Construction & Engineering

Microsoft is putting Cortana in charge of your thermostat


The company teamed up with popular thermostat maker Johnson Controls to create GLAS, a sleek new touchscreen wall thermostat that promises to do much more than just turn up the heat. GLAS will run on the Windows 10 IoT Core OS, which is made specifically for smart devices. The thermostat offers Cortana voice services, so you'll be able to interact with the AI directly on the wall. GLAS will likely look to stake its place as a high-end competitor to other smart thermostats like Google's Nest and Ecobee, that latter of which also offers voice control through Amazon's Alexa.

Sears and Amazon; Alexa, Turn up My Kenmore Air Conditioner

U.S. News

FILE - In this May 17, 2017 file photo, an Amazon Alexa device is switched on for a demonstration of its use in a ballpark suite before a Seattle Mariners baseball game in Seattle. Struggling retailer Sears is looking to get a hand from Amazon, announcing that it will start offering its Kenmore products on the online powerhouse's website. Sears, which runs Kmart and its namesake stores, said that Kenmore Smart appliances will also be fully integrated with Amazon's Alexa. This will allow consumers to control products, like Kenmore Smart air conditioners, by making a request to Alexa.

A Little Help Here? AI Comes to the Rescue of Video-Overloaded Construction Projects


A big construction project is like a celebrity. This may be the initial plan at many construction sites, but the sheer amount of video or pictures taken on a big construction project can quickly get out of hand. Deep learning is used by A compute-intensive operation, deep learning requires some serious horsepower--of the kind offered by banks of GPUs. Along with the undisclosed financial investment Autodesk has made, Autodesk had been making its own stab at mining construction project data using machine learning and analytics with its Project IQ, although the data it was mining does not appear to include video.

Factory Maintenance Jobs Are Getting Harder To Fill. Siemens Says AI Could Replace Them


Because it's getting harder to find humans who want to or can do those kinds of jobs, says Jagannath Rao, the company's SVP for data services at its campus outside Atlanta. "We've gone through a period of time when many people were steered away from traditional trades, apprenticeships, college-level education for some of these practical trades, in favor of going to university," says Jeff Bonnell, a VP at Coresystems in Vancouver, which provides software for diagnosing problems with industrial machinery. Coresystems uses Siemens's MindSphere service, which gathers data from machines for tasks like predicting breakdowns, something that was once done by humans. These networks collect the data that machine learning AI can munch on to learn the early signs of an impending breakdown--replacing those old techs who could diagnose a machine by placing an ear up to it.

Right Relevance: Top IIoT Influencers on Twitter in June 2017


This report is a summary of graph analysis of engagements and conversations including retweets, mentions and replies of tweets related to the subject of'Industrial IoT'. Compared to the previous IIoT Report published in April, PageRank brings up Evan Kirstel (@evankirstel) on the top position, followed by Bill McCabe (@IoTRecruiting) and Carol Rudinschi (@IIoT_World). Some big players in the industrial market like Rockwell Automation (ROKAutomation), @Schneider Electric, @PTC, @ThingWorx (a PTC business and an award winning IoT solution) or @Avnet are in this top too. Insights include flocks, top trending terms, top hashtags, top Users/accounts, RR topics, top tweets and several other measures.

Siemens' AI Work Delivers Competitive Advantage in IIoT

#artificialintelligence Content Director Brian Buntz wrote recently about the resources Siemens is throwing at software, and while that's significant, I'm more interested in Siemens' AI and machine learning work. For the past decade, Siemens' AI efforts have been focused on improving control of industrial processes using deep learning and reinforcement learning. An example of this technology is Siemens' "self-optimizing" gas turbines that leverage reinforcement learning. You can extend the classical control loop with a machine-learning loop using neural networks, making it dynamic and thus creating a new control policy.

Alexa can control your dumb AC unit using Ambi's smart hub


Some of you may recall that back in October 2014, Hong Kong startup Ambi Labs unveiled its Ambi Climate as a gateway between your smartphone and your dumb air conditioner at home. But it isn't just about replacing your infrared remote control; what makes Ambi Climate unique is its machine learning capability, so that over time it learns your comfort preferences by way of various sensors, while also saving up to 20-percent energy according to user feedback. For instance, users in New York have a wider range of preferred temperatures, whereas users in Singapore peaked at around 77 degrees Fahrenheit (about 25 degrees Celsius) -- which is actually very close to what I prefer here in Hong Kong. On top of Comfort Mode, Ambi Climate also offers a Temperature Mode, an Away Mode (it only turns on the air conditioner to suit your settings) and a Manual Mode, as well as a timer and a scheduling feature.

A Sense of Hearing Could Make Cars Safer and More Reliable

MIT Technology Review

The technology could also help human-driven and automated vehicles stay safe, for example by listening for emergency sirens or sounds indicating road surface quality. OtoSense has developed machine-learning software that can be trained to identify specific noises, including subtle changes in an engine or a vehicle's brakes. Under a project dubbed AudioHound, OtoSense has developed a prototype tablet app that a technician or even car owner could use to record audio for automated diagnosis, says Guillaume Catusseau, who works on vehicle noise in PSA's R&D department. Tests have shown that the system can identify unwanted noises from the engine, HVAC system, wheels, and other components.

3-D printing offers new approach to making buildings

MIT News

Structures built with this system could be produced faster and less expensively than traditional construction methods allow, the researchers say. Following this approach for their initial work, the researchers showed that the system can be easily adapted to existing building sites and equipment, and that it will fit existing building codes without requiring whole new evaluations, Keating explains. Keating says the team's analysis shows that such construction methods could produce a structure faster and less expensively than present methods can, and would also be much safer. But the ability to design and digitally fabricate multifunctional structures in a single build embodies a shift from the machine age to the biological age -- from considering the building as a machine to live in, made of standardized parts, to the building as an organism, which is computationally grown, additively manufactured, and possibly biologically augmented."

Japan's labor-scarce building sites automating, turning to robots, drones

The Japan Times

Kajima plans to sell its heavy machines with GPS systems for around ¥4 million to ¥5 million ($35,000 to $44,000). Shimizu Corp., another major construction firm, has developed an arm-shaped robot that lifts reinforcing rods. The infrastructure ministry said it will financially support public works projects that plan to use drones and other technology for streamlining works. "When we think about the shortage of workers 10 years from now, this is the last chance for the government to invest and conduct radical reform (in the construction industry)," said Yasushi Nitta, senior deputy director of the ministry's public works project policy planning.