Look around - we’re in the middle of the fourth industrial revolution

Jim Rogers

Boubekri NourredineUniversity of North Texas College of Engineering Professor Nourredine Boubekri will speak at the ninth annual American Manufacturing Strategies Summit in San Diego, California, Oct. 22 – 23, 2018. 

An expert on technology innovation, Boubekri will speak on new developments in robotics, artificial intelligence, 3D/4D printing, quantum computing and other emerging technologies. He will address the challenges in technology development, implementation and diffusion in many sectors, including higher education.

“Since the ‘80s, technology has been advancing at an amazing rate,” said Boubekri, a faculty member in the Department of Engineering Technology. “It can be hard for researchers to keep up unless you constantly update your labs and mindset.”

The University of North Texas College of Engineering is home to one of the most advanced materials research facilities (MRF) in the country. 

“We are on the leading edge of the fourth industrial revolution. Using the latest technology in the MRF, our researchers and students area creating everything from futuristic metal/ceramic alloys to advanced microchips employing the latest in nanotechnology,” said Raj Banerjee, regents professor of the Department of Materials Science and Engineering. “3D metal printing capabilities, a robust robotics program, artificial intelligence design, cellular data research and other high-tech projects are what attract experts like Nourredine Boubekri to our university.”

The first industrial revolution started around the time that water and steam began to power manufacturing. Lumber mills’ use of water wheels and steam engines soon gave way to the second industrial revolution, in which factories and manufacturing plants were powered by electricity. The jump into the third industrial revolution did not involve a change in the power supply, but rather, a change in the process of manufacturing. Computers and automation allowed for better quality products produced at a faster pace. The fourth industrial revolution builds exponentially on top of the third by fusing together artificial intelligence, robotics, the internet of things, smart materials and quantum computing, among other areas. 

Boubekri also will be editing an upcoming special edition of the “Journal of Open Innovation,” titled “Fourth Industrial Revolution-Convergence between the Digital, Physical, and Biological Sphere.”