We all know that guy (or, in some cases, we are that guy) that can listen to a car running and say something like, “Yep. Needs a lifter adjustment.” A startup company named Augury aims to replace that skill with an iPhone app.
Aimed at commercial installations, a technician places a magnetic sensor to the body of the machine in question. The sensor connects to a custom box called an Auguscope that collects vibration and ultrasonic data and forwards it via the iPhone to a back end server for analysis. Moving the sensor can even allow the back end to determine the location of the fault in some cases. The comparison data the back end uses includes reference data on similar machines as well as historical data about the machine in question.
We couldn’t help but wonder why the hacker community hasn’t been building things like this for a long time. We have plenty of CPUs with enough horsepower to collect audio (or other sensor data) and process it. If you wanted to diagnose cars, for example, you can find sounds readily enough for training.
There are a few academic papers on the subject, but nothing we could find in the way of hacker-style projects. Maybe the comments will flesh out some. If not, this seems like a ripe area for experimentation. Acoustic analysis of a PC could identify fan, power supply, and hard drive problems (as long as you aren’t using a solid state drive). Anything with moving parts could be a candidate.
About the closest thing we found in the archives was a hybrid magnetic/audio system to plot motor balance. We’d love to see some more work in this area over on Hackaday.io.
Images courtesy of Augury.