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AR surface checks of planes aims to cut rate of disasters

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International aviation industry statistics show that some 70-80% of aircraft accidents occur due to human lapses or mistakes. While a significant portion of such cases involve mistakes committed by either pilots or flight crew, a marked amount of lapses happen during checking and maintenance of aircraft.

Hungarian company AerinX aims to solve this problem with an AR-based system which assists with external surface checks and the conduct of related maintenance of aircraft. The system is expected to make the process simpler, faster and more precise.

Most damage detection, registration, and documentation still occur manually, with maintenance engineers measuring damage with a ruler, marking the spot with a marker pen, before having to sift through long, PDF or paper-based documentation when determining the seriousness of the damage.

“The aircraft industry, commercial and military aviation are highly technology-intensive branches of the industry, so it can be shocking, even for laymen, how backward in some aspects the segmentʼs digitalization is,” says Antal Bence Kiss, AerinXʼs CEO. “This is also true for the surface inspection and maintenance of aircraft. Our smart inspection system combines AR technology with modern picture processing, giving a decision-supporting tool in the hands of professionals.”

The system allows engineers conducting maintenance to determine the size and exact location of damage. AerinX is able to project all relevant technical information about a given aircraft type in 3D on the surface of the plane, including plate thickness at the given point and damage history, which will allow inspections to be considerably faster and more accurate, decreasing the chance of human mistakes, and resulting in fewer accidents.

Reducing flight delays

The system might also come in handy during so-called “aircraft on ground” (AOG) situations, when planes have to be immediately inspected due to damage or other incident. Currently, an average external inspection may take up to 90 minutes, or even two hours with the current methods. AerinX claims to be able to reduce this time to 20 minutes, which may result in several tens of thousands of dollars in saved costs, while also resulting in reduced delays.

The AerinX system is currently in its prototype phase, with the firm getting venture capital investment support for further development and market introduction in both civil and defence aviation segments.

Furthermore, AerinX has recently signed a strategic agreement with Aeroplex of Central Europe Ltd., which is one of the leading MRO (Maintenance, Repair & Overhaul) companies in Central and Eastern Europe. The two companies will work closely together to refine and further develop the system to enable it for application during base (heavy) and line maintenance processes.

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Millennials turning 40: NOW will you stop targeting them?

It’s one of the most overused terms in youth marketing, and probably the most inaccurate, writes ARTHUR GOLDSTUCK

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One of the most irritating buzzwords embraced by marketers in recent years is the term “millennial”. Most are clueless about its true meaning, and use it as a supposedly cool synonym for “young adults”. The flaw in this targeting – and the word “flaw” here is like calling the Grand Canyon a trench – is that it utterly ignores the meaning of the term. “Millennials” are formally defined as anyone born from 1980 to 2000, meaning they have typically come of age after the dawn of the millennium, or during the 21st century.

Think about that for a moment. Next year, the millennial will be formally defined as anyone aged from 20 to 40. So here you have an entire advertising, marketing and public relations industry hanging onto a cool definition, while in effect arguing that 40-year-olds are youths who want the same thing as newly-minted university graduates or job entrants.

When the communications industry discovers just how embarrassing its glib use of the term really is, it will no doubt pivot – millennial-speak for “changing your business model when it proves to be a disaster, but you still appear to be cool” – to the next big thing in generational theory.

That next big thing is currently Generation Z, or people born after the turn of the century. It’s very convenient to lump them all together and claim they have a different set of values and expectations to those who went before. Allegedly, they are engaged in a quest for experience, compared to millennials – the 19-year-olds and 39-olds alike – supposedly all on a quest for relevance.

In reality, all are part of Generation #, latching onto the latest hashtag trend that sweeps social media, desperate to go viral if they are producers of social content, desperate to have caught onto the trend before their peers.

The irony is that marketers’ quest for cutting edge target markets is, in reality, a hangover from the days when there was no such thing as generational theory, and marketing was all about clearly defined target markets. In the era of big data and mass personalization, that idea seems rather quaint.

Indeed, according to Grant Lapping, managing director of DataCore Media, it no longer matters who brands think their target market is.

“The reason for this is simple: with the technology and data digital marketers have access to today, we no longer need to limit our potential target audience to a set of personas or segments derived through customer research. While this type of customer segmentation was – and remains – important for engagements across traditional above-the-line engagements in mass media, digital marketing gives us the tools we need to target customers on a far more granular and personalised level.

“Where customer research gives us an indication of who the audience is, data can tell us exactly what they want and how they may behave.”

Netflix, he points out, is an example of a company that is changing its industry by avoiding audience segmentation, once the holy grail of entertainment.

In other words, it understands that 20-year-olds and 40-year-olds are very different – but so is everyone in between.

* Arthur Goldstuck is founder of World Wide Worx and editor-in-chief of Gadget.co.za. Follow him on Twitter and Instagram on @art2gee

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Robots coming to IFA

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Robotics is no longer about mechanical humanoids, but rather becoming an interface between man and machine. That is a key message being delivered at next month’s IFA consumer electronics expo in Berlin. An entire hall will be devoted to IFA Next, which will not only offer a look into the future, but also show what form it will take.

The concepts are as varied as the exhibitors themselves. However, there are similarities in the various products, some more human than others, in the fascinating ways in which they establish a link between fun, learning and programming. In many cases, they are aimed at children and young people.

The following will be among the exhibitors making Hall 26 a must-visit:

Leju Robotics (Stand 115) from China is featuring what we all imagine a robot to be. The bipedal Aelos 1s can walk, dance and play football. And in carrying out all these actions it responds to spoken commands. But it also challenges young researchers to apply their creativity in programming it and teaching it new actions. And conversely, it also imparts scholastic knowledge.

Cubroid (Stand 231, KIRIA) from Korea starts off by promoting an independent approach to the way it deals with tasks. Multi-functional cubes, glowing as they play music, or equipped with a tiny rotating motor, join together like Lego pieces. Configuration and programming are thus combined, providing a basic idea of what constitutes artificial intelligence.

Spain is represented by Ebotics (Stand 218). This company is presenting an entire portfolio of building components, including the “Mint” educational program. The modular system explains about modern construction, programming and the entire field of robotics.

Elematec Corporation (Stand 208) from Japan is presenting the two-armed SCARA, which is not intended to deal with any tasks, but in particular to assist people with their work.

Everybot (Stand 231, KIRIA) from Japan approaches the concept of robotics by introducing an autonomous floor-cleaning machine, similar to a robot vacuum cleaner.

And Segway (Stand 222) is using a number of products to explain the modern approach to battery-powered locomotion.

IFA will take place at the Berlin Exhibition Grounds (ExpoCenter City) from 6 to 11 September 2019. For more information, visit www.ifa-berlin.com

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