What is Augmented Reality?

Minority Report fans are familiar with them: Holograms - three-dimensional images projected into space that serve for communication and presentation of information. But not only in the movie - due to the availability of so-called Augmented Reality data glasses this now also works in daily use.

While the user of virtual reality glasses is visually immersed in a computer-generated digital world, with augmented reality technology you see the world around you as it is. In addition, the data glasses project (or augment) any information into the field of vision of the viewer. The spectrum ranges from simple text overlays to video and sound to animated 3D content and holograms.


And what is Mixed Reality?

If you can interact with the additional information or holograms, it’s called mixed reality.

The difference to augmented reality can be best illustrated by the example of the head-up displays in the car: Here, a real environment is enriched with virtual objects, depending on the user's location or the camera's field of view. However, the user cannot interact with the objects.

With mixed reality, the objects can be fixed in the viewer's field of vision. For example, suppose an aircraft mechanic repairs an engine. He is in Frankfurt and uses mixed reality technology to work with an engineer in the UK on the repair (via our i40 portal application).

By means of mixed reality, the designer can "virtually mark" a part on which the mechanic should focus his attention, for example by drawing a circle around it. When the mechanic turns his gaze away, the circle around the object remains outside his field of vision - no matter how long it takes him to look back at this point.

Example 1: Digital Twin

Especially with a view to Industry 4.0, it makes sense to convert regulations and standards into a machine-readable form in order to be able to carry out a comparison with the digital twin. In this way, the technical aspects of the product can be tested before the actual production, in order to identify and eliminate possible problems of the future end product.

The application developed by us shows how such a solution can look in concrete terms: As a digital counterpart to the real product, a virtual control cabinet generated by software is projected into the viewer's field of vision via the data glasses. The viewer can see the created object from all sides.

The following video shows a test against the digital standard - including the real environment.

Example 2: Building Navigator

Augmented or mixed reality technologies are suitable for all industries and branches of industry in which CAD plans and drawings are an integral part of work processes. This applies in particular to the real estate sector.

The application was developed on the basis of the architect's plans. First, a 3D hologram was created from the CAD plans. A 3D hologram sets objects and animated sequences in scene in three dimensions and makes it possible to let seemingly real objects or animations float freely in space - which can then be viewed with the aid of data glasses.

The level of detail of the individual objects (e.g. the furnishings in the office) was chosen in such a way that the hologram can be displayed in any scale. With an appropriate command the viewer can enlarge the hologram of the building to the real scale 1:1: The hologram is built up in full size in front of the user's eye. Impressive views of the planned building are created, as for example the height of the individual floors or the entire building can be felt or experienced.

When carrying out technical inspections of the objects, there is always the question where the flush-mounted electric and sanitary installations are located in the different rooms. With the aid of a digitized installation plan - if necessary, complemented by photographs of the cable laying - this information can be made visible in the context of an inspection in the real building by means of data glasses. For better visualization, we have integrated this approach into the virtual 3D model: The electrical installations are shown in red, the water pipes in blue.

The Re-envisioning of Work

i40-Portal is an innovative Augmented Reality application for real-time support of employees, technicians and users on site. The solution combines physical and digital workspaces to help your employees work smarter, faster and safer.

Augmented Reality ready-for-use!

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