The exhibit hall at this years Autodesk University was dominated by architectural and construction vendors and technology. Although for good reason, it was a bit disappointing for manufacturing-focused individuals like me.
Although not specifically focused on manufacturing, Lenovo had one of the best showcases on the floor. Their booth highlighted what their customers are doing with today’s bleeding edge technology, leveraging Lenovo hardware. This ranged from everything from artificial intelligence (AI) to digital fabrication.
The booth included the new Lenovo boxes built with “Technology of the Future.” Supporting NVIDIA’s Quadro RTX GPU technology, the newer lines of ThinkStations offer real-time ray tracing and AI-enhanced workflows.
NC State University (Lenovo AU2018)
Known for their “real-world” open-source geographic systems, NC State University is tackling some significant projects. One project has their engineering group focusing on how we will feed the world’s population. It is expected that by 2050, the world’s population will grow from 7-billion to 10-billion. This growth requires a doubling in food production. A major challenge is that 70% of our water consumption is used within agriculture. We do not have the water supply necessary to support this growth. So how do we conserve water and energy resources, yet increase production?
The answer? Better tools. Better information. Better access. For example, use artificial intelligence to manage drought conditions. Don’t guess on when to water or how to process your crops, let the intelligence gained from the AI analysis to guide you. A problem? The university lacked the resources to generate and process these data models.
Enter Lenovo. NC State University utilized the Lenovo AI “incubators,” utilizing the latest ThinkCenter technology. The Lenovo servers completed the heavy-lifting. The university pulls a slice of the data locally to perform deep-dives and analysis. On-premise, they use ThinkStation P920 desktops with dual Intel Xeon Gold processors and NVIDIA Quadro GV100 graphics.
NC State University now prototypes deep learning algorithms from complex spatial and temporal data all from a deskside workstation –allowing them to monitor crops from plantation to harvest and predict whether crops are doing well before issues arise.
Mark III Systems (Lenovo AU2018)
The “eye-catching” display at the Lenovo booth easily was the conveyor belt of pop-cans (or for you Americans soda cans). As these cans went down the line a camera took shots, utilizing AI generated data to detect defects. Real-time, this system identified the condition of the can (quality) and highlighted cans not passing the grade. For some reason, I didn’t take a picture (doh!). The system is constantly learning through a constant feedback loop.
Using the Lenovo Data Center to develop AI image recognition and the ThinkStationP330 Tiny to operate verification systems, Mark III implemented a quality assurance process. This process allows for quickly identifying product defects prior to shipping. As you can image, this allows for delivery of only high-quality products.
What do they use? ThinkStation P330 Tiny with Intel Core i7 processors and NVIDIA Quadro P1000 graphics.
DUS (Lenovo AU2018)
The work of Lenovo Think Revolutionist DUS and its fabrication spinoff, Aectual, showcases how digital fabrication is converging the manufacturing and construction industries. Not long from now, professionals will build their own homes like they’re creating a playlist composed of their favorite 3D-printed building products.
“We are Aectual, for you. Founded out of a mission to bring freedom of design & tailor-made architecture to the masses and to make the production of cities cleaner, faster and better.”
Using the Aectual technology you 3D print facades, floors, and other architectural items. Sustainable, as the items are printed from environmentally friendly and/or recycled material. Recycled plastic, like those coming from drink containers, makes for excellent material as it is resistant to the environment (cold, heat, moisture, etc) yet architecturally strong.
A clear advantage is facades (as shown in the samples above) can be recycled to create new facades. Very cool.
From the Aectual website…
“Our dream is to give everyone in the world access to good architecture and sustainable cities. That’s why we ‘crunch’ the complex supply chains of the building industry, by developing digitally produced building products. We’re creating actual design freedom, massive cost reduction, perfect consumer quality and no waste. Join this revolution!”