Introduction: The use of Augmented Reality Glasses is expected to grow by 17.1 million units in the coming decades. The leading consumers of these are the industrial sector. These include various industries like electronics, engineering, automotive, aerospace, etc. Moreover, it is used in every other industry that involves dealing with heavy machinery. Even the military uses it too. There is a significant need for such innovation. This need has arisen is because of an acute shortage of skilled labor. There is very little labor to deal with such heavy physical machine components.
The increased usage of AR glasses is because of a couple of reasons. One of them is that recently there is a grown interest among the companies to provide step-by-step instructions. The use of these glasses also helps their workers to understand manufacturing, engineering, and training instructions. The traditional way of passing on information has been extremely slow. Above all, it also costs the company lots of revenue and precious time. Moreover, the amount of expenditure involved in providing 1:1 expert training is again costly. All these expenditures can be avoided with the adoption of AR glasses. This has caused the industries to adopt AR glasses. The glasses merely need only voice and vision to guide the workers—once designed with the instructions, the glasses can be used just anywhere by anyone.
Market Research: An expert market analysis done by Artillery Research has predicted the global market share for enterprise applications of AR glasses. It predicted it to be more than 35.2 billion dollars. The primary beneficiaries of this industry are evident from the graph below.
Beneficiaries of AR across various industries
Also, the usage of AR glasses is relatively less today globally. While most of the market is covered by AR based on smart phones and tablets, AR glasses are still catching up. The comparative study from 2019 is shown below:
Some of the very compelling applications of AR glasses in the industry include the following:
- Training the Personnel: There are a lot of enterprises which need it. As it is challenging to provide hands-on training with real-life machinery to the company employees. Thus, industries realized that the best way to give such training to the employees is through Augmented Reality glasses. They can provide the necessary instructions regarding the safety procedures and the tasks that they are entirely unfamiliar with. Moreover, using AR glasses in the company to provide hands-on training has become the defacto. Companies prefer to conduct such training for its freshly recruited employees as the first thing using the glasses.
For instance, the U.S military has already conducted tests using Microsoft Hololens 2. The Hololens provides them with augmented night vision, maps. It also helps them aim their weapons better. Moreover, it also keeps track of a military personnel’s heartbeat rate and what they have seen during the training. This analysis indeed helps the military to increase their efficiency of defense.
Also, the medical and pharmacy industry also uses the glasses for this purpose. Medical students need to perform diagnoses of the human body. Consequently, using the AR glasses, the training sessions for making incisions and dissection into a human body becomes easier. The professionals will be able to continuously provide feedback to the students as well. One such application is Touch Surgery. This app can be integrated with the AR glasses. The app guides step-by-step and helps you to perform a surgery in 3D.
Microsoft Hololens 2
- Logistics: Various logistics providers like DHL have already pilot-tested the AR glasses globally. This testing was to check their capability to enable a faster and error-free logistics packaging and supplying. The concept is also known as “Vision Picking.” It is born out of the fact that the packaging of items in the Supply Chain is an important step. This step requires not only physical tasks but also digital ones. The Vision Picking using the AR glasses displays which trolley does the item need to be placed. This task is highly error-prone if done by a human alone over a long time. The analysis which follows later after the device testing in an actual situation helps to improve it further.
- Assembling Machine Parts: This technology is already harnessed by some of the leading electronics and aviation brands like GE and Boeing. They improved their production time by around 25 percent using the AR glasses. They have also been able to reduce the error made while assembling the parts to almost zero.
General Electric has been able to use these glasses in its aviation, healthcare, and energy sections. The AR glasses, when coupled with the necessary assembly apps, are a powerful tool. They can guide the assemblers better than referring to a hardcopy of a manual.
Similarly, Boeing has also been able to use AR glasses, which are powered by Skylight. The technicians can make thousands of connections merely using sight and voice technologies.
Also, Ford has been using Microsoft Hololens to enhance its car designing process. Right from the inception of a model from a 2D design to a full-fledged car. Before the advent of AR, a clay model of the vehicle had to be made. Consequently, with the AR glasses, the production has increased several-fold.
Technical Products already have a lot of parts. Even Airbus uses the AR app MIRA along with AR glasses. These glasses help to project a 3D version of the aircraft for faster production. The use of AR glasses has helped these industries do away with static instructions and Pdfs. These are very difficult to keep updated with the latest information.
Maintenance and Repair Industry
Have you ever imagined how difficult it is to repair a Nuclear Power Plant? Or how difficult is it to fix an X-Ray machine? Recent developments have caused the Vacuum Pump manufactures Leybold to use AR. They used the X-Ray vision of these glasses to view inside a pump. This kind of view enables the technicians to perform repairs without dismantling the object. The use of AR glasses helps in recognizing potential faults and breakdowns. Hence, in turn, means efficient servicing and reduced service calls.
In another application, Mitsubishi has developed systems with AR capabilities. This system assists the workers to perform maintenance. The order of inspection to follow is available in the view of the worker. This kind of inquiry is possible with the help of AR glasses.
Surgery in Healthcare
For decades, doctors spent hours in an operation theatre to treat a patient. This drains the energy of the medical staff as well as costumes a lot of time. The use of AR glasses to perform real-time surgeries is changing healthcare dynamics. The staff that was required to assist a surgeon is no more needed. Again here the hands of the surgeons are busy doing the task. In the meantime, they can utilize their voice and sight to get instructions from the glasses. This also helps to get patient-saving information in real-time. The doctors can feed the MRI scans and the CT scans into the AR headset. Now, before performing surgery, the doctor can analyze the anatomy of the patient. For instance, one such application is Help Lightning. It provides 3D models and remote surgeons are able to guide the on-site surgeons.
Moreover, this helps to optimize healthcare services for the people. Also, the veteran surgeons can remotely guide the resident surgeons and help them complete the surgery.
The AR industry is already booming. Also, the use of AR glasses is on the rise as they are hands-free objects and can be used heavily in the manufacturing industry. The various applications described above prove this fact. Above all, AR can help boost the productivity of any firm multifold. A lot of improvement has already been made to these glasses since they were first introduced. Still, a lot of it needs to be innovated. Most of the applications cited above have been with the leading brands in the industry. Subsequently, the technology might become more affordable. The market will then see more small and medium-sized businesses adopting them too.
Nonetheless, the AR glasses have some of the disadvantages too. These include the high cost of the AR glasses. Also, there is a lack of privacy while using these devices too.
At Queppelin, we believe that the Augmented Reality glasses will soon make manufacturing way easier and error-free. We offer AR solutions for companies and startups who want to integrate it into their business and boost their revenues.
Reach us at [email protected] to collaborate with us.