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May 24, 2016 | N2-D2 makes neural networks simpler

n2d2 list
© Maxsattana / Fotolia

ArcelorMittal turned to neural networks to improve real-time defect detection on the company's cold mills. The N2-D2 platform responded to the company's needs by automating neuromorphic circuit configuration and programming.

Neural networks are great at image and sound recognition. However, industrial users have had a hard time benefitting from the capabilities neural networks offer because of the high-level expertise it takes to implement them.

ArcelorMittal was seeking ways to improve the real-time image analysis system—used to detect surface defects—on its cold mills, and turned to List, a CEA Tech institute, for support. List researchers used the institute's new N2-D2 platform to automate the development of neuromorphic-circuit-based applications, facilitating design and programming. The researchers took advantage of the List-developed platform to test different neural network configurations and runtime environments to determine the best compromise between speed and performance—in record time.

It took less than three months to come up with a model of the optimal solution, which achieved the required level of performance, a 95% detection rate, while using minimal processing power. The application to be implemented is expected to achieve analysis speeds 130 times faster than traditional PCs.

N2-D2 also offers potential for the design of neural networks for Big Data and IoT applications.


May 17, 2016 | Ultrasonic inspection gets deep inside pipe networks


Researchers at List, a CEA Tech institute, have combined two guided ultrasonic wave inspection techniques. The innovative method developed is effective at detecting corrosion damage to pipes in areas that cannot be accessed using traditional methods.

Conventional ultrasonic inspection techniques cannot get around structural obstacles, making some areas of the pipes inaccessible. List, a CEA Tech institute, is investigating a workaround that involves combining—for the first time ever—two different guided-wave techniques.

The researchers developed a novel and very promising method that uses the propagation of two types of high-frequency waves in the part being inspected. The resulting alternating propagation pattern effectively renders the obstacle "invisible" to the waves. The researchers then used the method to inspect the part for structural integrity. "We decided to use a 'mode conversion' pipe-wall thickness-loss detection technique based on an analysis of the changes to the wave as it passes through the part being inspected," explained a List researcher. Each component of the new method was tested separately to ensure effectiveness. And the combined approach is currently being tested in the lab to see if it can pick up thickness-loss-type defects, such as those due to corrosion, in areas of piping "hidden" behind an obstacle.

The results of the research are being assessed in a simplified configuration under a partnership with French electric utility EDF. The assessment could bring operationally-ready ultrasonic non-destructive testing methods to all industries that need to monitor difficult-to-access pipework.


May 2, 2016 | WiseBIM converts 2D drawings into 3D drawings in minutes

Wise BIMList, a CEA Tech institute, recently developed software, WiseBIM, that generates 3D building drawings from 2D paper drawings in just a few minutes.

WiseBIM rapidly generates 3D drawings from BIM (Building Information Model) files for real-estate sales (virtual tours), emergency response preparation, thermal renovation projects, and property management.

Users simply upload a scan of their 2D drawings or upload an existing 2D drawing file to WiseBIM, which automatically extracts the information required to identify the 3D geometrical elements of the building, detect potential errors, and recommend corrections. The 3D plan is then produced in .ifc format, a standard file format compatible with BIM software.

Manual conversion of drawings from 2D to 3D is time consuming. With WiseBIM, conversion is fast, simple, and cost-effective. In addition, there is no need to go to the building site, even for large numbers of drawings.

This novel approach will be of interest to businesses in the construction industry as well as to building end-users.

Learn more about WiseBIM (video):

April 14, 2016 | Bordeaux tramway enters the world of virtual reality

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Passengers on Bordeaux’s tramway can now discover the city’s future Euratlantique neighborhood through special tramway windows offering virtual-reality features including real-time traffic and destination information.

Line C of the Bordeaux Métropole tramway network is the site of an experimental—and world-first—virtual-reality rollout. The Connectram project, spearheaded by public transportation operator Keolis Bordeaux Métropole, gives passengers a virtual-reality experience between line-C stops Tauzia and La Belle Rose. The experimental rollout will run until April 30, 2016.
The tramway’s special windows give passengers a 3D display of the city’s future Euratlantique neighborhood and real-time, context-based, geolocated, multimode information on available rental bikes, nearby parking garages, and connecting bus, tramway, and train schedules.

3D design studio Axyz produced the digital content and integrated the architectural elements into the system, which takes into account a variety of environmental factors such as the sun’s position in the sky. The company also designed the multimode application that displays transportation information and details about arts, cultural, and other local events.

List, a CEA Tech institute, drew upon its extensive know-how in 3D object location in complex environments and real-time reconstruction of moving-sensor trajectories to develop an on-board augmented-reality application. The technology was modified to meet the unique needs of the Connectram project to ensure real-time, highly-reliable calculations of the tramway’s position and direction.

Keolis Bordeaux Métropole, Axyz, and CEA Tech worked together to implement the display technology.

The experimental rollout will end on April 30, 2016. The project is led by Keolis Bordeaux Métropole with support from the Aquitaine Limousin Poitou-Charentes regional government, the greater Bordeaux intermunicipal authority, and the Bordeaux-Euratlantique urban development authority. The project is financed in part by the ERDF.

Learn more :

April 11, 2016 | S3P secure IoT software platform

S3P List

“The S3P project, which kicked off in December 2015, was set up to ensure the cost-effective, secure, and reliable programming of connected objects for industrial and consumer applications,” said Olivier Grumelard, Deputy Director for Electronics and Software at the French Directorate-General for Enterprise (DGE), and Eric Bantegnie, VP Systems Division at Ansys.

The project unites a consortium of fifteen manufacturing companies and seven technology developers, including CEA Tech institute List. The R&D work will use the “Smart, Safe and Secure Software Development and Execution Platform (S3P)” to develop embedded software for this type of programming.

See the interview with Olivier Grumelard (DGE) and Eric Bantegnie (Ansys) at:

Download press release

Read article in l’Embarqué (french)