Feb 25, 2022

Artificial intelligence listens to the sound of healthy machines

Posted by in category: robotics/AI

Sounds provide important information about how well a machine is running. ETH researchers have now developed a new machine learning method that automatically detects whether a machine is “healthy” or requires maintenance.

Whether railway wheels or generators in a power plant, whether pumps or valves—they all make sounds. For trained ears, these noises even have a meaning: devices, machines, equipment or rolling stock differently when they are functioning properly compared to when they have a defect or fault.

The sounds they make, thus, give professionals useful clues as to whether a machine is in a good—or “healthy”—condition, or whether it will soon require maintenance or urgent repair. Those who recognize in time that a machine sounds faulty can, depending on the case, prevent a costly defect and intervene before it breaks down. Consequently, the monitoring and analysis of sounds have been gaining in importance in the operation and maintenance of technical infrastructure—especially since the recording of tones, noises and acoustic signals is made comparatively cost-effective with modern microphones.

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