Augmented Realities Key Capabilities:
Augmented Reality significantly elaborates the value developed by those capabilities. Especially, it helps improve how the users visualize and accordingly access all the unique monitoring data, how they receive and follow instructions and guidance on product operations, and even how they interact with and control the products themselves.
The Smart Connected Products (SCPs) extending through our homes, workplaces, and factories allow users to observe development operations and conditions in real-time, manage and customize product operations remotely, and optimize product performance using real-time data. And in some cases, intelligence and connectivity allow SCPs to be operated as fully autonomous.
Augmented Reality applications provide a sort of X-ray vision, unveiling internal traits and attributes that would be difficult to notice otherwise. Take for instance the medical device company AccuVein, for example, AR technology converts the heat signature of a patient’s veins into an image that is superimposed on the skin, making the veins easier for the general practitioner to locate and treat. This results in dramatically improving the success rate of blood draws and other vascular-related procedures. AR technology more than triples the possibility of a successful needle stick on the first try and reduces the need for “escalations” (calling for assistance, for example) by 45%.
The global power units and control providers used in manufacturing the Bosch Rexroth employ an AR-enhanced visualization to demonstrate the design and capabilities of its smart, connected CytroPac hydraulic power unit. The AR application allows customers to see 3-D representations of the unit’s internal pump and cooling mechanics in multiple configurations and how the subsystems fit together.
Augmented Reality (AR) is already redefining instruction, training, and coaching. These critical processes, which improve the productivity of the workforce, are naturally very costly and labor-intensive and also often deliver inconsistent results. For instance, written instructions for assembly tasks are continually hard and time-consuming to pursue. Standard instructional videos aren’t interactive and can’t adapt to individual learning needs. In-person training is quite expensive as well and requires students and teachers to assemble at a common site, sometimes repeatedly. And if the equipment about which students are being taught isn’t available, they may need extra training to transfer what they’ve learned to a real-world context.
AR addresses those issues by providing real-time, on-site, step-by-step visual guidance on tasks such as product assembly, machine operation, and warehouse picking. Imagine a complicated 2-D schematic representation of a procedure in a manual, becomes an interactive 3-D hologram that walks the users through the critical processes, leaving little to the imagination or interpretation.
At Boeing, the Augmented Reality practicum has had a dramatic impact on the productivity and quality of complex aircraft manufacturing procedures. In one Boeing study, AR was used to guide trainees through the 50 steps required to assemble an aircraft wing section involving 30 parts. With the help of AR, trainees were able to complete the work in 35% less time than trainees using a traditional 2-D drawing and documentation. And the number of trainees with little or no experience who could complete the procedure correctly the first time, increased by 90%.
At its very core, the power of Augmented Reality extends out of the way humans process information. We as humans bear the capability to access information through each of our five senses—but at different rates. Vision delivers us with the most information by far: An estimated 80% to 90% of the information humans get is accessed through their vision.
The ability to absorb and process information is limited by our mental capacity. The demand for this capacity is referred to as “cognitive load.” Each mental task we undertake reduces the capacity available for other, simultaneous tasks.
Cognitive load mainly swings on the mental effort required to process a specific type of information. For example, reading instructions from a computer screen and acting on them assembles a more significant cognitive load than hearing those same instructions, this is because the letters are to be translated into words and the words are then interpreted. Cognitive load also relies on “cognitive distance,” or the interlude between the state in which information is presented and the context in which it is applied. For example, consider what transpires when someone uses a smartphone for directions while driving. The driver must consume the information from the screen, retain that information in working memory, translate the directions into the physical environment in front of him, and then act on those directions, all while operating the vehicle. There is a considerable amount of cognitive distance between the digital information on the screen and the physical context in which information is being applied. Dealing with this distance creates a cognitive load.
The combination of the speed at which information is transmitted and immersed and the cognitive distance involved in applying it lies at the root of the much-repeated phrase “A picture is worth a thousand words.” When we look at the physical world, we soak in a huge amount and variety of information almost instantaneously. In the same way, an image or picture superimposes information on the physical world while at the same time placing it in context for us, reducing cognitive distance, and minimizing cognitive load.
This explains why Augmented Reality is so powerful. There could be no better graphical user interface than the physical world itself. As Augmented Reality enhances through a digital overlay of relevant data and guidance where and when they are needed. AR eliminates dependence on out-of-context and hard-to-process 2-D information on pages and screens while greatly improving our capability to understand and apply information in the real world.
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