Virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) are two futuristic technologies that have attracted interest from all sectors.
VR creates an immersive, three dimensional world through some type of electrical equipment that feels very realistic. AR, by contrast, overlays computer-generated image through a lens or similar product so users are aware of their surroundings.
Media companies like the New York Times are experimenting with new ways to tell stories through VR whereas mysterious startups like Magic Leap are exploring how to create the next generation of entertainment.
There are vast possibilities for creating these environments, but an exhibit at Interphex this year demonstrated methods for incorporating augmented reality into laboratory settings.
Apprentice Field Suite, a company based in Jersey City, N.J., was displaying a series of smart glasses geared towards manufacturing professionals. The company works with a variety of partners like Microsoft, Epson Moverio, and Vuzix to infuse augmented reality software into these gadgets.
Three apps serve as the operating core of these devices:
- Tandem: users of the glasses activate this program to essentially perform troubleshooting initiatives from remote locations. Real time information appears within your field of vision so you can quickly conduct inspections or train employees and cut down on travel costs or miscommunication.
- Manuals: Hand gestures and voice commands will help you pull up a number of important documents stored in one location. The core of this app is to prevent expensive errors from occurring as a result of out-of date paperwork or careless attention to documentation.
- Gauge: Turn this app on to track any potential safety issues. People wearing the glasses can take pictures or capture video of malfunctioning equipment/dangerous conditions. The goal is to fix costly errors before they happen.
R&D Magazine tested these glasses out at the show. The devices are not a distraction. They sit comfortably when you put them on. There’s no delay when you give the programs the different voice commands and hand gestures. Graphics like warning notifications and lab schematics appeared on screen in perfect detail without becoming distracting.
There are a slew of inherent risks that can arise in laboratory settings, but Apprentice Field Suite Co-Founder Angelo Stracquiano explained to R&D Magazine the crux of these glasses:
“By far, the practical benefit is to do things with more accuracy. Being able to have this information and make informed decision hands-free will help achieve that goal.”
You can check out Apprentice’s software here.
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