hero-sergio

Hacking a solution to human error

April 29, 2021
A hacking competition hosted by ADLINK unearths a smart solution for the industrial space.

ADLINK and Intel recently joined forces for a  2020 Hackathon, in search of the next innovation in machine-vision technology. Kicking off in December, contestants used ADLINK’s Vizi AI devkit to build a prototype to solve an industrial challenge in one of the four categories: energy, distribution, worker safety and logistics. 1,432 registrations angled for the $10,000 grand prize, as well as ADLINK’s assistance in actually taking the product to market

Winner Sergio Velmay created the Machine Vision Poka-yoke (MVPy), a 3D model that is used to simulate an assembly kit for a work cell in an industrial-manufacturing environment. As a solution to identify human error during the production process, the MVPy assists in the preparation of parts, scanning for correct items and set up, alerting the operator of mistakes. 

Very cool stuff.

Here we chat with Sergio and Paul Wealls, senior product manager at ADLINK, who oversaw the 2020 Hackathon. Take a look…

Smart Industry: What made Sergio the winner of the Hackathon?

Paul: To make the judging fair we set up a panel of six judges split across ADLINK and our sponsor partner Intel. The judges had a fair scoring system broken down to cover not only the technical capabilities and the use of ADLINK Edge Platform, but also the value to the market. 

It is fair to say that all teams that submitted in the final phase have fantastic real-life uses cases—from building virtual environments using a gaming engine to demonstrate and validate using computer vision, to worker-safety systems. 

Sergio’s prototype really stood out for all the judges; it goes above our expectations; he not only built the AI models and was able to configure the flow of data at the edge using the ADLINK Vizi-AI device we provided, but Sergio also 3D-printed the pieces to demonstrate how his prototype/solutions works. It is really is fantastic.

Sergio: I think my proposal stood out in the final process by taking advantage of ADLINK's Vizi-AI kit device and Intel's OpenVINO toolkit with a large number of customized deep-learning models. This was possible since I designed and 3D-printed a prototype to work on during the hackathon to be able to create my own datasets and validate all the models with it.

Smart Industry: How can this 3D model be used in the real-world, industrial space?

Sergio: The 3D model is an easily transportable prototype that allows us to do live demonstrations for potential clients. What can be exported to any industrial assembly process are all the Poka-yoke methods for detecting any anomaly just when they occur and, thus, avoiding mistakes that can lead to defective products.

Paul: For me what stands out is the complete bundle that is easily transportable to demonstrate the value and capabilities of using computer vision, edge computing and AI to solve industrial problems, in this case manufacturing and worker safety. Sergio has 3D-printed all the parts and then used the ADLINK Vizi-AI single-board devkit for the computing. Imagine being able to visit a customer and have them do the demonstrations themselves—it will really resonate the value with them. This example was developed from a real-life experience of Sergio’s for a manufacturing customer, that can see how developing a process and evolving the AI models can then be transferred to other processes. This is what I dreamed we would be able to deliver from the hack, demonstrating how using vision as sensor becomes extremely scalable and adaptable to numerous situations and environments.

Smart Industry: What's the benefit in hosting an event like this? Why do people compete? 

Sergio: There are many reasons to compete in contests and hackathons: the hardware samples and the final prizes of course, but also the access to innovative and disruptive technologies, the ability to learn directly from mentors and specialists, the opportunity to become part of a community, etc.

Paul: I have been part of several hacks before, but usually 48-hour in-person events hosted in a big hall. Moving to a virtual event was an interesting transition, it enabled us to go global, it enabled us to create content frequently and, in real time, support and educate around the new technology and tactics available.

Virtual hacks and hacks in general have been devalued recently by some corporate tactics wanting to retain the IP of whatever is created. That was far from our ambition. ADLINK is very focused on partner-enablement and succeeding together, that was one clear message we promoted that the technology remained with the teams. 

Intel’s Raymond Lo and the larger Intel team did great training of the OpenVINO tools and support, as well as attending shows with ADLINK senior leaders sharing industry insights to help create ideas for the hack. Niels Kortstee, ADLINK, and I hosted a few livestream shows demonstrating the ADLINK Edge platform and ease of use to build great prototypes like Sergio’s, but also how easy it is to then scale to industrial settings by using the same ADLINK Edge profile, and copying it to an industrial, encased device.

I think people compete to be part of something, we had a number of teams meet online using the Hackerearth platform to host the hack. It was fantastic to see people connect virtually and build great things together. The prizes certainly help, Intel kindly offered 100 neural sticks as a special competition, some teams received a Vizi-Ai device to build the prototype with. And Sergio has won $10,000 and the go-to-market support from Intel and ADLINK with his solution.

The other finalists received access to the Intel Innovation Program to support them further. 

But most importantly, I think, is that we have an epic community of makers, really smart developers and data scientists that can develop solutions quicker and easier than before with the great tools like Intel’s OpenVINO, ADLINK Edge Platform and NodeRED.

Smart Industry: Describe your professional plans, Sergio 

Sergio: I have a background in architecture and 3D design, which made me participate in many international contests and competitions. Some time ago I also created my own small business to offer services and manage activities related to new technologies such as virtual reality, 3D printing and drones. Currently, I work as a software developer in innovation projects within the artificial-intelligence area, learning daily about computer vision, machine learning and  chatbots.

I'd like to thank the amazing teams that ADLINK and Intel put to work on the hack with Paul Wealls and Raymond Lo at the helm, and especially the technical-support team who helped us through the final phase.
I would also like to thank my colleagues at Bravent and Idiwork and encourage them to continue investing in innovation.

Paul: I would like to thank everyone that has been involved in the Hack, especially Intel, Hackerearth, the 1,432 entrants and all the viewers of the shows. We are really excited to be supporting Sergio moving forward with his go to market, we are confident it will be a great success.

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