The Amazon Echo – Steps Toward an Automated Home Environment

The Amazon Echo pic
The Amazon Echo
Image: amazon.com

Jacob Newberger is a respected Pennsylvania mechanical engineer with extensive experience in automatic control systems and robotics. Jacob Newberger has a longstanding interest in home automation systems, which hold the promise of transforming how people interact with their residential environments.

Released to the general public in mid-2015, the Amazon Echo pairs advanced home automation capacities with voice recognition, personal assistants, and the Internet of Things (IoT). With Siri focused on mobile devices, the Echo is a stationary cylindrical device that takes many of the same features to an office or home environment.

The Echo is accessed through apps, either on a Chrome computer browser or a smartphone. It capably plays music and audio books, and provides information services such as traffic reports. Designed around “Alexa,” Echo is virtually hands-free, as it answers queries and responds to voice commands.

Echo has an added benefit of seamless IoT integration and supports a variety of electric devices, lights, and switches around the house. Among the compatible systems are Samsung SmartThings, Philips Hue, and WeMo, which makes it possible to build a truly automated home environment.

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Jacob Newberger (Jake Newberger): management issues

By Jake Newberger (Jacob Newberger)  Jacob Newberger – A mechanical engineer with specialties in robotics and automatic control systems,

The argument that the common notion that workers are generally apathetic about management issues is false or at least outdated is flawed. In this essay, I will discuss the reasoning behind this argument that was presented in the editorial section of a corporate newsletter. One underlying assumption of the argument is that the survey was anonymous.

This assumption is not valid since it is plausible that, for example, the workers were afraid that their answers could affect their status in the corporate. The argument would be made stronger if the survey was taken anonymously.

Another invalid assumption is that the questions were phrased fairly. The flaw here is that the author ignores the possibility that the reviewers of the survey intentionally asked unfair questions. One way of improving the argument is to mention that neutral company prepared the survey.

 

The flaws detailed above suggest that the conclusion presented in the editorial section of a corporate newsletter may not be logically drawn. Therefore it is evident that the line of reasoning is neither sound nor convincing.

Jake Newberger, Jacob Newberger

Jake Newberger : Process Analytical Technology: The Future of Pharmaceutical Manufacturing is Now

By Jake Newberger (Jacob Newberger)

Jacob Newberger – A mechanical engineer with specialties in robotics and automatic control systems,

Process Analytical Technology (PAT) is quickly becoming an integral component in the pharmaceutical and chemical manufacturing industries.  Utilizing a low latency network of powerful chemometric instruments, multivariate data analysis software, process control tools, and a central SQL database, PAT provides pharmaceutical and biopharmaceutical companies an edge over their competitors.

PAT and its benefits are incredible and groundbreaking. Done are they days of a rigid manufacturing line and discarded low-quality batches due to the unforeseen consequences of factory automation “improvements”. Instead, PAT is a flexible system capable of keeping pace with the rapid advances in drug development and manufacture. At the core of any PAT system are a set of Critical Process Parameters (CPPs) that are defined based on the manufacturing equipment itself, and those CPPs will function as the independent variables along the production line. By monitoring physical and chemical properties, the manufacturer can also define a set of variable CPP-dependent variables known as Critical Quality Attributes (CQAs) at various stages of the process, allowing the manufacturer to better understand and control the entire process. These CPPs and CQAs are then used in conjunction with a PAT platform to create both unit-level and high-level process line models capable of predicting the precise quality of the end product. After the predictions are made, adjustments can be made and be fed back into integrated control systems such as Siemens SIMATIC PCS7, fine tuning the manufacturing process to further improve product quality and ensure product consistency.

PAT platforms have been developed by automation industry leaders such as Siemens, and current PAT solutions are supported by a vast number of major analyzer manufacturers such as Mettler Toledo, Thermo Scientific, Kaiser Optical Systems, and the Bruker corporation. The Siemens implementation (SIPAT) is configured to work with these manufacturers by default, however SIPAT will integrate with nearly any analyzer, including those capable of NIR spectroscopy, NMR spectroscopy, or FBRM.

Non-destructive on-line or at-line testing of the product allows the manufacturer to achieve Real Time Release Testing (RTRT) that has been specifically cited by the FDA to increase economic benefit and manufacturing efficiency by lowering laboratory costs and reducing inventory. An FDA white paper from 2004 delves deeper into the benefits of, and can be found at http://www.fda.gov/downloads/Drugs/Guidances/ucm070305.pdf

As modern medicine continues to advance at breakneck speed, the technology used to scale up and manufacture those advances will have to keep pace. PAT is not just evolutionary, but truly revolutionary, analogous to the advent of batch processing twenty years ago, which has now become the industry standard.

A graduate of Penn State’s top-ranked mechanical engineering program, Jake Newberger  (Jacob Newberger)  is an Automation Engineer at Panacea Technologies, Inc., located outside of Philadephia.

Jake Newberger: Robotic Trends for 2013

With advances in technology occurring every month, keeping up with robotic trends for 2013 might be a daunting task. Robotic prosthetics, robot-assisted care giving, and industrial robots continue to be burgeoning fields in 2013, according to Illah Nourbakhsh, who is a professor of robotics at Carnegie Mellon University.

Robotic prosthetics have the ability to do more than simply assist with walking; they can also be used to help the patient build stronger muscles. In terms of robot-assisted care giving, there are already places in Asia where couples leave their children at home while they go out to dinner, and if there is a problem, the robot alerts the parents. However, Nourbakhsh warns that it may still be too risky to leave children in the care of a robot. In addition, industrial robots may help with productivity, but they also cause unemployment because the robots often do the work cheaper and faster than humans could.

As an automation validation engineer for Panacea Technologies, Inc., Jake Newberger troubleshoots distributed control systems. Prior to working with the Pennsylvania-based company, he interned for Prototype Productions based in Virginia where he helped to design surgical simulators. Jacob Newberger graduated in 2011 from Penn State University, where he majored in mechanical engineering.

New Domestic Robots from National Cheng Kung University, By Jake Newberger

Taiwan’s National Cheng Kung University recently unveiled two human-sized robots, named David and May. David has the ability to walk on two legs and make athletic movements. David was shown to be adept at basketball, weightlifting, sprinting, and penalty-kicking at the Federation of International Robot-Soccer Association’s RoboWorld Cup. May was designed to assist with household chores and asks humans if they want a soda. The robot is able to differentiate between different kinds of soda and deliver the appropriate drink.

Both robots are equipped with the ability to learn how to recognize objects, surroundings, and human faces. Scientists expect that it will still take several years for robots to be advanced enough to actually enter homes and perform general service functions. Scientists also recognize that teaching robots to speak a language will be a major challenge for the robotics field.

About the Author:

Jake Newberger graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering from Pennsylvania State University. While at the university, he participated in the Penn State Robotics Club, which triggered his interest in domestic robots.

Leadership Characteristics, by Jake Newberger

East Coast resident Jake Newberger studied mechanical engineering at Pennsylvania State University. Before entering college, he served as President of his high school class and went on to lead his college fraternity, as well.

For many years, people have debated whether leaders are born or made. Those seeking to become leaders may read books and take classes on leadership, indicating motivated individuals may learn the necessary skills.

Others often feel inclined to follow leaders when they set a positive example through their actions, such as listening effectively and delegating managerial tasks to fellow employees or peers. In some cases, leaders can benefit by asking for feedback from those they seek to lead. Followers can provide insight that may not be readily apparent to the leader.

Effective leaders also communicate in a positive fashion. This means delivering negative news in a way that leaves the recipients feeling good. While positive communication can prove challenging at times, leaders who follow this approach will generally enjoy greater support from their teams.