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The Industrial Internet of Things FEATURE NEWS

IoT Evolution Takes a Tour of GE's FORGE Lab

By Ken Briodagh October 05, 2017

In a unique opportunity, IoT Evolution got a walk around of the GE FORGE Lab where the company is doing some of its most interesting research into future technologies. The researchers there are investigating the technical feasibilities of: Humans and robots working together; how the Digital Thread redefines industrial products and processes and adds new layers of security and trust to protect them; Virtual and Augmented Reality (VR and AR) changing physical reality; and how machines talk to people and to other machines in order to drive higher performance and better business outcomes.

As GE continues its digital IIoT innovation, the FORGE Lab will be tasked with connecting the physical and digital worlds to accelerate this evolution.

We met with Shyam Rajan, Leader of the FORGE Lab, Ben Verschueren, FORGE Lab Growth Leader, Ben Beckmann, Lead Scientist, Complex Systems Engineering Lab, Blockchain technologies, John Hoare, Lead Robotics and Autonomous Systems Engineer, Telerobotics Demo, and Ratnadeep Paul, Lead Engineer, AR/VR technologies.

In the blockchain lab, we saw how GE is using blockchain technology to encrypt critical data for transmission, through the currency exchanges. In robotics, the team is leveraging Virtual Reality technology to remotely and immersively control a large robot for, in the test case, operating valves. Of course, these devices could be leveraged for a multitude of purposes in remote locations or dangerous conditions. Also, the robotics team is working on miniature inspection robot that is already being used to send inside tight areas like turbine engines, and pairing these robots with VR interfaces and headsets in order to give an inspector or repair technician a better look at systems from the inside.

Finally, the team using AR was designing a very interesting healthcare IoT diagnostics system with which a technician can use a hololens-type AR system to correctly place sensors on the skin above the organs which need to be examined, even if they were not physiological experts.

This tour was a revealing and interesting look at some of the technology that GE is investigating for use in IoT applications across the industry. 
Ken Briodagh is a writer and editor with more than a decade of experience under his belt. He is in love with technology and if he had his druthers would beta test everything from shoe phones to flying cars.

Edited by Ken Briodagh

Editorial Director

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