Industry 4.0 for Large scale customization and other technology enhanced efficiency

Chancellor Angela Merkel visited the internet startup ResearchGate yesterday. ResearchGate was founded in 2008 by the physicians Dr. Ijad Madisch and Dr. Sören Hofmayer along with computer specialist Horst Fickenscher. Four years later, more than 2.5 million researchers publish their findings, distribute them worldwide, and make a name for themselves on ResearchGate. The company has completed two rounds of financing, led by Founders Fund partner Luke Nosek, co-founder of PayPal, and Matt Cohler of Benchmark Capital, co-founder of LinkedIn and early employee of Facebook.

Germany is now seeking to position itself for the coming revolution, “industry 4.0”, powered by Internet.

German firms at the CeBIT show were scrambling not to get left behind by the global competition when it comes to making industrial processes smarter and more interconnected.

The German Research Center for Artificial Intelligence (DFKI) showcased its “smart factory”, showing how industrial processes can be made more efficient when connected by Internet.

As an example, the DFKI demonstrated how a plastic badge installed with a tiny RFID identification chip instructs the machines involved in its production. The chip can tell other machines what to engrave on its surface, what colour to paint it or whether to stick on instructions in French, German or Portuguese.

The idea of the project, which should be rolled out on an industrial scale in Germany next year, is to allow a production process that is both large-scale and highly specific.

A DFKI staff member demonstrated a pair of large black glasses that look like they have been taken straight from a sci-fi film. He turns towards a machine and begins to repair it with the aid of holographic instructions that are beamed into his glasses.

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