading ABB using IoT networking technology supplied by Jasper

Medical automation achieving goal of personalized healthcare

op-ed medical automation

One of the fastest growing areas IT sector is increasingly focusing on is automation in healthcare. As the healthcare provider’s world over are actively focused towards attaining the twin objective of reducing costs and waste and improve the healthcare quality, automation of manual tasks becomes a significant strategy to measure performance in healthcare delivery. The proliferation of medical images forms a vital part of manual tasks faced by clinicians and radiologists. 

These medical images are fastest-growing data source in the healthcare industry; and as estimated by researchers at IBM, a renowned American multinational technology corporation, they contribute to around 90 per cent of all medical data in the world today. Managing electronic health records along with medical images pose daunting tasks for healthcare providers in terms of limited tools and time available.

To address these challenges and to integrate medical images with mainstream healthcare information, various IT majors do provide automation technologies and high-end technology platforms including cloud-based healthcare intelligence. Continue reading Medical automation achieving goal of personalized healthcare

Investment in manufacturing robotics could boost British economy by £60bn within a decade, says Barclays

manufacturing in the uk

Investing an additional £1.2bn into manufacturing processes, to increase robotics and automation over the next decade, could add as much as £60.5bn to the UK economy over the next decade, forecasts new research from Barclays. This is equivalent to nearly two fifths of the manufacturing sector’s value to the economy today.

The “Future-proofing UK manufacturing” report reveals that investing in automation technology will help to increase the international competitiveness of the UK’s manufacturing sector through increased manufacturing productivity and efficiency. As a result of additional investment, the manufacturing sector will be worth £191bn in 2025, £8.6bn more than currently projected and a 19.6% increase on today.

Furthermore, increased investment in automation will help to soften the expected long-term decline in manufacturing sector jobs by safeguarding 73,500 additional workers in 2025, due to the creation of a larger, more productive and competitive UK manufacturing sector. Continue reading Investment in manufacturing robotics could boost British economy by £60bn within a decade, says Barclays

Germans developing car wheels that can be steered individually

car wheels axle chassisWhen first learning to drive, many people find steering a bit tricky. You realise the roads maybe aren’t as straight as you thought they were and you constantly have to turn an inch this way, and an inch that way. Not being used to the relationship between the wheel in your hands and the wheels on the road, you’re not quite sure if the unsteady minute manoeuvers you’re having to make is because you lack the skill, or if the road is wrong, or if the wheels are not all connected up properly. Many cars seem to have some slack between the steering wheel and the road wheels. 

With autonomous cars of course you no longer have to worry about your steering skills. In fact, if Google has its way, you may not even see a steering wheel. For not only did the self-styled archiver of all human knowledge stupefy everyone by presenting us with the crazy idea of driverless cars and actually persuade everyone it’s actually quite a good idea when you think about it, the modern equivalent of Big Brother is now telling us it wants to do away with the steering wheel, the acceleration pedal, the clutch and brake. The weird thing is that their mad ideas make sense to us, even though we have a sneaky suspicion that they really shouldn’t. But paranoia aside, why would you need a steering wheel or anything like that in a car that you don’t have to operate, that moves around by itself? On this evidence, Google will continue to drive people out of their minds, and we will accept it, probably.

Now, of course, everyone and their grannies are developing autonomous car technologies in anticipation of some brave new world where all cars have the same rights as humans. And who better to help us innovate our way into inconsequence than the Germans? Their long tradition of automotive engineering excellence would demand that they come up with at least one screwball idea that people may think is actually quite practical. So in keeping with Google’s continual challenges to conventional thinking, the Germans have been pushing the idea of car wheels all turning and moving independently of each other, theoretically in any direction the autonomous, cloud-connected robot chooses for each one.  Continue reading Germans developing car wheels that can be steered individually

Siemens provides close-up view of its electronics manufacturing plant, where the lines between human and robot workers are blurred

siemens robotic electronics factory
Picture: At Siemens’ Electronics Manufacturing Plant in Erlangen, Germany, the company has devised new concepts for highly flexible manufacturing systems using lightweight robots and 3D printers.

Simulation, 3D printing, lightweight robots – these are some of the innovative technologies driving the Fourth Industrial Revolution – or Industry 4.0. And they are already a reality at Siemens’ Electronics Manufacturing Plant in Erlangen, Germany. A key reason for the success of this plant is that people and machines work hand in hand.

siemens robotic electronics factory
Employees at Siemens’ Electronics Manufacturing Plant in Erlangen have the freedom to try out innovative ideas and turn them into successful projects.

Schorsch assembles small converters. Hannes does the big ones; he inserts a fan and a heat sink in the housing and fastens them with four screws – several hundred times a day. When Hannes takes a break, Schorsch keeps on working unwaveringly.

When Hannes goes home, Schorsch goes on working. Hannes is a temporary factory worker. Schorsch is a lightweight robot. Continue reading Siemens provides close-up view of its electronics manufacturing plant, where the lines between human and robot workers are blurred

Siemens gets green light for gigantic intelligent transport projects

siemens intelligent transport systems
Picture: A fully automated subway line at Charles de Gaulle airport in Paris. Key parts of the system, including rolling stock, track-based and on-board automated systems, as well as upgrades for the operations control center, were delivered by Siemens Rail Systems.

German industrial conglomerate Siemens has won contracts to construct some of the world’s largest intelligent transport projects which will feature autonomous vehicles and connected infrastructure

intelligent transport systems
In the context of the Car2X project, roadside units along a test area communicate with test vehicles.

A 1,300-kilometer corridor between Rotterdam and Vienna in which vehicles and infrastructures communicate with one another; driverless subway trains in Paris, Budapest, and Riyadh; an autonomously-operating public transportation systems in Ulm, Germany – these are examples of how mobility will be networked and increasingly characterized by autonomous systems – developments that Siemens is deeply involved in.

With six lines and a total route length of 175 kilometers, Riyadh is planning the world’s largest subway project. Siemens is to supply the entire turnkey system for two driverless metro lines in the capital of Saudi Arabia.

The five-million city is looking for sustainable solutions for its local traffic problems. Because Riyadh is growing rapidly: since 1990, the population has doubled to more than five million inhabitants. Siemens equips Lines 1 and 2 of the six lines with Inspiro metro trains, the electrification and the signaling and communication systems for driverless operation.  Continue reading Siemens gets green light for gigantic intelligent transport projects

Do you want chips with that? How robots are threatening millions of fast food jobs

mcdonalds, fast food, robots
McDonald’s plans to open 25,000 robot-run fast food restaurants this year

Technology moves so fast there’s rarely enough time to grab a burger before the next iPhone update. And even if you do find the time to visit a fast food restaurant, it’s increasingly likely that it will be a robot that will be preparing your food and possibly even serving you, not to mention charging you for their efforts to seem human while carrying out their customer service duties.

According to Statista, almost 4 million people in the US work in the fast food industry. McDonald’s, arguably the most famous fast food restaurant chain in the world, employs around half a million people. Continue reading Do you want chips with that? How robots are threatening millions of fast food jobs

Ports and docks prepare for new phase of robotics and automation

Marlon Brando On the Waterfront
Marlon Brando as a dock worker, with hook resting on neck, in the classic film On the Waterfront

When you think of the technology at docks and ports, the first things that may spring to mind are the giant cranes that pick containers off the ships and place them somewhere on the dock.

These “gantry cranes” as they’re called stand taller than the ships at several tens of metres high and have lifting capacities of several tens of tons. But they’re all manually operated – just like the cranes you might see on construction sites.

In fact, there’s very little automation let alone machine autonomy present at the vast majority of docks and ports and ports around the world, which perhaps is not surprising given the history of docks as a massive employer of manpower. The work was always done by humans and was essentially simple – lift and move boxes. Continue reading Ports and docks prepare for new phase of robotics and automation

Your artificially intelligent assistant is ready to take a letter

boss dictates letter to secretaryOne of the many perks of being the boss of a reasonably sized company is having your own personal assistant, someone who you can dictate letters to, someone who keeps your diary updated, answers your phones and helps you organise your time so you are as efficient and as productive as you can be at work.

A good PA is often very highly paid, commensurate with the company and business sector he or she works for, and their image as super-fast typists and excellent organisers is one that is often celebrated and acknowledged.

However, the relationship between the boss and the PA could be about to change forever as a result of developments in artificially intelligent assistant technology. Already there are a number of artificially intelligent personal assistants – let’s call them AIPAs for now – on the market and according to some, they’re quite good. Continue reading Your artificially intelligent assistant is ready to take a letter

Study reveals how the way we live will change in the next 100 years

A team of leading academics has made a number of predictions for how we will live in the future. Many of the predictions were influenced by environmental conditions, with growing populations leading to the development of structures that are better able to cope with space constraints and diminishing resources.

Super-skyscrapers which will dwarf the Shard, underwater bubble cities and origami furniture are all likely to be reality in 100 years’ time. That’s the verdict of the new study which paints a vivid picture of our future lives; suggesting the way we live, work and play will change beyond all recognition over the course of the next century.

The SmartThings Future Living Report was authored by a team of leading academics including TV presenter and one of the UK’s leading space scientists, Dr Maggie Aderin-Pocock, award-winning futurist architects and lecturers at the University of Westminster Arthur Mamou-Mani and Toby Burgess, as well as pioneering urbanists Linda Aitken and Els Leclerq. Continue reading Study reveals how the way we live will change in the next 100 years

Schunk grippers help visions become reality

Schunk LDx linear direct axes are already widely used today in high-performance assembly.

Admittedly, the iron hand of the legendary knight Götz von Berlichingen and Schunk’s 5-finger hand have very little in common. Yet it cannot be denied that the first personal handshake with the agile high-tech gripper creates an unnerving feeling.

The soft handshake soon dispels all skepticism, however, giving way to enthusiasm for the possibilities of modern mechatronics.

Since the Hannover Messe 2015, where the mechatronic masterpiece caused a sensation in the media, the innovative SCHUNK gripper has become the shooting star in the area of flexible handling. Continue reading Schunk grippers help visions become reality