The Benefits of Augmented Reality

Augmented reality is the name of a suite of technologies that superimpose a computer-generated image on a user's view of the real world, offering a composite picture – part reality, part digital image. The root of the word 'increased' is 'increase,' meaning to add something. In augmented reality ( AR), graphics, text, sounds, and occasionally touch-feedback are applied to the real world. AR varies from virtual reality ( VR), which allows the user to live in an entirely computer-generated environment through a headset. AR essentially takes over the actual world and overlays virtual knowledge on top of it. Users of augmented reality are witnessing a modern and enhanced environment in which simulated experience is used as a medium to assist actual activities. This technology is currently being used in smart manufacturing as part of the transition to Industry 4.0.

Types of AR

Applications of augmented reality can be as necessary as adding text alerts or as complex guidance on performing surgery. They highlight features, improve comprehension, and provide timely and usable data. Applications accessed through mobile phones and business applications are some of the many applications that drive augmented reality applications. The main advantage is that the information presented is highly essential to everything the AR user does.

One of the most commonly used early AR applications uses GPS cell devices, a digital compass, and an accelerometer to provide data on the AR user's position. The widespread availability of smartphones encourages this form of AR adoption. Marker-based AR, also known as image recognition, uses a camera and some visual marker form – such as a QR code – to generate a result only when the reader senses the marker. Details or material will be overlaid on the image when the marker is scanned. Superimposition-based augmented reality either partially or entirely replaces the object's original view with a newly augmented view of the same object. Object recognition plays a crucial role in superimposition-based AR. The application can not substitute the original view with the augmented view if it can not decide its object.

An example could involve a catalog of parts in a smart factory. By installing the app and scanning the selected pages in a digital or printed catalog, engineers may position virtual parts in the factory and decide where they should be placed. In the meantime, projection-based AR works by projecting artificial light onto real-world surfaces. Projection-based AR applications allow human interaction by transmitting light to the real world's surface and then sensing the human interaction of the projected light.

Engineering Applications

Since manufacturing requires many complex assembly operations, AR may help the factory operator bring the product or vehicle together by providing an overlay of assembly instructions. This will theoretically replace digital or written instruction manuals. Instead, the commands are superimposed on the operator's field of view in real-time. Videos demonstrating how to complete a task may also be seen. The instructions would be hands-free and may be voice-controlled for extra convenience.

In addition to assisting in the assembly of finished goods, AR can also assist in the maintenance of manufacturing equipment. Some businesses are developing maintenance support technologies using virtual reality based on a 3D model that allows users to confirm the order of inspection on the AR monitor and then enter the inspection results vocally. Again, it will replace the use of manuals in the manufacturing world. This use of AR goes far beyond process and energy plant inspection and maintenance.

Another environment where AR can assist engineers is quality assurance. Some manufacturers have already begun exploring the possibilities provided by the use of AR to assess if their goods comply with quality standards. Quality engineers may take photographs of the parts they are inspecting and then compare them to the OEM supply chain's images using an AR overlay. This will highlight any flaw or deviation from the original design. According to the research firm Global Market Insights, industrial applications accounted for more than 25% of the expanded market share in 2015. "Several industry players are developing AR for the industrial sector to exploit [its] full potential," says the firm. "Increasing demand for complex machinery, assembly, and maintenance will drive increased reality growth in the industry." For example, Boeing has started using Google Glass AR technology to assist aircraft wire harnessing. German giant Bosch has also begun using AR technology from start-up Reflekt for several applications, including repair. Airbus is now using smart AR software to avoid errors. According to Global Industry Insights, Automotive Augmented Reality is expected to see substantial growth of more than 80 percent in the CAGR from 2016 to 2024. With so many leading players putting the technology to use in the manufacturing field, we should expect to see a lot more from AR over the next few years.

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The Benefits of Augmented Reality