Industrial Engineering: Network Node Adapting itself

CITEC exhibiting prototype at mechanical engineering supplier trade fair in Bad Salzuflen​

Modern network hardware found in most households, such as routers or printers, usually works right out of the box because a common standard is generally used. This is not the case in industry, where different standards exist for networking machines, for instance to effectively complete difficult, real-time communication requirements. New technologies are designed, however, to simplify the connection and configuration of machines in non-uniform environments. The Cluster of Excellence Cognitive Interaction Technology (CITEC) at Bielefeld University is presenting a network node that automatically recognizes the respective network technology in use and autonomously configures the hardware. This adaptive network node can be viewed at one of the three CITEC exhibition events at the FMB – Zuliefermesse Maschinenbau (Supplier Show for Mechanical Engineering) in Bad Salzuflen (in Hall 21, Booth A27). The FMB trade show will take place from Wednesday, 9 November through Friday, 11 November.​

Marten Vohrmann, from the Cluster of Excellence CITEC, is pictured here with the adaptive network node, which is being exhibited at the FMB mechanical engineering supplier trade fair. Photo: CITEC/Bielefeld UniversityCITEC is presenting its research at the joint exhibition booth of the technology network Intelligent Technical Systems OstWestfalenLippe (it’s OWL). The adaptive network node was developed as part of the “it’s OWL” interdisciplinary cluster project called “Intelligent Networks.” At the trade fair, it can be seen as part of the project “Digital in NRW – Das Kompetenzzentrum für den Mittelstand” (The Digital in North Rhine-Westphalia – The Competence Center for Medium-Sized Businesses). “The device follows the principle of ‘Plug and Produce,’ which means that it is designed to be directly used in the factory after plugging it in,” explains engineer Marten Vohrmann, who exhibited the network node on Wednesday at the trade fair.

On Thursday, visitors can try out the Adamaas glasses for themselves – a pair of smart glasses that provides assistance in performing activities, such helping operate a machine when the worker does not know what to do next or makes a mistake. The glasses – and what they can do – will be presented using an example application of making coffee. The glasses use eye tracking technology, object and action recognition, as well as sensor technology and augmented reality (AR). These processes are combined with modern diagnostic and corrective feedback methods, which “enable the glasses to provide individualized feedback in real time directly in the user’s field of vision, whether in the form of text, visual notifications, or as an avatar,” says Dr. Kai Essig, who will demonstrate the smart glasses at the FMB trade fair. “The glasses can react to mistakes and enable the user to pursue new courses of action. In this way, the glasses open up new forms of human-machine interaction.”

On Friday, trade fair participants can visit the experimental participation lab “teutolab-robotik.” “This lab exposes schoolchildren to scientific topics within the interdisciplinary field of robotics research at Bielefeld University in an age-appropriate way,” says Alicia Weirich, who is attending the trade fair to answer questions about the teutolab-robotik lab. In a workshop held by the participation-based lab, schoolchildren can, for example, program a learning strategy for the game “Paper-Scissors-Rock” and test it on the humanoid robot Nao. In Bad Salzuflen, the robot Nao will introduce itself and range of abilities and applications at the teutolab-robotik lab.

The FMB trade fair was founded in 2005 as an exhibition platform for suppliers in mechanical engineering in the region of Ostwestfalen-Lippe (OWL). Since then, it has become a networking space, bringing together draftsmen and engineers, developers, and purchasers. It also presents the entire spectrum of suppliers in the field of mechanical and systems engineering, along with related services.

More information is available online at:
•    Trade fair website:
•    Information on the joint exhibition booth for „it’s OWL“:

Jörg Heeren, Bielefeld University
Cluster of Excellence Cognitive Interaction Technology (CITEC)
Telephone: 0049 521 106-6562