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April 26, 2018 Marketing

TechHub: CMU and Disney Pittsburgh Team Up to Build Smart Walls, U.S. Infrastructure Cyber Threats & More

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Carnegie Mellon and Disney Research Pittsburgh Team Up to Create Touch-sensitive Walls To Control Home Devices

Researchers at Carnegie Mellon University and Disney Research Pittsburgh think we can do more with our walls. They’re presenting a way to turn static walls into sensing, interactive, smart pieces of infrastructure. The result of their work is a prototype of Wall++, a wall that can track touch and gestures, sense nearby bodies and their positions as well as detect and locate active appliances according to Yahoo Finance.

The concept allows walls to take on some useful features such as acting as a control panel that allows users to touch it to turn lights on and off, unlock a door or control music. It could offer slider-like input, giving more control over lighting levels, temperate and music volume.

To make the wall, and keeping it inexpensive and simple to construct, they tested various conductive paints, how to connect and arrange the wall electrodes and optimize antenna sensitivity. The team chose to use water-based nickel paint applied to the wall in a diamond pattern, with copper tape to connect electrodes, vinyl stickers as insulation and latex paint as a topcoat.

The work is just a proof-of-concept study for now, with more research needed before it can be optimized. But, it’s a rather simple and low cost setup (at just over $21 per square meter) that could introduce some function to our walls.

A Lack of Cyber Security Funding and Expertise Threatens U.S. Infrastructure

As infrastructure becomes digitalized, it becomes more vulnerable to cyber attacks. International hackers have been trying to compromise U.S. infrastructure for years, and have successfully cut off power to hundreds of thousands of people in Ukraine on multiple occasions.

Experts are pressuring lawmakers and regulators to take more decisive action across all of our physical systems, according to Forbes, but there are still a number of obstacles that need to be addressed alongside the implementation of new policies.

Agencies responsible for protecting infrastructure aren’t spending nearly enough money on cyber security given how critical things like power, roads and clean water are to society. As a result of government inaction, private sector companies have been forced to take cyber security more seriously, and are projected to spend $1 trillion on digital security globally through 2021.

Take a look at how to establish cyber security for your Operational Technology.

J.P. Morgan Chase and Bank of America each spend around $500 million annually on cyber, according to Forbes, considering how important liquid cash is to our economy.

However, federal cyber security spending continues to lag — some estimate it will reach $22 billion by 2022.

The Department of Energy announced earlier this year the creation of a new Office of Cyber Security, Energy Security and Emergency Response to help coordinate the department’s security efforts.

This digital transformation of infrastructure won’t be easy, but it’s necessary if we hope to ensure physical security in the years to come.

The global IoT market will grow to $457 billion by 2020, causing billions of sensors to be rolled out rapidly as the Industrial Internet expands. The devices for operational technology are very different than those found on information technology networks and they need specialized technology to protect them. 

Download the GrayMatter Cyber Security Guide for Operational Technology to get a comprehensive understanding of security in the OT world including top vulnerabilities. The guide walks you through the first steps in knowing what’s on your network and has specific advice about the assessment process from our top cyber security consultants.

Get the Guide

Digital Transformation Day 2018

The world is in transformation mode. The winners of its Industrial Revolution will master data and insights made possible through the power of digital industrial transformation. Join us in Chicago, Denver and Toronto with GrayMatter and GE leaders to learn how utilities are transforming and companies like Joy Global and GE Transportation are drastically reducing maintenance and operations time using the industrial internet. We’ll take you behind-the-scenes of Brilliant Manufacturing and teach you powerful lessons like how to build an OT cyber strategy.

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