Thanks to virtual reality (VR) or augmented reality (AR), new opportunities are opening up for the industries. This was the topic of the Industry Connect #3 organized by Alp ICT in partnership with Virtual Switzerland and in collaboration with CTI, at Microsoft Switzerland on June 6, 2017.
Five experts from Microsoft, ABB, Bobst and AiM Services as well as HES-SO HEPIA came to present concrete applications of these immersive technologies for the industries. About forty industrial players have discovered solutions in terms of training, design and visualization of products, and maintenance of machines.
Anticipating the impact of innovation
When we start to realize the scope of the VR & AR application fields, it is vital to understand the contexts of use of these new technologies and the degree of maturity of the components currently on the market. From the strategy development, to the prototyping and manufacturing of products, to the market, immersive technologies shake up the entire production chain. Customer needs and expectations are anticipated, each product can be personalized, diagnosis and assistance are immediate, collaboration on project monitoring is done in real-time. Among all these possibilities of optimization, here are some great examples made in Switzerland.
AR geared towards maintenance and assistance
As Valéry Naula, Bobst’s e-Services Strategy and Development Manager, reminded us of, the digitalization of the service offer increases the complexity of systems. With machine automation, connected objects and various digital solutions, it is necessary to benefit from fast and efficient assistance. It is here that augmented reality brings a great added value, by clearly optimizing the performance of the assistance service. AR allows immediate diagnosis and troubleshooting, avoids misinterpretation and even reduces the impact of CO2 by avoiding unnecessary travel. It is a service that Bobst offers with Helpline Plus.
In terms of maintenance, augmented reality brings significant advantages: reducing the need for training operators on very specific machines, management of diversity on a single series, support for the operator in case of forgetfulness, traceability. According to ABB: “It is a know-how to be developed in order to maintain a competitive advantage in the form of a differentiating factor on Swiss Made products, in order to face increasingly competitive actors from low-cost countries.” The company is currently developing the iManuVisu project for traction transformers in collaboration with the HES-SO. They are open to involve other actors in the project, for example start-ups, as well as a follow-up in the form of an CTI project.
Understanding the future with mixed reality (MR)
Our participants had the privilege of testing Microsoft HoloLens, whose few copies in Switzerland are for the moment only available for research purposes. It relies on MR technology that integrates digital elements into the real environment with a possible interaction between the two worlds. Unlike a VR headset, holograms are projected through a transparent glass, which allows the user to move safely and even collaborate. Its motion sensors, voice control, spatialized sound, lightness (400 grams), its field of view (120° by 120°) and its autonomy (no connection required) make the use of the HoloLens very pleasant. Its functionalities apply particularly to the fields of creation & design, assembly & manufacturing, training & development, communication and leisure.
VR benefiting education
Beyond industrial applications, new technologies also offer exciting prospects for the area of learning, as we saw with AiM Services. Telepresence broadens the possibilities of e-learning and virtual classrooms, the arrival of 5G will amplify the remote uses, the democratization of 3D object scan will make modeling much more accessible, lower cost of headphones with integrated display will allow to equip entire classes, the use of mixed reality will also make it possible to no longer isolate the students from the teacher.
- On 11 June 2017
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