AMT Tech Trends: Quarantine
Updated: Apr 14
Release date: 27 March 2020
Ben and Steve discuss the difficulties of working from home. Stephen laments about the testbed being shut down until they are back in the office, but talks about his experiments with his new single board computer. Ben highlights an article about vision systems. Steve waxes poetic about micro additive advancements. Ben talks about developments in… manual machining? Steve announces his observations following additive and COVID-19. Ben likes to fold at home, but not just his laundry. Stephen drools over the perfect car for quarantined roads.
Benjamin Moses: Hello, everybody, and welcome to the Tech Trends podcast where we discuss the latest manufacturing technology, research, and news. I am Benjamin Moses, the director of manufacturing technology, and I'm here with...
Stephen LaMarca: Stephen LaMarca, technology analyst.
Benjamin Moses: What's going on, Steve? How's Coronavirus 19 treating you?
Stephen LaMarca: Fortunately hasn't affected me yet, and nobody I know, thankfully.
Benjamin Moses: That's good. Things have changed very quickly from the last time we recorded in studio.
Stephen LaMarca: Yeah. Yeah. For one, I'm on my couch at home, and I've got to say, man, working from home is tough. We work with a lot of people back at the office who are good at working from home, and I feel like since we've been doing this for almost two weeks now, that I've gotten a lot better at it. However, I've got a bad taste in my mouth. I do not like working from home. This sucks.
Benjamin Moses: Yeah. When you're forced into it, it's completely different. I mean, you've never preferred to, and I've done it a bunch of times. But in the current situation, so I've got a five-year old at home with me too, that they shut down all our schools in the county. I can't take her to daycare because she's a potential carrier because Depo works at the hospital. So Amelia and myself are just sitting at home just staring at each other for 18 hours a day.
Stephen LaMarca: I can actually picture that and it is hilarious.
Benjamin Moses: The struggle is real, man. And plus, so they shut down the schools physically. So they're trying to do distance learning or remote learning, which is great conceptually. But they're late and rolling everything out and they rolled out kind of hack jobs. Okay. They said, "Here's something you guys can do in the short term." There's a couple of websites they sent us. Fine. The activities that they rolled out were like a PowerPoint presentation. What's a five-year old going to do with a PowerPoint presentation? I almost lost my computer across the room.
Stephen LaMarca: I can only imagine, man.
Benjamin Moses: Oh, man.
Stephen LaMarca: Russ, our colleague, Russ, him and I, we had a Zoom meeting late last week, and we both took the time out of our meeting block, because we were so productive during it. We took the time to vent about how much we both hate working from home. It's funny, I actually found that interesting because I figured that he would be somebody who's really good at working from home-
Benjamin Moses: No, he doesn't-
Stephen LaMarca: ... and prefers it, but he's not. He's a closet extrovert, and he hates working from home. I don't hate working from home because I'm an extrovert. I'm definitely a closet introvert. I hide the fact that I'm really introverted. I love being at home and I love avoiding people. But my problem is when five o'clock comes around, I don't get to walk out of the building, turn the key in my car, sit in traffic, and then all of a sudden I'm back in heaven.
Benjamin Moses: You have no closure.
Stephen LaMarca: I'm back at home. I'm home now and I'm doing work at home when I shouldn't be working at home. And, I mean, I'm supposed to be working, but I shouldn't be working at home. And at the end of the day, it's like I leave and I'm still here.
Benjamin Moses: I like the [crosstalk 00:03:31]-
Stephen LaMarca: Russ put it beautifully. And let me summarize real quick. I'm sorry for cutting you off.
Benjamin Moses: It's all right.
Stephen LaMarca: He put it this way. Working from home does not make work better. It makes home suck. It's 100% true.
Benjamin Moses: That's true.
Stephen LaMarca: I totally feel it, all of the feels.
Benjamin Moses: Yeah. The current joke that I've liked recently is, so when five o'clock rolls around, you take off your morning pajamas to put your afternoon pajamas on.
Stephen LaMarca: Yeah.
Benjamin Moses: And my daughter's here now trying to click on the podcast. So why don't you walk us through the test bed now that we're locked out of the facility.
Stephen LaMarca: Way to transfer it, your transition. We are totally locked out of the facility. I mean, we can get in there if we absolutely need to get something. But Tim and Doug, our president and our vice president, Tim-
Benjamin Moses: And CTO. Don't forget the CTO part.
Stephen LaMarca: Oh yeah. That's right. CTO, Chief Technology Officer now. Tim essentially told me there will be no test bed operations during this. Like come to the office to grab something that you need, but no working in the office whatsoever. So with knowing that and with hearing that, it's been officially the test bed is on hold. All projects are on hold, all weekly updates are on hold. I meant to publish an update last Friday saying that, "Hey, if you're checking here for our projects, just to let you know, walked out of the office, everybody's working from home and I don't have the test bed at home, so there will be no updates here.
Stephen LaMarca: All of that being said, I kind of have been doing some experiments. Right before we were ordered to work from home, [inaudible 00:05:26] tells Russ and I, "Hey, of the three Raspberry Pis we have on the test bed being used as MTConnect, not adapters, agents, the oldest of the three has finally died. It's kaput. It's fried. It was an older Raspberry Pi. And we do run these things 24/7, like they don't get to stop. They're at 70% processing capacity at all times just streaming data.
Stephen LaMarca: But the oldest one finally died. So I was like, "Okay, I need something to do because I hate..." This was like after one day of working at home, I was like, "I need to get out of the house." So I ran down to Micro Center, because I didn't feel like ordering it online and I wanted to leave the house. Micro Center actually has a really good supply of like makers' equipment and maker electronics. They didn't only have all of the Raspberry Pis, but they also had a lot of Eagle Bones and whatever the NVIDIA ones. I think it's the NVIDIA shield-
Benjamin Moses: Oh, they have a-
Stephen LaMarca: They've got a lot of cool stuff that I was actually kind of drooling over, but our stack, our setup at the office for the test bed is Raspberry Pis, so I wanted to keep it pretty consistent. I did notice, however, there is a newer, better Raspberry Pi, the 4B.
Benjamin Moses: Cool.
Stephen LaMarca: And it's available in one, two and four gigabyte RAM setups. So I'm like, "You know what? I'm expensing this, so why don't I just hook up the test bed with the latest and greatest Pi? Let's get a 4B with four gigs of RAM.
Benjamin Moses: And it's a matter of a couple of bucks difference. Let's be honest.
Stephen LaMarca: It's couple of bucks. The cheapest Raspberry Pi... Because that organization, and these computers are made in England, by the way. They're not getting something made out of China. That's another reason I want to stick with Raspberry Pis, because they are made in UK, which is awesome. Anyway, grab the 4B, four gig RAM, take it to the office. I start to unbox it, and then I look at the board and I'm like, "It's the same size, it's the same shape, but there are different ports here and the ports are in different locations." I screwed up because I'm trying to keep things...
Stephen LaMarca: The only reason to stick with the Pi at this point is my initial logic was to stay with the same form factor and to keep it consistent. And the new Pi is ever so slightly different. So I'm like, "Ugh, all right. Well, hey, guess what? Back to Micro Center." Drive back to Micro Center. But on the drive there, I'm thinking to myself, "You know what? I've always wanted one of these Pis for myself." And this is the latest and greatest one that's open box now. So they can't resell it, because it's a sealed box. They come in sealed boxes too. I can get the money back, but this is going to go in the waste bin.
Stephen LaMarca: I've always a Pi myself. I'm like, "Okay, I'm going to bring this one home. This is going to be my new personal computer. I'm going to have a desktop replacement that is probably the weakest desktop replacement you can buy." But it'll be fun. It'll be fun and I'll learn something through it, because it was fun using... The first time, Russ gave me a... Not gave me, but one of the first pieces, second piece of test bed equipment actually, was the second Raspberry Pi where I programmed another MTConnect simulator on it. Have some experience with it and I wanted a little bit more of a taste to it on a... And there's some vintage video games that I kind of want to play, like a Star Wars Dark Forces, which is an old essentially Doom WAD.
Benjamin Moses: That's going way back.
Stephen LaMarca: It's going way back. I want to play that again. Anyway, all that to say this, that went back to Micro Center, got the right Pi, brought it back to the office, just threw it down on the test bed. Still in box, still sealed. I'm not fiddling with it. [inaudible 00:09:40] can do that when we're back in the office after all of this clears up. I'm taking this new Pi home and playing with it.
Benjamin Moses: That's awesome.
Stephen LaMarca: So I've been running some experiments, just learning to code stuff like that. What's some of the experiments I did?
Benjamin Moses: Got some streaming going on?
Stephen LaMarca: Yeah. I've been testing it. This is, in a light case scenario, a desktop computer replacement. And I'm like, "What do I use a desktop computer most for? Surfing the web and watching FourK video on YouTube. So I try that. Actually for Raspberry Pi, a single board computer the size of a credit card, it actually... In all honesty, it's really more like the size of a wallet.
Benjamin Moses: Not a Costanza wallet, a normal wallet.
Stephen LaMarca: Yeah. A normal wallet, and it actually does it really well. But I did notice, about five hours into doing what I normally do on free time, which is just YouTube videos while simultaneously surfing the web, a little temperature icon, a little thermometer icon pops up in the corner when it gets above 80 degrees sustained, which means to keep it from overheating and melting apart, it throttles the CPU, which means you no longer get as much computing power.
Benjamin Moses: That's good.
Stephen LaMarca: So I looked into that and I programmed my first Bash script, which with the help of Google, I did a lot of this. But I did write my first code that is essentially all mine and I feel really proud of it, but it's just a Bash script that allows me to monitor the CPU and the GPU temperatures of the Pi.
Benjamin Moses: That's good. And I'm surprised the throttling temperature's that low because I've been running a folding at home experiment and we'll get into that later. I peak around 89, close to 90 degrees on a standard CPU, Celsius.
Stephen LaMarca: And to clarify for our science savvy listeners, degrees Celsius.
Benjamin Moses: Yeah, yeah, not Fahrenheit.
Stephen LaMarca: I give Pat such a hard time for not throwing it when he's talking and throwing out numbers. Throwing up numbers, better said. He doesn't like to use units. And here we go, not using units. We say degrees, but degrees Celsius.
Benjamin Moses: Degrees Celsius, yeah.
Stephen LaMarca: But yeah, I programmed this way to monitor temperature, even though after doing some more Google digging, found out that you can right click on the toolbar and there's already a program for that, that helps you out.
Benjamin Moses: That's fine.
Stephen LaMarca: But whatever, you can't replace learning to write a little bit of code.
Benjamin Moses: Yeah. Yeah. That's solid. That's a good experiment.
Stephen LaMarca: Another thing that I've done lately is try to like taper off that temperature peaking, I installed some heat sinks. They work all right, but I need bigger heat sinks. And instead of using thermal pads, some off-brand thermal pad probably from China, they're not even like 3M thermal pads. They're a no name. 3M would be an upgrade, but even more of an upgrade from that, I think next I'm going to rip the heat sinks off, clean them up with some 91% of ice propyl alcohol, and then get some proper thermal grizzly, thermal paste, thermal grease, and then reattach the heat sinks and see if that helps a little bit more.
Benjamin Moses: Okay. Those are passive heat sinks, right? No fan or anything?
Stephen LaMarca: Yeah, I don't want a fan because I want a quiet computer.
Benjamin Moses: Okay, that's really good.
Stephen LaMarca: But that's everything that's going on with the test bed right now.
Benjamin Moses: Let's jump into some articles. I've got a pass along an article from Laurie from Autology, and they're talking about computer vision systems. So the case that they presented that'll be in the show notes is, so if I've a global factory and I've got a factory that's, say, in China or a place where I can't travel to, how do I know what's going on? So obviously, you could put a webcams, you could put up some integrated surveillance equipment. That's one solution.
Benjamin Moses: What they talk about is remote monitoring with some artificial intelligence or machine learning built into it. The scenarios that they talk about are being able to remotely view something, but being able to convert that into a dashboard for data analytics. I scrolled through the website. They walk through a couple of different scenarios, putting a camera on something, so putting a camera facing on a gauge. So if I have an older piece of equipment and I wanted to collect that data, one thing I could do is connect sensors and pull the data. Or if I already have a digital readout, I could put a camera on it and then it could-
Stephen LaMarca: [inaudible 00:14:34].
Benjamin Moses: Then it could tell me what that data is. And then it'll convert that into, let's say, a run chart of what those discrete readings are over time. And that's the interesting technology that they bring about, is they have a use case that talk about when they're trying to monitor a setup or a changeover in setup. That's done quite often in terms of a setup reduction. So if you look at process optimization, you want to reduce your setup time to get to running the parts as quickly as possible. So there's a lot of lean and Kaizen projects where they look at, okay, what is my bottleneck in setting up a part?
Benjamin Moses: What they do is they walk us through the use case of, if I have a camera, I could tell you what is the bulb doing, what are my lights on the machine doing, what is my operator actually doing? By the machine or is it not by the machine? And then it tracks all that information and then it can create a run time into collecting the information, then processing into a side, like a spreadsheet or a dashboard. So you cannot have someone staring there at the operator collecting the information with a clipboard. You get that all post-process.
Benjamin Moses: So I thought that was really interesting technology that they have, that inferring data from object recognition through machine learning and computer vision, and to get a useful data that you could splice and figure out what to do later on, as opposed to having human digest it and then create reports.
Stephen LaMarca: Yeah. Looking back at what I saw at CES in January, three months later, one of the things that still eerily somewhat sticks in my mind from the things that I saw was computer vision. And it's crazy how much data, how much information a computer vision can pull from a video feed. So like you're talking about a camera looking at a dial. No joke. At CES, there was this TV, television monitor, with a camera on top of it. And it was just pointing out into the crowd of people, like a hall of people walking by.
Stephen LaMarca: But as people walk by, it put a box around the person. And if you stood in front of it and you looked a little bit closer about some of the other data that it was overlaying the image of people walking by, like if you stood in front of the camera, it told you how tall you were.
Benjamin Moses: That's cool.
Stephen LaMarca: What your waist size is.
Benjamin Moses: Oh, wow.
Stephen LaMarca: What your chest size is. Yeah. Like the temperature of your forehead. It pulled so much data just from that video feed. It was really creepy, but also really cool. A lot of these things are like dual use goods seemingly, like immediately your brain goes to how it can be used for evil. But it can be used for so many great things too.
Benjamin Moses: I've seen a couple of use-
Stephen LaMarca: But that's wild.
Benjamin Moses: A couple of use cases-
Stephen LaMarca: Computer vision's nuts.
Benjamin Moses: ... where they have fashion stores or stores selling clothing where they have a interactive mirror-
Stephen LaMarca: Those are awesome.
Benjamin Moses: ... using it with the same type of things. And it overlays your measurements in the different clothes. I was at Virginia Tech and they show the use case where they have a computer that... Excuse me, a camera that overlooks their entire learning factory, and it shows heat maps of where the operators are. So at the end of the day, you could say where was everybody, or you can do analysis of process optimization that way, and things like that.
Benjamin Moses: They were using single board chips also. They had a Jetson Nano, NVIDIA card, basically handling all that video feed, doing the crunching, and then spitting out report. So I thought that was super solid. Tell me about your-
Stephen LaMarca: Jetson Nano, that's a powerful single board.
Benjamin Moses: It's pretty powerful. They're underrated. Walk me through your micro-additive article.
Stephen LaMarca: Micro-additive, man. This awesome little article came up on Tech Trends about a breakthrough in micro-additive technology. Just reading through the exact process they were using, I thought it was awesome because back when we were in the old building, I remember reporting to you guys in the tech department on what Rolex was doing with micro-additive and micro-machining. So this article touches on a process that is a new breakthrough process in micro-additive manufacturing.
Stephen LaMarca: But the coolest thing about it was reading this process, it's going to have a huge influence on a process that has been in use by Rolex, the watch manufacturer for roughly the past five years. That process is LIGA, which is a German acronym for a manufacturing process that doesn't necessarily... the letters don't translate to English very well, but LIGA is lithography which is additive electroplating or galvanization of whatever your part is or whatever the work piece is, and molding.
Stephen LaMarca: This process in the article, they're talking about using micro-additive to make molds to cast parts. And Rolex has literally been doing this for roughly the past five years.
Benjamin Moses: Cool.
Stephen LaMarca: And they've been using micro-additive to create molds to cast their miniature escapement wheels, which are a key functioning part, moving part of the watch. And they even implement micro-machining as well to clean up all the surfaces. So it was really nice seeing that every now and then a purist, a snob like me scoffs at Rolex because they're not a traditional Swiss watchmaker. They are a Swiss watchmaker, but they're fully automated. Don't for a second think that they have Swiss watchmakers artisans on an assembly line, making those watches and putting them together. It's fully automated, and this is one of those automated process.
Stephen LaMarca: So it may disgust you as a watch snob like myself, but as somebody in the manufacturing industry, seeing them use full automation is actually really cool and it's awesome. And they have a spot in my heart for that alone.
Benjamin Moses: Awesome. Yeah, totally like that.
Stephen LaMarca: Just know, the other side of my heart might be mad at them.
Benjamin Moses: The conflict within your heart, Steve.
Stephen LaMarca: Yeah, man.
Benjamin Moses: So the article I've got is about the feedback on a manual machine, and this is from Hacker Dig. It's kind of based on some research that I think Stanford was doing. And the idea was to have a manual machine, but provide the user some feedback. And they're doing the feedback a couple of different ways. They cover three things that the machine does as I understand, and I'll get into what the machine is a little bit more. So they want to communicate basically from the operator to the workpiece, perceive a state back to the operator, and use a scaffolding technique, which is a kind of learning mechanism based on feedback.
Benjamin Moses: So the idea is, if I have a manual aid, which is the scenario that they walk us through, and I've got a manual dials, what they're doing is interrupting those manual dials into a digital processor that actually feeds a machine. Then there's a haptic feedback back to the controls. So it's a straightforward machine to access through a manual aid, and they have a little gooey system that you can define certain things. The gooey system allows you to define like presets. So if you want to go up to a certain point, the machine will allow you to index to a certain diameter or to a certain length and then stop right there.
Benjamin Moses: So instead of having to look at the digital readout and then index it over, get close to that and then manually stop, the machine will actually stop for you. So I thought that was really interesting that they could-
Stephen LaMarca: That is wild.
Benjamin Moses: ... do a basically interrupt and then what they're doing is on the scaffolding technique, basically teaching the operator different techniques of, if I've got a drill and I'm drilling a certain depth, I've got a feedback out to allow for chip clearance, and then feedback in. So what they do is they force that interrupt, so as the operator feeds in, it stops and then you realize you're not a certain depth, forces the operator pull back out and then go back into reset final depth.
Stephen LaMarca: That is so cool. Would you say, and I think this is a cool question, would you say that is a form of augmented reality?
Benjamin Moses: That's actually-
Stephen LaMarca: We think augmented reality is typically being something visual.
Benjamin Moses: Correct. Correct.
Stephen LaMarca: But if the machine is simulating what it feels like to hit the limit on something, and you're not really, it's just as far as you should go, but it's telling you in terms of feel, would you say that's a form of augmented reality?
Benjamin Moses: Yeah, I mean, now that put me on the spot, yeah. I mean, you're basically interrupting the manual process with the electric signal and you're getting feedback and you're changing the output of what you're putting in, somewhat. So instead of, like you mentioned, a visual interruption, right? So if I've got a camera and a lens, you're interrupting the visual presentation with the lens by putting a projection on it, right?
Stephen LaMarca: Right.
Benjamin Moses: Here, you're physically... What sense is that, that you're... Touch, the sense of touch that you're interrupting? Yeah, that's [crosstalk 00:24:15]-
Stephen LaMarca: That is so cool.
Benjamin Moses: I'll bring this up with Doug. I'll let him make the decision.
Stephen LaMarca: Yeah. Yeah. Okay. I think that reminds me of like since the automotive industry to the demise of a lot of... That upset a lot of car enthusiasts, hydraulic power steering has since gone to electric power steering. And the biggest complaint with electric power steering is there's no feel. Yeah, it works well and it's probably more reliable than hydraulic power steering, but you can't feel the road the way you used to on a hydraulic power steering on a sports car. And I can see this being implemented in cars, so to simulate the feel of a road better, and that's cool.
Benjamin Moses: That's a really good parallel that you bring up, because I did think of that, of the transition to electric steering wheels. And I think that's an underlying theme to help get to autonomous driving. So it's one technology-
Stephen LaMarca: Oh, for sure.
Benjamin Moses: But I agree with you there, that there's a lot of parallels of what they're doing, to what automotive's doing. And I think there's a lot of cross-feed technologies that can support each other. Talk to me about 3D printed valves.
Stephen LaMarca: Dude, okay. So there is a article that when that was published I think the 14th of this month. That original article is not only a really good read, but they've been updating it every day since, especially since it pertains to COVID-19, SARS-Cov2 Corona virus and the pandemic. But yeah, it's been updated every day. And it's about the valves, the respirator valves for the Coronavirus suffering patients. Anyway, a lot of patients need these emergency, breather valves, ventilator valves, so they can continue to breathe, of course. These valves are made by pharmaceutical company and mass produced. But they're sold for $11,000.
Benjamin Moses: That seems excessive.
Stephen LaMarca: I mean, it's roughly $11,000. I'm not sure that's the exact price tag, but I'm sure insurance companies also have a bit of a problem. They're like "What? It's how much? But even still, people without health insurance, you've got to eat that $11,000 respirator bill. And being that, I think these valves are being like stabbed into your trachea so you can breathe. I'm sure it's not a happy $11,000 to spend. But regardless, that seems a bit extreme and excessive. It's in the article. It started out by this Italian additive company was like, "Okay, this is absurd that these are $11,000 a pop. We're going to reverse engineer them. We're going to share the data on reverse engineering them and then we're going to start printing these valves and just distributing them to people who need them."
Stephen LaMarca: It's been really cool because a lot of additive companies around the world have started, "Okay, we're going to take this file that is being distributed now and we're going to start printing these valves," and everybody's doing it now, which is awesome. The original company that started it is running into some backlash, of course, from the company that produces these because now that company is no longer getting a sweet $11,000 per valve that is being spent. Some of these are essentially being pirated.
Stephen LaMarca: To hell with them. When this whole pandemic clears up and they take them to court eventually, there's no way that it's going to hold in court. It's a really interesting article to follow, and the moral of the story is not some pharmaceutical company, but an additive company, and additive companies around the world are the heroes of the day.
Benjamin Moses: That does bring up an interesting thing that I was thinking about this past week with my daughter being home and trying to do remote learning at five year old, is after we get through this pandemic, there's going to be a cultural shift, both in generation, whatever the current generation is. I hate giving generations a name. It doesn't make any sense to me. So whatever generation that grows up from this event, they'll learn something different. But also the industry is going to go through some dynamic changes also.
Benjamin Moses: So, for example, this guy that did reverse engineering and doing some distributed manufacturing through 3D printing, that's going to change the industry. So there'll be some short-term changes and then some generational changes in terms of how they learn and how they engage the workforce. That'll be significantly different. And we should probably talk about that in a later podcast once we get through this, of what changes we could see in the future.
Stephen LaMarca: I saw a meme the other day of an argument point that will be used by the future generation. So your daughter might, when she has a kid, and her kid wants to go out one night to a party or whatnot, and she says, "No, you can't go out tonight." It's like, "You're so mean. That's unfair." "Unfair? When I was a kid, I had to stay inside for three months straight and not go anywhere because of some virus that originated in China."
Benjamin Moses: She'll use that forever.
Stephen LaMarca: Yep. There's going to be a huge shift.
Benjamin Moses: Just like I used to walk in the snow with newspaper shoes uphill both ways.
Stephen LaMarca: Go to school, both ways.
Benjamin Moses: The last article that I have, before we get to yours, is about distributed computing. So it's kind of carryover from yours. So this group called Folding@home is a distributed computing system where the core of what they're doing is research on proteins for creating a cure for like cancer, for pretty severe illnesses. And then, since the Coronavirus spun up, they've been actively analyzing different protein modules to look at vaccines and cures.
Benjamin Moses: So if a university or if a research group has something that can be analyzed through like a supercomputer, what they've done is said, "Okay, we can't get us a supercomputer, but what we can do is break these up into small modules and let the world analyze them on their personal computers, and then we'll aggregate that information back." So it's a really, really interesting approach to solving big problems. And the article that I got from PC Gamer was comparing the throughput of the distributed Folding@home network versus what Oak Ridge National Lab does in their own supercomputer processing capability.
Benjamin Moses: It was really interesting that what the article covers is Folding@home can do 470 petaflops of data, which is two times higher than the supercomputers at the Oak Ridge National Labs.
Stephen LaMarca: That is wild.
Benjamin Moses: Just blew my mind that there's that much computing power available that... I've got a gaming computer and a... I've got two computers at home that are basically idle for most of the day, so you install this app and it just sends packets back and forth, and it analyzes things. It does everything in the background. You don't have to do anything. You just let it sit there and basically pay for the electricity bill. But it's such a big thing that the small amount of processing power that I contribute to the overall picture and it's able to aggregate these constructively, it just blew my mind. I was just so surprised by the capability of-
Stephen LaMarca: I remember when I came home with my PlayStation 3 back in the day.
Benjamin Moses: Oh yeah. The best PlayStation ever.
Stephen LaMarca: Was the best, man.
Benjamin Moses: That's a [inaudible 00:32:13].
Stephen LaMarca: I mean, the PS4 is so much better, but the way they sold the PS3, and one of the ways they sold it was with Folding@home. And I didn't even realize it at the time. Like I didn't see that as a selling point at all. It wasn't until I plugged it in, plugs into the TV and booted it up, and see this app, this program on the software, on the PS3, and was like, "What is Folding@home?" And then you start it up and it gives you this short explanation of what it is. Sony was basically like, "Dude, your PlayStation 3 is such a powerful computer that it can do these advanced calculations and computations that supercomputers can't even pull off. So your gaming console is as powerful as the most powerful supercomputers doing technical research out there, and we need your help."
Stephen LaMarca: It's like the coolest thing. And yeah, I remember doing that. Another one of my friends at the time, another kid in the neighborhood, had just built his like... He went on to get a PhD in physics. He's way smarter than I am, but he built a gaming PC around the same time that I got my PS3, and he was so impressed by Folding@home that he got it on his gaming PC. But I'm pleased to report that PS3 was able to execute Folding@home simulations better than his gaming PC. But it's still cool.
Benjamin Moses: It's so cool.
Stephen LaMarca: It's such a cool app and-
Benjamin Moses: I mean, just to cover real quickly, what diseases they're actively look at, and obviously Coronavirus 19. Now they're looking at, well, so breast cancer, kidney cancer, some kind of exterior ones like dengue fever, Ebola, hepatitis C, Parkinson's. So they're trying to conquer some really, really big stuff. Get on it.
Stephen LaMarca: Yeah, they are.
Benjamin Moses: So speaking of the Coronavirus, you've got the best car for the Coronavirus at this time.
Stephen LaMarca: The best car for the Coronavirus. For my more mature childhood, my favorite car ever, the best car. And when people ask me, "Steve, what's your favorite car ever?" I still say the McLaren F1. But in more recent times it became the BAC Mono, Briggs Automotive Company, a little English car company just like McLaren, came out with a BAC Mono, which was essentially four-wheeled motorcycle. It was a Formula One cockpit with four wheels, open-wheel architecture, a carbon mono tube or a monocoque chassis. And you essentially drive it in a laying down position, and there's no interior, so you need to wear a helmet.
Stephen LaMarca: My other favorite thing about it was because manual transmissions are no longer a thing in hyper cars anymore, this has a sequential dog box. So you need to use the clutch for a first gear, but as soon as you're engaged in first gear, and you get the revs up above 3000 RPM, then you can use the hydraulic actuating, or pneumatic actuating shift paddles on the game-controller-looking steering wheel and it's really cool. I jokingly say it's the perfect car for the Coronavirus because it's one passenger.
Benjamin Moses: It's a single-seater.
Stephen LaMarca: It is perfect for social distancing. And with the lockdown going around the world, I don't know if you've had the pleasure of going out to drive for any reason whatsoever. But the roads are barren. Nobody's out there and the police have no interest in you. So it is perfect driving conditions right now, and this is the perfect car for that. But anyway, how does that relate to Tech Trends and manufacturing industry, what we're trying to talk about?
Stephen LaMarca: The BAC Mono has recently been updated. This article went out... This YouTube video actually went out last week on the updates on it. So they went to a turbocharged engine, which bothers some purists, but whatever, more power's more power. But how they made this car better is really special. Briggs Automotive Company teamed up with Autodesk's Fusion 360 team and Autodesk's generative design team to make certain components lighter in weight using generative design.
Stephen LaMarca: Something like generative design is super useful for lightweighting, especially components like suspension knuckles and control arms and stuff like that. But they've also used it to redesign connecting rods and turbocharger impellers for more power. So they're not only making it a lighter weight using something like generative, but they're bringing it more power as well. So it really is the perfect state of the art for a pandemic super car.
Benjamin Moses: Not the cheapest car.
Stephen LaMarca: And they're much cheaper. It's a great value compared to something like a McLaren P1 or a Ferrari Laferrari, which are multimillion dollar hyper cars. This thing's amazingly a very lightweight $150,000.
Benjamin Moses: We talked about Rolexes earlier, and now $150,000 single-seater.
Stephen LaMarca: Yeah, man, we're just living that Gucci life, man.
Benjamin Moses: Awesome, man. This is a great episode. Steve, where could-
Stephen LaMarca: It was fun.
Benjamin Moses: ... Where could they find more info about us?
Stephen LaMarca: They can find more info about us in the description. We've got links to every single article and YouTube video. Ben's on LinkedIn and you can find his profile in the description again. And we're still going to put in the link to the test bed blog, even though there won't be anything really new up there until this pandemic clears up. But I will post an update saying what's going on and when you can see us again.
Benjamin Moses: Awesome. Goodbye, everybody.
Stephen LaMarca: All right. Bye.