What Everyday Activity Would You Automate?

Title graphic for the home automation survey

If you grew up in the 90s, chances are you’re familiar with the 1999 Disney movie, Smart House, in which the Cooper family enjoyed all manner of lifestyle automations from their home’s then-unheard-of virtual assistant until it was tampered with and went haywire.

While the technological marvels depicted in the film—voice-activated locks, lights, entertainment, temperature control, home security, and more—were fantasy at the time of the film’s release, we can replicate nearly every automation from the Coopers’ smart home with real technology today. Ok, maybe not the floor absorbers. 

As automated routines, virtual assistants, and the Internet of Things saturate our homes and many modern industries, we wanted to see whether Americans embrace the change or reel against it. In other words, how far would they take artificially intelligent automations if anything were possible—like it was for the Coopers in Smart House?

To find out, we surveyed over 900 Americans on their current smart home devices and habits, the fictional automations they would be the most likely to adopt, and their thoughts on the future of increasing automation in all aspects of society. Read on to learn more.

Automated, Actually

Alt text: Chart graphic showing household A.I. use across the U.S.

According to NPR, there were already 20 million virtual assistants in U.S. households in 2017. Four years later, our data shows that an astonishing 91% of respondents are using a virtual assistant at home.

When we asked survey respondents which digital helper they primarily use, the top two contenders were Google Assistant (39%) and Amazon Alexa (36%). Surprisingly Apple’s Siri didn’t compare to these giants and was relegated to only 13% of respondents’ homes.

The usefulness of virtual assistants increases dramatically when paired with other smart devices on the Internet of Things. With many of us spending more time indoors over the past year, we aren’t surprised to see smart TVs and smart speakers topping the list of the most common smart devices Americans currently use.

The following four smart devices are more practical in nature. Based on our results, smart lights, security cameras, locks, and thermostats are all popular devices for automating home security and comfort. 

We can see that Americans are readily accepting artificial intelligence into their lives as a key component of daily activities. Virtual assistants like Google and Alexa are now dimming lights, playing music, forecasting the weather, watching over empty houses, and much more while Americans focus on other matters.

But how far is too far when it comes to allowing technology to take over aspects of our daily lives?

Automating Virtually Anything

Bar chart showcasing the activities that Americans would automate

To find out which fictional automations are most appealing to Americans, we asked respondents to rate a list of made-up automations on a scale from 1 to 10, with 1 meaning low likelihood and 10 meaning high likelihood. 

The results surprised us. Americans are more excited than not for every automation we proposed. But of course, some are more appealing than others.

Respondents were most likely to automate fueling or charging their vehicle. Maybe after a year of working from home, stopping at the gas station is a relic of past commutes that Americans are not excited to return to. Who wouldn’t want their vehicle to automatically fill up with gas or recharge it with electricity!

On the other end of the spectrum, respondents were least likely to automate stealing their family and friends’ streaming subscription passwords. Yet even as the least likely automation, the activity scored a 5.1 out of 10, meaning respondents were still more likely than not to try it out.

Interestingly, respondents were more likely to automate facetime with their kids than with their fur babies. Playing with or walking pets (6.35) scored lower than dropping off and picking up kids from school (7.23) and changing diapers (7.31).

Automating Slices of Life

Graphic depicting how Americans would automate major areas of life

As suspected, Americans are most interested in automating family activities, with 37.6% of respondents agreeing. A quarter of respondents would automate their finances instead, and another 1 in 4 respondents are all about automated travel and commutes. Career was the least likely area of life respondents would automate, with just 10.6% choosing it.

There were, however, automations that appealed to respondents in all four areas of life.

Diaper-changing, carting children around, and pleading with kids to eat healthy food were the top three activities parents would delegate to artificial intelligence if they could.

In terms of finance, respondents were more prone to automate limits for their own untrustworthy spending habits (7.2) than spending limits for other family members (6.9).

Commuting to work is a struggle for many Americans, whether they are driving themselves or riding with others. In this category, the top automations were fueling their vehicle, changing the traffic lights in their favor, and interestingly, muting their carpool companions or rideshare drivers on a whim!

Lastly, respondents were not without want for automating certain aspects of their careers. They couldn’t be bothered to get up for the first hour of their workday, instead wishing a robot would stand in while they catch a few extra Zs. As asking for a promotion can be awkward and challenging, respondents want to automate it instead. And while we aren’t sure how many employees think their boss’ voice is grating, we know respondents would automate their boss with play/pause functionality if they could!

After learning that Americans are all about automating their lives when it comes to fictional technology, we had to find out how they feel about the very real future of artificial intelligence.

The Stormy Future of A.I.

Graphic of charts comparing perceptions of A.I. in the U.S.

Automation is becoming more ubiquitous, and Americans are ok with that. Nearly 3 in 4 respondents feel somewhat or very positive about the increasing use of A.I. in daily life and another 20% assume a take-it-or-leave-it approach. Only 7.4% of respondents harbor negative feelings about automation increasing in our daily lives.

But despite an overall positive perception of the outlook of automation, most respondents have not ruled out a robot takeover. In fact, more than 40% believe that one is likely to occur in the next 50 years! Just 18% are certain that robots won’t rise up against us before 2071. It seems Americans are willing to put a lot at risk in return for the casual conveniences afforded by automation and the Internet of Things.

However, this grim expectation of rebellious robots comes into focus when viewed through the following lens. Science fiction media plays a role in making 58% of respondents more excited for the future of artificial intelligence. Suddenly, a robot takeover doesn’t sound so bad when you have a T-1000 or Neo on your side.

Whether the robots rise up or not (they won’t), automation represents much more than conveniences within the home. It is essential to the smooth functioning of many industries, offering increased productivity, efficiency with materials, product quality, employee safety, and more. That’s why we supply factories with state-of-the-art automation equipment and replacement parts. We’ll even make the repairs ourselves to ensure you’re up and running in no time.

Impact of Drone Technology on Healthcare on the African Continent

Drones, also known as Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs), are mini aircraft that can be flown autonomously. UAVs have a ground-based controller and a system of communications that enables a human on the ground to pilot them. They’ve got an autopilot feature that offers them a certain level of autonomy. In the last 5 years, drone technology has made significant advances in a number of industries.

While they differ in sizes, drones are usually smaller than regular aircraft, and because of their size, they serve various purposes. This ranges from undercover surveillance coverage to deliveries, policing, aerial photography, and weapons delivery for the military to hot battle zones. 

Drone Technology
Modern Drone Technology

More recently, there is increased adoption in healthcare. If there’s any sector where speed and promptness sit as top priorities, then it’s healthcare. This is primarily because lives are at stake. In other parts of the world, drones are deployed to help deliver medical supplies. 

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FANUC Expands Line of SCARA Robots

FANUC America, a leading manufacturer of CNC products, robots, and ROBOMACHINES has expanded its line of high-performance Fanuc Robot SCARA series. The line will now offer more reach and payload options, specifically targeting companies that use the series for assembly, packaging, and inspection lines.

FANUC’s line of 4-axis SCARA robots will now include the SR-3iA, SR-6iA, SR-12iA, and new SR-20iA models with 3kg, 6kg, 12kg and 20kg payload capacities along with a 400-1,100mm reach.

FANUC Robot Scara Series Lineup
FANUC Robot Scara Series Lineup

The smaller SR-3iA and SR-6iA SCARA Fanuc robot units have a smaller footprint and space-saving design to increase efficiency. Additionally, the SR-3iA/H and SR-6iA/H and 3-axis versions that offer strong performance and are an affordable alternative to small linear slide products. The higher-payload SR-12iA and SR-20iA are flexible offerings with a large vertical stroke, and have an environmental option for harsher installation conditions. All of the SCARA series robots include excellent robot motion, high-speed operation, and ultimate precision.

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How Artificial Intelligence Can Help Your Business

AI is an acronym for Artificial intelligence, which refers to the simulation of human intelligence in machines. Artificial intelligence enables machines to be programmed to think, act and make decisions like humans. 

These machines are programmed to be analytic and problem-solving computers and robots. While human intelligence may be subject to error, these machines are not.

Artificial intelligence is not restricted to robots alone. While Hollywood might have created this misconception, it is essential to know that AI is simply based on the principle that computers can mimic and execute specific tasks as humans would. These tasks can range from simple calculation to more complex and diverse things. The machine does not necessarily have to be a robot.

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Industrial Automation and Robotics

Robotics is one of the most exciting fields that has potential applications in today’s world. Everything from parking a car to industrial automation to a rocket can be automated using robots and other software. The introduction of robotics as a dedicated field changed our vision of the world to a much more technologically advanced one.

Robotics is a very diverse field with numerous applications. Appliances such as self-opening doors and packaging lines use robotics to improve the way they operate. Robots are being used in several fields, from manufacturing to medical sciences. One of the most interesting applications of robotics is industrial automation.

Factory Automation Robotics
Factory using robotics on an assembly line

What are Robots?

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The Most & Least Power Outages by U.S. State

These days, manufacturing is inextricably linked to the power grid. Many manufacturing processes are now automated using increasingly complex software programs and robotic machines that rely on a constant supply of electricity. So when a blackout occurs, more than just the lights go out in a typical factory. Outages can amount to critical failure and gobs of lost revenue for all stakeholders involved.

At MRO Electric, we wanted to find out which U.S. states experience the most and least power outages and electrical downtime. To accomplish that, we collected and analyzed the latest electrical reliability data from the U.S. Energy Information Administration. Specifically, we pulled the average annual frequency and duration of power outages per customer for each U.S. state from 2015 through 2019. Read on to see what we found. 

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Benefits of Artificial Intelligence in Manufacturing Businesses

Picture via Unsplash

Artificial intelligence (AI) has been a great benefit to industries across the board, but its role in the manufacturing industry has grown exponentially in the past few years. From predictive machine maintenance to improved supply chain communication, read below for some ways that AI benefits manufacturing businesses.

Supply chain communication

There are a lot of moving parts when it comes to manufacturing, and AI can help streamline communication throughout the supply chain. According to LiveMint’s report on supply chain modernization, companies who work with delivery partners can leverage AI to provide timely feedback and dynamic pricing to their customers. This communication doesn’t stop with delivery companies, either. With manufacturing companies often offshoring production to different parts of the globe, time is of the essence when it comes to stocking products and making them ready for delivery. Such communication is crucial in today’s health crisis, where companies with global operations are scrambling to consolidate tasks and remain in business.

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What is a DCS?

DCS stands for “Distributed Control System” which is an automated control system that streamlines the functionalities of the different devices used throughout a work space. DCS utilizes a wide range of controllers to permit all the parts to converse with one another just as PCs do. These controllers are distributed geographically across a plant to allow for high-speed communication to the control process. When utilizing various kinds of modules, the framework may require diverse correspondence norms, for example, Modbus and Profibus.

What is a Distributed Control System
Distributed Control System Layout
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What is a PLC?

A Programmable Logic Controller, abbreviated as “PLC” is a computer used to address the issues of a particular assembling process. These devices come in a wide range of shapes and sizes, with numerous alternatives for computerized and simple I/O, as well as protection from high temperatures, vibration, and electrical noise. The invention of the PLC allows for computers to be streamlined into the industrial automation process.

A PLC can be a solitary device figuring and executing operations, or a rack of various modules utilized to meet whatever your automation system requires. A portion of the extra parts include processors, power supplies, additional IO, interfaces, and more. Each part cooperates to have the option to run open or shut circle activities that are appraised at fast and high accuracy. Take a CNC machine for instance; a PLC would be utilized to control positioning, motion, and torque control. These devices are popular since they are inexpensive in relation to the amount of power and lifespan they possess. PLCs can run for hours on end. 

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G Code CNC

G Code

As a generic name for a plain-text language in which CNC machine are able to understand, G-Codes are important to understand in the manufacturing, automation and engineering spaces. You can enter a G-Code manually if you wish, but you do not have to because of the CAD/CAM software’ abilities along with the machine controller.  G-Codes are not necessarily readable by humans, but it’s possible to look through the file and determine what is generally occurring.

In the factory automation space, nobody likes downtime and receiving error codes. While using CNCs (view FANUC CNC parts here), many professionals are faced with G Codes. By definition, a G Code is a computer code language that is used to guide CNC machine devices to perform specific motions. A few examples of specific motions would be:

  • canned cycles
  • work coordinates
  • several repetitive cycles.
G Code: canned cycles-

Also referred to as a fixed cycle, canned cycles are ways to effectively and efficiently perform repetitive CNC machining operations. They automate specific machining functions. A few examples would be pocketing, threading, and drilling. A canned cycle is almost always stored as a pre-program in a machine’s controller. To learn more about canned cycles, check out this article courtesy of zero-divide.net.

G Code: work coordinates-

The G Code coordinate pipeline goes something like this:

  • Unit conversion to metric
  • Convert from relative to absolute and polar to Cartesian: g90g91XYZ()
  • G52, G54, and G92 offsets
  • G51 scaling
  • G68 coordinate rotation

G-Code is the most popular programming language used for programming CNC machinery. Some G words alter the state of the machine so that it changes from cutting straight lines to cutting arcs. Other G words cause the interpretation of numbers as millimeters rather than inches. Some G words set or remove tool length or diameter offsets. Be sure to check out our article covering FANUC CNC Codes here.

MRO Electric and Supply has new and refurbished FANUC CNC parts available. We also offer repair pricing. For more information, please call 800-691-8511 or email sales@mroelectric.com.

Tool Parameters, Feeds, and Speeds

Listed below are some easily-understood G-code commands in which are used for setting the speed, feed, and tool parameters.

F= Feed

The F command’s purpose is to set the feed rate. Keep in mind, the machine operates at the specified speed rate when G1 is used, G1 commands are set to operate at the set F value.

An error is likely to occur if the feed rate (F) isn’t set once before the first G1 call.  Here is an example:

  • G1 F1500 X100 Y100

S= Spindle Speed

The S command’s purpose is to set the spindle speed. The Spindle speed is almost always set in RPMs (revolutions per minute). Here is an example:

  • S10000

T= Tool

The T command’s purpose is paired with M6 in order to display the tool number to be used for cutting the current file. Here is an example:

  • M6 T1
Below is a complete listing of G Codes:
  • G00     Rapid traverse 
  • G01     Linear interpolation with feed rate
  • G02     Circular interpolation (clockwise)
  • G03     Circular interpolation (counterclockwise)
  • G2/G3   Helical interpolation
  • G04     Dwell time in milliseconds
  • G05     Spline definition
  • G06     Spline interpolation
  • G07     Tangential circular interpolation, Helix interpolation, Polygon interpolation, Feedrate interpolation
  • G08     Ramping function at block transition / Look ahead “off”
  • G09     No ramping function at block transition / Look ahead “on”
  • G10     Stop dynamic block preprocessing
  • G11     Stop interpolation during block preprocessing
  • G12     Circular interpolation (CW) with radius
  • G13     Circular interpolation (CCW) with radius
  • G14     Polar coordinate programming, absolute
  • G15     Polar coordinate programming, relative
  • G16     Definition of the pole point of the polar coordinate system
  • G17     Selection of the X, Y plane
  • G18     Selection of the Z, X plane
  • G19     Selection of the Y, Z plane
  • G20     Selection of a freely definable plane
  • G21     Parallel axes “on”
  • G22     Parallel axes “off”
  • G24     Safe zone programming; lower limit values
  • G25     Safe zone programming; upper limit values
  • G26     Safe zone programming “off”
  • G27     Safe zone programming “on”
  • G33     Thread cutting with constant pitch
  • G34     Thread cutting with dynamic pitch
  • G35     Oscillation configuration
  • G38     Mirror imaging “on”
  • G39     Mirror imaging “off”
  • G40     Path compensations “off”
  • G41     Path compensation left of the workpiece contour
  • G42     Path compensation right of the workpiece contour
  • G43     Path compensation left of the workpiece contour with altered approach
  • G44     Path compensation right of the workpiece contour with altered approach
  • G50     Scaling
  • G51     Part rotation; programming in degrees
  • G52     Part rotation; programming in radians
  • G53     Zero offset off
  • G54     Zero offset #1
  • G55     Zero offset #2
  • G56     Zero offset #3
  • G57     Zero offset #4
  • G58     Zero offset #5
  • G59     Zero offset #6
  • G63 Feed/spindle override not active
  • G66 Feed/spindle override active
  • G70     Inch format active
  • G71     Metric format active
  • G72     Interpolation with precision stop “off”
  • G73     Interpolation with precision stop “on”
  • G74     Move to home position
  • G75     Curvature function activation
  • G76     Curvature acceleration limit
  • G78     Normalcy function “on” (rotational axis orientation)
  • G79     Normalcy function “off”
G80 – G89 for milling applications:
  • G80     Canned cycle “off”
  • G81     Drilling to final depth canned cycle
  • G82     Spot facing with dwell time canned cycle
  • G83     Deep hole drilling canned cycle
  • G84     Tapping or Thread cutting with balanced chuck canned cycle
  • G85     Reaming canned cycle
  • G86     Boring canned cycle
  • G87     Reaming with measuring stop canned cycle
  • G88     Boring with spindle stop canned cycle
  • G89     Boring with intermediate stop canned cycle
G81 – G88 for cylindrical grinding applications:
  • G81     Reciprocation without plunge
  • G82     Incremental face grinding
  • G83     Incremental plunge grinding
  • G84     Multi-pass face grinding
  • G85     Multi-pass diameter grinding
  • G86     Shoulder grinding
  • G87     Shoulder grinding with face plunge
  • G88     Shoulder grinding with diameter plunge
  • G90     Absolute programming
  • G91     Incremental programming
  • G92     Position preset
  • G93     Constant tool circumference velocity “on” (grinding wheel)
  • G94     Feed in mm / min (or inch / min)
  • G95     Feed per revolution (mm / rev or inch / rev)
  • G96     Constant cutting speed “on”
  • G97     Constant cutting speed “off”
  • G98     Positioning axis signal to PLC
  • G99     Axis offset
  • G100   Polar transformation “off”
  • G101   Polar transformation “on”
  • G102   Cylinder barrel transformation “on”; cartesian coordinate system
  • G103   Cylinder barrel transformation “on,” with real-time-radius compensation (RRC)
  • G104   Cylinder barrel transformation with centerline migration (CLM) and RRC
  • G105   Polar transformation “on” with polar axis selections
  • G106   Cylinder barrel transformation “on” polar-/cylinder-coordinates
  • G107   Cylinder barrel transformation “on” polar-/cylinder-coordinates with RRC
  • G108   Cylinder barrel transformation polar-/cylinder-coordinates with CLM and RRC
  • G109   Axis transformation programming of the tool depth
  • G110   Power control axis selection/channel 1
  • G111   Power control pre-selection V1, F1, T1/channel 1 (Voltage, Frequency, Time)
  • G112   Power control pre-selection V2, F2, T2/channel 1
  • G113   Power control pre-selection V3, F3, T3/channel 1
  • G114   Power control pre-selection T4/channel 1
  • G115   Power control pre-selection T5/channel 1
  • G116   Power control pre-selection T6/pulsing output
  • G117   Power control pre-selection T7/pulsing output
  • G120   Axis transformation; orientation changing of the linear interpolation rotary axis
  • G121   Axis transformation; orientation change in a plane
  • G125   Electronic gearbox; plain teeth
  • G126   Electronic gearbox; helical gearing, axial
  • G127   Electronic gearbox; helical gearing, tangential
  • G128   Electronic gearbox; helical gearing, diagonal
  • G130   Axis transformation; programming of the type of the orientation change
  • G131   Axis transformation; programming of the type of the orientation change
  • G132   Axis transformation; programming of the type of the orientation change
  • G133   Zero lag thread cutting “on”
  • G134   Zero lag thread cutting “off”
  • G140   Axis transformation; orientation designation workpiece fixed coordinates
  • G141   Axis transformation; orientation designation active coordinates
  • G160   ART activation
  • G161   ART learning function for velocity factors “on”
  • G162   ART learning function deactivation
  • G163   ART learning function for acceleration factors
  • G164   ART learning function for acceleration changing
  • G165   Command filter “on”
  • G166   Command filter “off”
  • G170   Digital measuring signals; block transfer with hard stop
  • G171   Digital measuring signals; block transfer without hard stop
  • G172   Digital measuring signals; block transfer with smooth stop
  • G175   SERCOS-identification number “write”
  • G176   SERCOS-identification number “read”
  • G180   Axis transformation “off”
  • G181   Axis transformation “on” with not rotated coordinate system
  • G182   Axis transformation “on” with rotated/displaced coordinate system
  • G183   Axis transformation; definition of the coordinate system
  • G184   Axis transformation; programming tool dimensions
  • G186   Look ahead; corner acceleration; circle tolerance
  • G188   Activation of the positioning axes
  • G190   Diameter programming deactivation
  • G191   Diameter programming “on” and display of the contact point
  • G192   Diameter programming; only display contact point diameter
  • G193   Diameter programming; only display contact point actual axes center point
  • G200   Corner smoothing “off”
  • G201   Corner smoothing “on” with defined radius
  • G202   Corner smoothing “on” with defined corner tolerance
  • G203   Corner smoothing with defined radius up to maximum tolerance
  • G210   Power control axis selection/Channel 2
  • G211   Power control pre-selection V1, F1, T1/Channel 2
  • G212   Power control pre-selection V2, F2, T2/Channel 2
  • G213   Power control pre-selection V3, F3, T3/Channel 2
  • G214   Power control pre-selection T4/Channel 2
  • G215   Power control pre-selection T5/Channel 2
  • G216   Power control pre-selection T6/pulsing output/Channel 2
  • G217   Power control pre-selection T7/pulsing output/Channel 2
  • G220   Angled wheel transformation “off”
  • G221   Angled wheel transformation “on”
  • G222   Angled wheel transformation “on” but angled wheel moves before others
  • G223   Angled wheel transformation “on” but angled wheel moves after others
  • G265   Distance regulation – axis selection
  • G270   Turning finishing cycle
  • G271   Stock removal in turning
  • G272   Stock removal in facing
  • G274   Peck finishing cycle
  • G275   Outer diameter / internal diameter turning cycle
  • G276   Multiple pass threading cycle
  • G310   Power control axes selection /channel 3
  • G311   Power control pre-selection V1, F1, T1/channel 3
  • G312   Power control pre-selection V2, F2, T2/channel 3
  • G313   Power control pre-selection V3, F3, T3/channel 3
  • G314   Power control pre-selection T4/channel 3
  • G315   Power control pre-selection T5/channel 3
  • G316   Power control pre-selection T6/pulsing output/Channel 3
  • G317   Power control pre-selection T7/pulsing output/Channel 3

In conclusion, becoming well-versed on CNC G-Codes, along with other codes associated with CNCs is imperative in this day and age. By having up-to-speed knowledge of CNC codes, you could most definitely set yourself apart from the average Joe.