"If you've ever tried to diagnose a car problem just by listening to it run, you've got a sense of what a startup called Augury is doing," said Rachel Metz at Technology Review​. Augury makes an iPhone-connected gadget called an Auguscope that attaches to big, bulky machines and "listens." The Auguscope records ultrasonic sounds and vibrations; an app then compares the data to previous recordings stored on the company's servers to make a diagnosis, like whether a specific part needs to be replaced, or the unit itself needs a complete overhaul.

The firm is currently working with service companies that repair heating, ventilation, and cooling systems for commercial buildings. But one day it hopes to build its technology directly into consumer appliances, "making it possible for your washing machine or refrigerator to let you know when a part needs to be replaced."