Scientists at Siemens Corporate Research in Princeton, NJ have developed a technology that will enable building and maintenance personnel to check the operational ‘health’ of oil, gas and power plants in minutes rather than hours.
Using a wearable or mobile computer with a built-in camera and wireless network connection to the factory database and other data resources, an engineer can query a variety of plant equipment as to its operational status.
By pointing a camera at a nearby visual marker – one of thousands that could be distributed around the plant – the camera transmits code and position information of an engineer to the plant’s online database.
Speaking into the mobile computer’s microphone, the engineer might ask a nearby container tank: ‘Current status?’
The underlying plant management software is then queried to obtain the status of the container tank and a spoken response is generated, for example ‘34% full of water at a temperature of 62 degrees Celsius.’
The same system will allow an engineer in a control room to have a virtual view of the area in question and to conduct his or her own interrogation.
While the whole system still needs to be fully integrated and tested, it could be implemented in a real factory as early as next spring.