Mixed Reality is Giving the Manufacturing Industry a Digital Makeover

From Business News Daily:

Industry 4.0 is all about information and connectivity. Mixed reality helps connect contextualized data to the worker through seamless, intuitive visual cues.

“Many of the major uses for mixed reality in manufacturing will take place in the factory [through] the overlaying of instructions and diagrams, the leveraging of computer vision for quality assurance, and possibly the incorporation virtual mentors/supervisors,” said Todd Richmond, IEEE fellow and director of the Mixed Reality Lab at USC.

Oftentimes, machine-learning algorithms are employed to analyze IoT data and then flag any anomalies or make recommendations to decision-makers. But still, that leaves a gap between company leaders and workers who could benefit greatly in their day-to-day jobs from access to that valuable data.

Still, mixed reality is in its early stages, and the development is anything but stagnant. According to Richmond, there are still bugs to work out, and researchers will be eagerly studying initial feedbacks to the user experience in a bid to retool and improve their systems.

“While AR will gain traction over the next five years, it’ll take a while for widespread adoption,” Richmond said. “The technology needs to improve – resolution, field of view, size and weight, tracking – but also the user experience is still not well understood, and it will take a lot of experimentation to develop the ‘language of immersion’ so that AR and VR experiences are useful and lead to better outcomes.”

While mass adoption might still be a few years off, one thing is for certain: Mixed reality is an imperative component of Industry 4.0 and possibly the most important for connecting the boots on the ground with the data in the cloud.