Microsoft shows how AI can make a construction site safer at Build 2017

microsoft workplace artificial intelligence
Artificial intelligence is set to make a huge impact on many aspects of everyday life, and Microsoft wants to be at the forefront of this tech as it revolutionizes the workplace. At the Build conference in Seattle, Washington on May 10, the company showcased how AI might make a construction site safer and more productive.

The average construction site is already packed with cameras, and Microsoft is leveraging that fact via its visual recognition software. By associating camera feeds with information about objects and people, the company will offer a platform that allows businesses to monitor work as it happens, and enforce policies automatically.

An on-stage demo saw Microsoft’s director of commercial communications, Andrea Carl, walk through an implementation of the technology. The set-up combined Azure Stack, Azure Functions, Cognitive Services, and commodity cameras, running more than 27 million recognitions every second.

Carl located a jackhammer situated on a similar construction site using a simple written command submitted via a smartphone, specifically, “Where is a jackhammer.” The AI’s object recognition capabilities allowed it to instantly respond with a message indicating that a jackhammer was available on the site.

The platform is also able to monitor which employees are certified to use the piece of equipment, and who handled it most recently, by scanning faces as different people pick up the item. In the eventuality that an employee without the proper authorization picks up a particular piece of equipment, a violation notification will be distributed to the appropriate personnel.

Adding new employees to this system is a snap, as the platform is constantly taking photographs of people who are detected on-site — an administrator simply needs to identify which person is being brought on board from images that have been collected, and then add necessary details like their name and their authorizations. Since cameras are constantly monitoring who is on site, the system can distribute notifications when someone is there who shouldn’t be.

The system can even make sure that items on the site are being stored safely, by referring to tagged locations that are set up for individual tools. We saw a camera spot that a jackhammer had been left leaning against a workbench, rather than lying down, and automatically instruct an employee to remedy the situation.

Microsoft’s other examples of how this technology could be applied include a system for detecting chemical spills, and a method of detecting when hospital patients are out of their beds. Putting this kind of AI into practice requires a lot of infrastructure in terms of cameras, but it clearly offers some major benefits when the necessary hardware is in place.


Smishing sounds funny, but it’s a serious threat to your phone’s security

We all know phishing is a huge security problem, but most people still believe it’s a problem limited to email. According to new reports, however, phishing scams are attempting to exploit your trust in text messages.

Feeling nostalgic? Here are the 25 best Sega Genesis games

Although the company has since fallen into obscurity, Sega was an indisputable titan throughout the '90s. That said, here are 25 best Sega Genesis games that helped define its fabled decade.
Movies & TV

The best shows on Netflix, from 'The Haunting of Hill House’ to ‘The Good Place’

Looking for a new show to binge? Lucky for you, we've curated a list of the best shows on Netflix, whether you're a fan of outlandish anime, dramatic period pieces, or shows that leave you questioning what lies beyond.
Home Theater

The best movies on Netflix in November, from 'The Witch’ to ‘Dracula’

Save yourself from hours wasted scrolling through Netflix's massive library by checking out our picks for the streamer's best movies available right now, whether you're into explosive action, witty humor, or anything else.

Want to use one drive between a Mac and Windows PC? Partitions are your best bet

Compatibility issues between Microsoft Windows and Apple Mac OS X may have diminished sharply over the years, but that doesn't mean they've completely disappeared. Here's how to make an external drive work between both operating systems.

Microsoft turns on the lights with a new white theme in Windows 10 update

Microsoft is introducing a new light theme in the upcoming version of Windows 10 and is currently beta testing the change with Windows Insiders. The clean-looking theme brings a much-needed facelift to Windows.

Four Andromeda-related Microsoft patents hint at new ways to use the device

Andromeda might be getting even more real as four Microsoft patents have surfaced recently, all of which hint at possible new use cases and other new configurations for the device. 

Here's why 64-bit (not 32-bit) dominates modern computing

Today's computing world isn't the same as it once was. With 64-bit processors and operating systems replacing the older 32-bit designs, we look at what 32-bit vs. 64-bit really means for you.

A Google patent shows a way to make VR even more immersive

Virtual reality can be a really immersive experience, but it does sometimes it does have boundaries. Google has addressed this problem by patenting shoes with a flexible region on the bottom.

Converting files from MKV to MP4 is quick and easy. Just follow these steps

MKV files have their place, but if you would rather convert your videos from MKV to MP4, there are two methods we consider the best and most efficient for getting it done. In this guide, we'll walk you through them step by step.

Heal your wrist aches and pains with one of these top ergonomic mice

If you have a growing ache in your wrist, it might be worth considering changing up your mouse for something ergonomic. But which is the best ergonomic mouse for you? One of these could be the ticket to the right purchase for you.

Our 10 favorite Chrome themes add some much-needed pizzazz to your boring browser

Sometimes you just want Chrome to show a little personality and ditch the grayscale for something a little more lively. Lucky for you, we've sorted through the Chrome Web Store to find best Chrome themes available.

All the Best Target Black Friday deals for 2018

The mega-retailer opens its doors to the most competitive shoppers at 6 p.m. on Thursday, November 22, and signs indicate that the retailer means business this year. We've sifted through all of the deals, from consumer electronics to small…

Windows 10 notifications driving you crazy? Here's how to get them under control

Are the notifications on Windows 10 annoying you? Here's our guide on how to turn off notifications in Windows, and how to manage alerts so that the important stuff still gets through.