In cooperation with the Hochschule der Medien (University of Media), HdM for short, in Stuttgart Leadec has developed a prototype of a mixed reality app. By mixing virtual components with the real world, the application demonstrates how technical tasks on a physical object can be supported. Entitled “Maintenance Assistance Application (MA²)”, the innovation project shows new ways of working for technicians using a smart wearable device (i.e. computer worn on the body). The aim is to research the user interaction by means of new digital solutions with 3D technology and to develop practical mixed reality applications for maintenance and make them “more tangible”. For example, this method may be used for training purposes.
The cooperation was very interesting for both the company and the university. After a pitch and the introduction of the company at HdM, the cooperation began. Students with a strong affinity to the media helped develop the application based on a mixed reality headset. Agile project management shortened the time until the prototype was ready to just two and a half months. For example, the students assisted with the user interface, modeling and scripting. Prof. Dr.-Ing. Krešimir Vidačković, Professor of Multimedia Engineering and Design at HdM: “It was a very interesting learning experience for my students to participate in a practical project based on concrete business requirements.“ For the time being, the prototype is to make a workplace scenario tangible in a mixed physical and virtual reality (as, for example, in a robot training course).
The use of smart glasses and other wearable devices is becoming increasingly important particularly in the field of maintenance. Smart 3D glasses to assist with certain maintenance activities are not only technically conceivable - they are actually feasible today. The mixing of virtual components and real world provides many different options for application in manufacturing. Using such technologies is supposed to make work more accurate, efficient, interactive and easy. However, for ideal human-machine interaction, different factors of the real environment, the user’s visual perception, an intuitive user interaction and the future further development of devices are crucial. A topic that will certainly remain very exciting for industrial services providers like Leadec.