Industrial Applications of Augmented Reality and Vuforia Studio

Augmented Reality Tools

Augmented reality (AR) which has been vehemently used in gaming to a great extent is now increasingly finding its way into other areas. This includes Automotive, Aerospace and Mechanical engineering areas. The predominant area in which AR is used for industrial applications is to deliver visual instruction in assembly and disassembly of tools and machines. Uses also include parts analysis and simulation, staff support, layout and construction planning or supervising.
With devices such as tablets, Smartphones and AR enabled eye wear gaining more popularity; development of applications in the area of industrial maintenance is on the rise. Augmented Reality has the potential to assist industries with in real-time site information in almost any domain.
Vuforia EE times
Source:E E Times, Europe
Building and construction management can be easily be carried out by site managers who can virtually monitor work in progress in real time through Augmented Reality markers placed on parts or equipment being built. Not only can plant staff be freed from cumbersome paper layout plans but operators can be provided with real time contextual information. Focusing a mobile device’s camera on a piece of factory equipment can verify it is in its designated location by matching it to the digital map of the plant.
Stakeholders can make timely decisions when management can visualize how particular equipments or machine parts will fit into the final assembly, by viewing the superimposition of digital 3D data made possible by Augmented Reality.
Recent acquisition of Vuforia by PTC clearly signifies the importance of AR in industrial applications.  Using AR for industrial applications has been taken to a whole new level by Vuforia through their Vuforia Studio Enterprise (VSE).
Even though Augmented Reality is one of the fastest growing technologies, its adoption in industrial applications is challenged by the inability to reuse existing 3D assets for content authoring. Vuforia Studio overcomes this by enabling development of new experiences for creating, operating, and servicing connected products. Vuforia Studio provides the necessary components that are required to make it simple for any solution builder to develop an AR experience, without requiring deep programming knowledge or expertise in augmented reality technology.
According to Jim Heppelmann, President and CEO of PTC, Vuforia Studio Enterprise revolutionizes augmented reality by providing a set of components that allows practically anyone to create an augmented experience, with no coding knowledge required. Vuforia Studio enables organizations to easily develop augmented reality experiences by integrating 3D CAD data from tools like Creo and IoT data from ThingWorx.
Using Vuforia Studio organizations work on their existing 3D assets from PTC’s industry-leading Creo 3D CAD software and other popular 3D modeling tools. This can further be combined with easy-to-create animations and IoT sensor data (such as temperature and operating speed) through ThingWorx. By integrating a suite of technology components including Vuforia Studio Enterprise, Vuforia Experience Service and Vuforia View Enterprise, the development of AR experience has been greatly simplified.
Vuforia Studio Enterprise –provides an easy-to-use interface for codeless authoring and publishing of AR experiences. Experiences can incorporate 3D CAD data and ThingWorx-powered IoT data, and are associated with a ThingMark™, a code that uniquely identifies an object or a product.
machine assembly
Vuforia Experience Service – enables easy publishing of AR experience to the cloud-based Vuforia Experience Service. Providing a scalable solution for enterprise-wide AR deployments and creating any number of experiences.
Vuforia View Enterprise – consolidates all the above capabilities and presents itself to the end user as a single mobile app. When a user scans a ThingMark object using the app, it prompts the user to select an associated AR experience. The AR experience is then downloaded from the cloud and launched on the end users device.
For those in engineering and design services, Augmented Reality is a game changer. They will be able to integrate 3D data using tools like Creo with IoT sensor data using the ThingWorks framework and build AR capabilities that will help in deeper visualization and analysis of their products virtually in the assembly area. It is also possible to pull out data from 3rd party CAD tools and integrate it into the AR experience being created. Moreover, from engineering point of view, it is possible to add animation and sequences which will help to educate line operators and tool engineers to ensure zero error process capabilities and work toward reaching Six Sigma.
Vuforia has also announced its partnership with Unity; the world’s leading creative and gaming development platform, to integrate the Vuforia platform into Unity for a seamless development experience. The value proposition in AR came into limelight after the release of Pokémon Go which went viral with the masses and showcased the potential of AR to the general public. With significant initiatives underway to make the high speed internet available more widely even in developing countries like India, AR is going to be of utmost prominence in every field of life.
At SMACAR Solutions, we are privileged to be a part of the Vuforia Studio pilot program and have had the opportunity to explore its capabilities. It has helped to further enhance our knowledge and expertise in creating AR experiences with the Vuforia cloud-based SDK, using which we have built our proprietary SMACAR app which is currently available for the android and iOS devices.
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