NASA has explained how its software works that knows when a machine will fail with surprising precision.
Everything in this life will fail sooner or later. One day your mobile will stop making calls, your computer will not turn on and the chair you sit on will break. But as our grandmothers say, the one who does the chairs also has to eat.
Another very different thing is, of course, planned obsolescence, which is why manufacturers expect us to constantly renew our appliances. Whether it’s for one reason or another, breaking what you’re wearing can be more than annoying.
NASA’s fight against broken pieces
NASA is well aware of this, considering that many of his failed missions failed to achieve his goal for a single broken piece. Hence the development of DigitalClone, a software that is capable of predicting when a piece of a mechanism will fail.
Developed by NASA’s Sentient Science branch, DigitalClone creates, as the name suggests, a digital clone of the device you have to analyze,analyzing each part separately and the physics related to its operation.
An example of how DigitalClone works we have in the first order that the project received, to analyze a huge database of the Glenn Research Center. In this database there were all kinds of gears imaginable, of all shapes and sizes, some of them accumulating 25 years of usage information.
When the time came to check your fence, the program was able to use the data it knew about friction, wear and lubrication necessary to present an accurate prediction of the useful life of the mechanism, how performance would be affected by use, and when it would fail.
Where is the software used that knows when a machine will fail
After other tests in companies like Boeing, the first sale of the program came to the company First Wind, specialized in wind turbines. With the installation of sensors in the mechanisms as a reference,DigitalClone may vary its predictions and take into account external factors.
In the words of its creators, instead of leaving a machine running for a year, it is possible to leave the program running for a few days to achieve results for the entire life of the product, which can reduce costs and speed up production.
Nowadays, DigitalClone is being used by NASA with the Hubble Space Telescope, although curiously it is having more success among the US military branches, which have used it for the new F35 fighter and helicopters like the Apache and the Blackhawk. In addition, implant manufacturer Zimmer uses DigitalClone to analyze their hip implants and how they will evolve with patient use.
There is still a long way to go to make such complicated software available to the general public, but in the future DigitalClone may come pre-installed in the car and notify us before a part is going to break to save us the trouble, for example.