Augmented Operator – A team of industry and technology companies initiates innovation project on streamed augmented reality
Augmented Operator is a new innovation project where a group of Swedish researchers, industry and technology companies team up to explore the next generation of Augmented Reality (AR) for the manufacturing industry. Using cloud-based AR streaming, the project will find new solutions to problems defined by companies like Saab AB and Siemens Energy.
The transformation to Industry 4.0 is well under way and has been accelerated by the Covid-19 pandemic forcing companies to speed up digitalization efforts. Manufacturing industries have become data-driven and value is currently created by capturing, analyzing and understanding large amounts of data about the product – the Digital Twin.
AR has proven to be a useful interface between the Digital Twins and the operators working in production. The technology is already in use in many larger companies but has not yet reached its full potential due to limitations in performance of the existing hardware and software.
“We have done several AR pilots, but due to different technical limitations in both hardware and software AR has not yet been implemented in production”, says Michael Blomqvist, Program Manager at Siemens Energy. “In this project we hope to find the right technical solution so can put our ideas into action”
“Above all, we see great opportunities to train new operators and save time. With help of AR we can provide assembly work instructions at the right place and time resulting in less cognitive load for the operator”, says Jesper Birberg, Production Engineer at Saab AB.
Cloud computing, streaming technology and high-speed wireless networks such as 5G makes it possible to do all computation for AR in the cloud, and in a secure way, stream it over wireless networks to thin clients like handheld devices and nontethered AR headsets. This means that computation is no longer a problem and the opportunities for creating new and exciting applications within manufacturing industries are greater.
“We started this project as we see great potential with streamed AR and interactive 3D visualization in the manufacturing industry. The timing is right, and by working close to the problem owners, we make sure we get a good product market fit,” says Thomas Rydell, Co-founder at Interspectral.
In this new project, Augmented Operator, a consortium of Swedish research groups, industry and technology companies will explore how complex digital twins can made be accessible for operators within manufacturing with help of streamed AR.
The project is a part of the innovation program Visual Sweden and is initiated and managed by visualization company Interspectral. The consortium consists of Combitech, Image Systems, Linköping University, Saab AB, Siemens Energy, Vobling and Voysys. The project is supported by Nvidia and Ericsson.
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Felicia Lai Jakobsson