With the advancement of technology, smart devices, and artificial intelligence, keeping up with the latest and greatest can be difficult. Jim Noble, an industrial engineering professor at the University of Missouri says that we are in the midst of what he calls the Fourth Industrial Revolution, or a digital-first approach to engineering.

He says new technologies are being brought together to design and control manufacturing systems that previously were not available.

“So you have sensors that you’re collecting data, you’re bringing that together to have insights into how the system’s working and how to control it and, ultimately, how to make it more productive and efficient,” said Noble.

He is using a one-million dollar grant from the state to support the development of an Industry 4.0 lab, which gives engineering students the power to lead the future of digitization in manufacturing.

“There’s cyber-physical systems, meaning that you’ve got the cyber side, the information and the physical side, and then the automation and robotics and computer numerical control and even the rapid prototyping kinds of 3D printing,” Noble said.

One question he gets is how artificial intelligence fits into all of this.

“Ultimately the artificial intelligence algorithms that you’re using are taking the data that’s coming in, fusing that and helping you to come up with how you’re going to respond whether it’s a routing or sortation or whatever the decision has to be made,” he said.

The lab is scheduled to open in fall 2024.

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