Electronic senses to touch us all

By Catherine

Written by Catherine Bolgar

Five Senses

The next trend in industry is taking B2B to B2C. Industrial products and services have long been in a league of their own—too big, too dangerous or too expensive for consumers. Promoting something as “industrial strength” has long implied that it’s as serious as you can get.

Industrial strength is moving beyond cleaners and into new areas. New technology is making industrial machines smaller and more affordable. That’s most vivid in information technology, where computing power that once only governments and large corporations could afford now sits in the palm of your hand in the form of a smart phone.

The challenge for industry in the future lies in continuing to innovate for business while also finding consumer applications.

There’s no B2B business any more. What people care about is the C—the consumer. B2B will be driven by B2C: how can I access a C?” says Jean-Christophe Mifsud, president and chief executive of Alpha MOS SA, a Toulouse, France, company that makes electronic sensors which replicate three of the five senses: sight, smell and taste. MOS stands for multi-organoleptic systems, or systems that give information about a substance through taste, sight, smell and touch.

Electronic senses offer advantages such as not having to use humans for what may sometimes be unpleasant or even dangerous tasks, as well as consistency. “The mission of the company was to avoid any subjectivity from analysis to the production floor and then to customers,” Dr. Mifsud says.

nose of dog

Up to now, electronic senses have had straight industrial applications, Dr. Mifsud says. The food, beverage, pharmaceuticals, plastics, packaging and environmental industries have clear uses for electronic senses. They can detect when flavors or odors in food are “off,” and if there has been contamination or migration of compounds from plastic packaging into content. MOS odor sensors also can control how fast a flavor is diluted, ensure quality-control, or reverse-engineer an aroma. Its electronic tongues can assess things like bitterness, whether a taste remains stable over time, or whether a product has been adulterated.

In the “very short-term future,” he says, sight, taste and smell sensors will be available to new industries to incorporate into their own products, or for individuals directly.

We decided to bring the capability to the consumer,” Dr. Mifsud says. “Alpha MOS decided to miniaturize the expertise around the hardware and the power consumption, so those sensors can be embedded in things like mobile phones, refrigerators, tablets, the home or the car.”

The refrigerator of the future may have sensors that detect when food is going bad. It might be connected to a food-management system that alerts a resident, who can then check in order to make a grocery list.

Cars in the future may have sensors that detect carbon dioxide. The level of carbon dioxide rises in a car with, say, a family driving on a long trip with the windows shut. That’s dangerous, because carbon dioxide can make the driver sleepy. A sensor would alert the driver and passengers that they need to stop for fresh air.

Doctors in the future may give patients a breath test to detect the onset of diseases like diabetes or cancer. A new study shows that organic compounds in exhaled breath can indicate whether a person has lung cancer—as well as its stage—and can distinguish cancer from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.

We’re talking about millions of sensors with a very low price. An industrial electronic nose costs €50,000 to €100,000. For laboratory uses, it’s extremely powerful and very, very accurate,” he says. “That’s not what the consumer needs.”

At the first level, Alpha MOS is developing a horizontal databank of smells, tastes and visuals that would be valued for any type of user, without any genetic or cultural overlays. A test for ethanol in a person’s breath is the same whether the person is Chinese, American or Spanish.

The next level would be to create a vertical databank linking smells and tastes to personal experience. For example, it would remember which perfume, cheese or wine you like, not by brand or name but by odor, and you could store that information in your phone. Cultural markers could be included, because people in one country tend to appreciate different tastes and smells from those of people in another country.

Odor, in particular, is able to conjure up memories. The databank would let you “identify moments in your life with different smells,” Dr. Mifsud says.

Imagine identifying a wine or a perfume in the same way as you might use an app to identify music. Or eating something and using a sensor to find the recipe and download it. Sensors could identify people based on their smell, too.

Alpha MOS also has patented a way to measure odor, the way decibels measure sound and meters measure distance. Someday, we might say an odor smells like a 35.

“The idea is to bring a basic measurement point to every one of us,” Dr. Mifsud says.

For more from Catherine, contributors from the Economist Intelligence Unit along with industry experts, join The Future Realities discussion.

Spotlight on Becher Neme: BIM Expert Pushes a Zero-Change-Order Approach

By Akio

The team that makes up Neme Design Solutions, a Long Beach, California-based BIM consultancy, specializes in simplifying highly complex projects to enable fabrication.

Led by founder Becher Neme, the firm includes a small team of architects and engineers with more than a decade of experience working onsite with general contractors, and with particular expertise in the CATIA solution.

This combination of field experience and software knowledge has helped the firm carve out a unique niche in model clash detection and resolving interface challenges.

Yesterday’s Improvements Are Today’s Inefficiencies

While Neme notes that the AEC industry has flocked to BIM as a means for improving construction efficiency, the tools commonly used require certain sacrifices.

Case in point, one of the firm’s primary services is coordinating clash detection among BIM models. Today, most general contractors launch a project by meeting with all of the trade contractors.

Dozens of people bring their 3D models and, through a seemingly endless series of meetings, they run clash detection to find potential conflicts among systems. When conflicts are found, each model is updated with the solution.

Neme left these meetings wondering: how much time is invested in preparing for these meetings? How much money is spent on getting all parties involved on the same page? If BIM is about providing project efficiency, how can this process be made more efficient?

A Single-Source Solution

While clash detection can be easy, there’s value to be gained in resolving these conflicts more efficiently. To do so, Neme Design Solutions has explored the single-source model concept.

The idea is that Neme Design Solutions works with the general contractor to create an accurate BIM model before subs are brought on board. A small, highly skilled team creates a highly accurate model. As much as 90 percent of the conflicts can be resolved at this stage.

Tweet: An accurate #BIM model can resolve 90% of #AEC conflicts before subs are brought in @Dassault3DS @becherneme http://ctt.ec/Uyh5a+

Click to tweet: An accurate #BIM model can resolve
90% of #AEC conflicts before subs are brought in

Next, the trade contractors are brought in. Rather than resolving hundreds of modeling conflicts, this wider group fine-tunes the existing model before moving directly to fabrication and installation.

The Peak of Precision

This single-source solution is already in action on several of Neme’s projects.

Among them, the Anaheim Regional Transportation Intermodal Center required the high-precision work for which the CATIA software solution is best known. The project features a highly complex ETFE roof with more than 3,000 connection components.

Anaheim Regional Transportation Intermodal Center

(images courtesy of Neme DS)

The roofing contractor brought Neme Design Solutions onboard when the sub determined its software could not handle the roof’s intricate geometry.

By developing a comprehensive, single-source 3D model, the roofing team was able to extract fabrication drawings so accurate that only four of the 3,000 components ultimately needed changes.

Anaheim Regional Transportation Intermodal Center nodes

Anaheim Regional Transportation Intermodal Center nodes

Anaheim Regional Transportation Intermodal Center nodes

But it is Tivoli Village—a mixed-use development in Las Vegas—that perhaps best demonstrates the unique benefits possible from single-source models.

General contractor Hardstone Construction took complete charge of this 2 million square foot project. As part of a small team of CATIA experts, Neme was deeply involved in developing a single-source model for the project. He rendered the MEP part of that model to be conflict-free and ready for installation.

Tivoli model

With the help of this process, the $350 million first phase of the Tivoli Village was so efficient that it had virtually no change orders. The general contractor was able to beat the budget in several areas.

Tivoli village

(images courtesy of Neme DS)

Tweet: Single-source #BIM models allowed a $350M proj to yield virtually no change orders #AEC @Dassault3DS @becherneme http://ctt.ec/b6b3_+

Click to tweet: Single-source #BIM models allowed
a $350M proj to yield virtually no change orders

Next Generation Possibilities

Given the promise of single-source models, Neme is looking to what might soon be possible.

The next generation, he suggests, must move 3D models beyond visual representation and conflict resolution tools. Future models should improve installation workflow onsite, further optimize prefabrication, reduce material waste and raise onsite safety standards.

For Neme, CATIA is far and away the preferred platform for creating complex, yet flexible, models. However, he notes that given Dassault’s game-changing results in the aerospace industry, expectations are high from construction players on what the software company can do to transform their standard processes.

Neme notes that the latest update to Dassault’s platform boosts the software to a truly collaborative tool. The cloud-based platform allows project teams to work live in a model from anywhere around the globe. Updates are instantly visible to the entire team.

This capability allows the specific skill set offered by Neme Design Solutions to be available as-needed worldwide, and allows Neme and his team to work on multiple projects across the world at once.

Where to Learn More

Looking to learn more about single-source models? Consider attending this year’s 3DEXPERIENCE Forum in Las Vegas, November 11-12, where Neme is a returning speaker.

For Neme, the event is a must-attend for anyone interested in innovative solutions, as it exposes attendees to how the technology currently being explored in construction is being used in aerospace, industrial design, medical and other highly successful industries—suggesting new possibilities for how construction can move forward.

For more on the 2014 3DEXPERIENCE FORUM, visit: www.3ds.com/3ds-events/3dexperience-forum-nam

Tweet: A Zero-Change-Order Approach for #AEC from #BIM Expert and #3DXforum Speaker @becherneme | @Dassault3DS http://ctt.ec/55958+

Click to tweet this article

Related Resources

Visit Neme Design Solutions

Connect with Becher Neme on LinkedIn

Learn more about AEC solutions from Dassault Systèmes

Attend the 3DEXPERIENCE Forum, Las Vegas, November 11-12:

3DEXPERIENCE Customer Forum 2014


Think you have what it takes to shape the future?

By Alyssa

If you have been following this blog for the past 6 years, or if you’ve just found us – you will know that we at Dassault Systemes are driven by a goal to help people imagine sustainable innovations capable of harmonizing product (the economy), nature (the environment) and life (the people). We believe that “if we ask the right questions, we can change the world.”  We are passionate about helping leaders in a range of industries around the world create innovative ways to advance and optimize our path to the future.

To support our mission, we are excited to announce that we have formed a new community on LinkedIn called Future Realities.  You won’t hear a lot directly from us there. Instead, we created this as a space for anyone interested in kicking around ideas around future trends and technology to come together.  You’ll find posts now from thought leaders from The Economist and the Wall Street Journal, and every day community members are raising their own questions to learn what others out there think.

We would love for you to join us! Share your own questions, or jump into one of the compelling discussion topics already raising interesting points, such as:

Join the Future Realities Discussion

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