Technological development is advancing rapidly, but our expectations of it are advancing even faster. In the production industry, it is especially clear, as it becomes increasingly complicated to build and create products. Operators have increasingly complex productions to manage, but there are aids available. Oscar Danielsson, PhD Student at the University of Skövde, has studied what companies need to consider in order for AR smart glasses to be integrated into their business.
The AR technology, "augmented reality", gives us the opportunity to see virtual objects in our own reality. AR smart glasses can provide industry operators with advantages that create a much more flexible and efficient production. With the help of AR smart glasses, the operator can receive information in the field of vision – information that follows when the operator moves. But the industry is complex, there are many systems that must work together during long time. Oscar Danielsson, PhD Student in Informatics at the University of Skövde, has focused his research on finding out what companies need to consider for AR smart glasses to be integrated, and function, with other production systems.
“I have studied how operators can benefit from seeing more complex information, by using AR smart glasses, which in turn allows them to work more efficiently with their hands. I myself have worked as an industrial operator and it is an experience that has benefited me in this research.”
Easier to make decisions
The industry has many options to consider when it comes to streamlining operations. AR smart glasses is one. But it can be difficult for decision-makers to determine if it is worth investing in, if they do not know what it is. Oscar Danielsson has now produced a framework for what companies should think about if they are considering AR smart glasses as operator support.
“Deciding to invest in AR smart glasses is complex, where you have to weigh many things against each other. For example, if you want advanced support with 3D animations, AR smart glasses can definitely be used. But there are only a limited number of models that can handle such advanced animations right now, and the cost of developing and maintaining the instructions is also increasing. If you instead want simpler support, such as text or images, it will be much easier to implement. But then, you can at the same time consider other options such as monitors or bright lights.”
The results of the research can now be used as a quick guide for industries that are considering whether AR smart glasses might be suitable for the company. The framework is an online tool through which the company can obtain an approximate estimate, and also indicative justifications, in the various cases the company is considering. The framework does not provide a definitive answer or a ready-made solution, as it is far too dependent on a case-by-case basis. But it highlights important things the company should consider and shows what they need to find out more about.
“It is a way to get the process started, so that you can start from scratch.”
Right now, Oscar Danielsson works as a consultant at Dizparc where he is actively looking for assignments in both academia and industry, to be able to contribute his knowledge of AR as operator support. He defends his thesis "Augmented Reality Smart Glasses as Assembly Operator Support" at ASSAR Industrial Innovation on Friday 16 September.