April 4, 2016

Sensors will identify malfunctioning equipment, allowing it to fix itself, futurist says

In addition, private satellites will let companies monitor operations through aerial images, founder of X Prize Foundation predicts.

By DC Velocity Staff

Multiple sensors embedded in equipment will quickly notify manufacturers of potential problems which in many cases can be self-corrected by the equipment themselves, a leading entrepreneur told the biennial Modex conference in Atlanta today.

The comments in the keynote address by Peter Diamandis, who is also an engineer and physician, go to the heart of one of the material handling industry's key concerns, namely the dearth of qualified technicians to repair and maintain today's increasingly complex systems and equipment. The problem is compounded by the rapid speed with which technologies are changing.

Diamandis, who is best known for founding and chairing the X Prize Foundation, which provides funding for potentially breakthrough ideas, urged the gathering to prepare for the advent of "exponential technology" driven by faster and cheaper computing power and a convergence of different technologies, as opposed to each technological breakthrough occurring one at a time. He also said the emergence of private "orbital constellations" will enable companies to view developments anywhere in the world from aerial images. Detailed images of far-flung locations once accessible only to government intelligence agencies will be available to virtually anyone, he predicted.

Diamandis urged the gathering to shoot for "10x improvement" rather than just 10-percent growth, arguing that when you shoot for seemingly impossible solutions "you approach the problem in a radically different fashion," even if the problem seems unsolvable.

More coverage from MODEX 2016