Automation is being used in a number of areas such as manufacturing, transport, utilities, defense, facilities, operations and lately, information technology also. And the best way to get skilled in automation technology is by building projects.
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In layman terms, we can define automation as “the technique of making an apparatus, a process, or a system operate automatically.” We can also refer to automation as the creation and application of technology to monitor and control the production and delivery of products/ services.
It performs tasks that were previously performed by humans. Automation is being used in a number of areas such as manufacturing, transport, utilities, defense, facilities, operations and lately, information technology also.
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Automation can be performed in many ways in various industries. For example, in the information technology domain, a software script can test a product and produce a report. There are also various software tools available in the market which can generate code for an application. With this, the users only need to configure the tool and define the process. In other industries, automation greatly helps in improving productivity, saving time and cutting costs.
Automation is evolving quickly and business intelligence in applications is a new form of high-quality automation. In the technology domain, the impact of automation is increasing rapidly, both in the software/hardware and machine layer. However, despite advances in automation, some manual intervention is always advised, even if the tool can perform most of the tasks.
Citing the importance of automation in making industry 4.0, in this article, we will explore about the various ways of implementing automation, applications of it in industries and also we will see about how to make your very own automation project.
First, let’s look at some of the innovative projects that you can build with automation technology,
1. Home automation system using IoT: In this project, you will learn to build an electronic device which can be used to control all the home appliances using Bluetooth technology. The project you develop can be used to switch ON/OFF the devices by giving commands using an Android App installed on a mobile phone. You will be able to store and analyze the data about the usage of home appliances through a cloud platform.
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2. Smart Building using IoT: The project you develop can sense the number of occupants in the meeting room with the help of PIR sensors and automatically switch the lights ON/ OFF based on occupancy. You will be able to analyze the usage of the meeting room, number of persons at various times of the day, the time for which lights are on and the power consumed.
3. Home automation system: In this project, you will develop a Home Automation System using Bluetooth technology. The system you develop allows you to remotely control home appliances with your Bluetooth-enabled smartphone and a special Android application. The system is fitted with a Bluetooth module, microcontroller, and relay switches to automatically control the appliances.
4. Surveillance Robot: In this project, you would learn to build a surveillance robot with the help of Raspberry Pi as a microcontroller and it can transmit live video footage over the internet. You would also program the robot to get instructions from a user at a remote location. And this robot can further be automated by making it do functions like search & rescue, bomb detection & diffusion, etc.
5. Computer Vision-Based Text Scanner: In this project, you would learn to develop a computer vision based text scanner that can scan any text from an image using the optical character recognition algorithm and display the text on your screen. Computer vision is one of the important technology that is used in automation projects, doing this project will help you greatly in understanding it.
6. Computer vision based mouse: In this project, you will learn to develop a computer vision based mouse to control the cursor using the object tracking algorithm. Using this project, you can carry out all the functionalities of a mouse by just showing corresponding colors in the webcam. This can be used in automation technologies for virtual inspection purposes.
7. Computer vision based smart selfie: In this project, you will learn to develop a computer vision based smart selfie application that can take snaps automatically when you smile using facial feature recognition algorithm and store it on your device. The facial feature algorithm that is used here, can be modified to make various functionalities for an automation service.
8. Automatic Railway Gate Controller: This project automatically controls the operation of railway gates by detecting the arrival and departure of trains at the gate. Detectors are placed at a faraway distance on a railway track to detect the arrival and departure of a train. Detectors are connected to a microcontroller, which activates the motor to perform the mechanical action of opening and closing the railway gate. This project is programmed in such a way that it is advantageous in calculating the velocity of the train. If the speed of the train exceeds its limit, then the passengers are alerted by activating a buzzer as an indication that the train is moving at over speed.
9. Automatic parking slot indicator: This project is intended to save the ground space required for parking. By using this system, a huge number of cars can be parked according to the requirement, on floors that are one above the other. In this car parking system, there is an IR transmitter and receiver for the parking slot. IR receivers are connected to the microcontroller. Whenever a car is parked in the parking slot, the IR rays are obstructed, and the microcontroller comes to know which slot is empty and which slot is occupied, and then displays the result on the LCD. Furthermore, Light emitting diodes are used as an indication for showing the empty slots. LEDs are placed at the entrance of the parking slot to minimize human interference for monitoring car parking.
10. PCB manufacturing: In this project, you will learn and understand the process of making Printed Circuit Boards (PCBs) from scratch! You’ll make a PCB prototype to function as a clap circuit - the system detects clap sound to power an LED bulb. PCB technology is used in almost all the circuit manufacturing and knowledge on this domain helps you greatly in making your own automation devices.
So what are various types of automation that are being implemented on an industrial level?
Industry 4.0 refers to a new phase in the Industrial Revolution that focuses heavily on interconnectivity, automation, machine learning and real-time data. Industry 4.0 is also sometimes referred to as IIOT (Industrial Internet of Things) or smart manufacturing. It marries physical production and operations with smart digital technology, machine learning and big data to create a more holistic and better-connected ecosystem for companies that focus on manufacturing and supply chain management. While every company and organization operating today is different, they all face a common challenge - the need for connectedness and access to real-time insights across process, partners, products, and people.
Advantages of Industry 4.0
1. Machine Vision
This technology works like the eye of the automotive production process using imaging processes including conventional imaging, hyperspectral imaging, infrared imaging, line scan imaging, 3D imaging of surfaces, and X-ray imaging.
The need for safer, more reliable and robust automobiles to justify price points is pushing automakers to adopt machine inspection. And Machine Vision (MV) helps them fulfill this need by providing an automated internal machine inspection method.
A Co-bot is a robot intended to physically interact with humans in a shared workspace. This is in contrast with other robots, designed to operate autonomously or with limited guidance.3. Artificial Intelligence for Driverless/Autonomous Cars
Artificial Intelligence system is defined as, “any system that perceives its environment and takes actions that maximize its chance of success at some goal.” And this is true for the on-research driverless or autonomous or self-driving cars that are using various levels of artificial intelligence. Circling back to Elon Musk, the dreadnought’s Tesla has developed its own driverless car hardware called Autopilot that are currently being used on all Tesla models. And ironically, Musk, as per reports, wants Level 5 automation in all Tesla models.4. Cognitive Computing in IoT Connected Cars
Cognitive Computing (CC) is a technology platform that is based on artificial intelligence and signal processing. These platforms encompass and use machine learning, reasoning, human language processing, speech and object, human-computer interaction, dialog and narrative generation, among others.
Hope you got some good idea about automation projects from this article.
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