This page summarizes the research on artificial reality supporting the industry.
Contact: Dr. Forstner Bertalan project lead
Sometimes, A picture is worth a thousand words. But what if we have real 3 dimensional objects instead of pictures? This is the question that often arises where people are working together in the industry on the same piece of work, but at different times. Let’s assume that a quality inspector of a car manufacturer finds some tiny scratches on the car body, that is to be touched-up by a technician from post-production. How can the inspector mark that position on the object to seek it out easily?
This is where artificial reality comes into the picture. We prepared a module for mobile devices or mixed reality headsets. Using the sensors of the device, we recognize the 3D object, like the car. One of the users, say, the inspector, can survey that car through the device, and spot the locations on the object that he wants to mark. So practically, a virtual marker is placed on a specific spot, together with some metadata, like audio recording, a photo, or text. The device can send these information for example to a logging system as well.
Another person, say, the technician, can reveal all those information using similar mobile device or headset. The same process can be used for similar scenarios, or to train new employees, and many more.
We are constantly researching and implementing modules like this one, to support the employees in the indusry, and make their work more efficient while providing them a natural experience.
Even the earliest concepts of using Mixed Reality headsets presented some kind of assisted manual work where a supervisor remotely advised a trainee how to perform some task, based on shared vision and mixed reality instructions. However, after having investigated a few industrial sites, we concluded that most often the problem is not the distance, but the availability of the tutor. As a solution to the problem, we designed a system for Microsoft’s HoloLens that can be used to train an employee for a multi-step complex task at the production line.
The whole process, the steps of the given task, can be composed on a web interface, on the intranet. The user is authenticated, therefore, the system learns his workstation’s place, the exact task to be performed, the cabinet of the parts to be used, and where to find all necessary parts. He can watch a 3d animation or film snippet to find out the next step of the process, and the headset also marks the physical place, like a drawer, where the part to be used can be found. The headset also identifies the part and can even warn if it is inappropriate.
With this technology, even a less qualified employee can quickly learn some manual task. At Industry 4.0-enabled workshops, there is not only a need for reconfiguration of the pipelines and robots, but a quick uptake is also required at the human side. This is again a good example how new technologies can help improving the productivity and the quality of work.