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The GE Brief – August 21, 2018

August 21, 2018
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A new research facility called the Testa Center opened this week on the GE Healthcare Life Sciences campus in Uppsala, Sweden. The center, jointly funded by GE and the Swedish government, will help biotechnology companies develop and fine-tune their manufacturing processes so they can jump to large-volume production.

Building biotech: BioLamina will be the first company in residence at the Testa Center, spending six months getting its production process ready. The Swedish biotech company developed a process that involves engineering proteins inside high-tech vats called bioreactors to create an environment in which stem cells turn into heart cells, rod and cone cells, and even neurons.

Read more about the Testa Center and its future residents here.


Each of GE Power’s 1200 customers adds many terabytes of data to the Industrial Internet of Things every day. Yet, in spite of that staggering volume, we are still at the very beginning of the IIoT revolution, said Steven Martin, chief digital officer of GE Power. He is in a good place to know: “Keep in mind, over 40% of all electricity on Earth is managed by GE software at some point in its lifecycle; extending from the power plant to your power socket,” Martin said.

Forging the future: Three specific things are needed to digitize and connect the power industry. (1) First-hand domain knowledge of the hardware used across the power ecosystem. (2) Access to operational systems; the software and controls that drive generation, transmission and distribution. (3) Scalable platforms. Customers across the IIoT world have seen a lot of evolution in this area, and more will come.

Read Martin's full post here.


Every day, GE algorithms analyze 200 billion data points from 1 million sensors attached to industrial machines to assist engineers at GE Power’s Monitoring and Diagnostics Center in Atlanta. The software “can run analysis on data that, to other people, appears as noise,” said Justin Eggart, general manager for fleet management technology at GE’s Power Services unit.

Sensing subtle differences: One afternoon, a power station signaled an alert, even though everything seemed to be functioning normally. “The plant never felt it, never heard it, never saw anything,” said Eggart, “but we were sure it was there.” The GE engineers in Atlanta called the power plant operators, who hadn’t noticed any issues on their end. Yet, after taking a closer look, the operators “came back and said, ‘You know what, you were right.’”

Read more about the digital technology that keeps the power running here.


1. Slime vs. pirates
Researchers at Utah State University are developing “weaponized slime” for the U.S. Navy that could be fired at other ships to stop them from moving. The scientists are taking inspiration from the hagfish, an eel-like creature that “defends itself against would-be attackers by using jet of slime to fill predators’ mouths and gills with goo,” according to the researchers.

2. RNA-based therapies
For the first time, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has given the go-ahead to a treatment that uses RNA to “silence” the expression of genes implicated in certain diseases. In this case, the treatment works to halt the development of a rare condition that impedes nerve function.

3. AI spots eye disease
Researchers at DeepMind and Moorfields Eye Hospital in London developed an AI system that can reliably interpret routine eye scans within seconds “with unprecedented accuracy,” according to DeepMind. It recommends “how patients should be referred for treatment for over 50 sight-threatening eye diseases as accurately as world-leading expert doctors.”

Plus, identifying a protein involved in aggressive leukemia and using AI to find the most efficient linear path in this week’s Coolest Things on Earth.


“Innovation is the foundation of our business. We need to understand the small startups now because that will drive our business in a couple years.”

Lotta Ljungqvist, CEO of GE Nordics

Quote: GE Reports. Images: GE Reports. 

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