The new worker: bridging knowledge and action with augmented reality.
At TWNKLS we believe that knowledge is the most valuable good we produce. This is especially true in the complex automotive field. Factory workers use their knowledge to build your car, salesmen make information sparkle in order to sell you that car, you’ve had to learn a whole lot of it to even be legally allowed to drive your car and perhaps someday you will teach that skill to someone else.
Knowledge is the fuel for action. It is something that we share, that we acquire, and that we apply. These things are all interconnected. By doing something often you get more skillful, by sharing knowledge you come to new insights, and through both these processes you turn external knowledge into internal, tacit knowledge. Through simple repetition you can turn a complex task like shifting gears into something you do purely from instinct.
Turning knowledge into skill
Knowledge is a valuable good to the automotive industry. And in order to get knowledge we learn. You spend a lot of money training your workers, empowering your salesmen, letting your customers know how to navigate, operate and enjoy your cars. And you spend even more money having to fix the mistakes made by those that didn’t have the right knowledge.
There is, however, a big gap between learning and doing. We learn from a book, a teacher, or a course, and then later we apply that to what we want to do. We alternate our attention between taking in knowledge and using it. In between a lot is lost in interpretation, in bad memory.
This gap wastes time, creates mistakes, and burns efficiency. Luckily that is now a thing of the past.
Augmented reality is the most direct link between knowledge and action.
Augmented reality is one of the most exciting things to happen to knowledge. It is the process of putting digital information into a real context. Augmented Reality (AR) has you look at the world through a device, like a smartphone, tablet, or smart glasses. The device recognizes what you’re looking at and then places a digital addition to your reality that we call an augmentation. This can be an instruction, a video, a 3D animation – anything that adds value. You see information about your task directly onto what you’re doing, while you’re doing it.
No need to learn first and do later. Now you can do both. It’s always in the right perspective, it’s always clear, and it’s always accurate. Augmented reality bridges the gap between information and context.
The new worker
This is what makes augmented reality key to the fourth Industrial Revolution, Industry 4.0. By bringing information into context augmented reality enables a new kind of worker that can learn while doing. It can show you which faultcode relates to which sensor, right in your engine bay. It can show you which exit you need to take directly onto the road. You can now see the torque you need to apply directly onto the bolt you’re tightening.
Augmented reality offers you instant expertise. It empowers you to do a new task first time right.
Augmented reality recognizes your world and filters information according to it. It forms a smart system that knows what you want to do and will help you do it. It reduces information load and lets you focus. And by using a smart wearable, such as Microsoft’s Hololens, you can get the information you need while still having your hands free to make it happen.
The real world
These qualities have allowed augmented reality and its close relative virtual reality to grow rapidly over the years. The industry is finding out that augmented reality is a way of making a worker learn faster, with fewer mistakes, and higher efficiency.
Augmented reality is deployed in a number of fields:
- Training and assistance
- Maintenance and inspection
- Sales and conversion
AR is a huge step in the field of technical documentation, for example. AR’s ability to show critical information has drawn the interest of several large companies who have complex tasks that need to be performed first-time-right. This proven effect is backed up by decades of research by respected parties such as Columbia University, VW, or NASA.
TWNKLS has performed a test for Koni with smart glasses to assist order pickers in their handling and routing through a warehouse. DHL launched a similar test with Google Glass, which resulted in the pickers working significantly faster, and also reducing mistakes by 40%.
Accuracy is key in this. For a stair lift manufacturer TWNKLS used AR technology to develop a system that measures stairwells based purely on visual input. You can now measure a stairwell, notorious for being error-prone and time consuming to measure, in minutes using only a simple iPad. This generates an automatic 3D reconstruction of the stairwell which is used to make the stair lift itself. This method isn’t just a lot faster than measuring by hand – it’s a lot more accurate a well. All measurements are accurate to 0.2%.
The results also speak for themselves in assembly situations. In a test with Boeing unskilled laborers were given a complex assembly task, assisted by either smart glasses or a paper manual. The group with smart glasses performed their task 30% faster and with 96% fewer errors than the other group. TWNKLS is now closely working together with DAF Trucks to apply these gains to DAF’s assembly process.
For machine manufacturer Wemo we created a groundbreaking Hololens application that lets a machine operator control his machine and schedule completely handsfree, wherever he wants. By offering full control at your fingertips this mobile solution saves time and costly mistakes.
Lastly the rich visualizations that augmented reality offers can be key in helping a customer choose a product. IKEA uses augmented reality to let a customer place a virtual piece of furniture in their own home for example, bringing the product close to the consumer. But you can use AR to configure your car, bringing a realistic yet playful element to picking out your perfect ride.
At TWNKLS we are one of the pioneers in this field. We know that augmented reality is about the interaction between humans and knowledge. Over five years of experience working for AAA customers has given us a broad portfolio of real-life solutions that work. For us AR is not science fiction, it is a proven way to create value. This leadership has equipped us with the knowledge to constantly push the boundaries of new technologies. Such as the proprietary technology that we develop to recognize the world more accurately and more faithfully than any other system on the market. Or how we combine experience and research in interacting with AR to make sure that our users can do what they want in the most natural way possible. At TWNKLS we create better interactions through innovative technology
We know that augmented reality is a proven way to bridge information and context. But it is also a disruptive field that is rapidly evolving. A lot of potential value is yet to be unlocked.
We are in the middle of a new wave of powerful wearable devices and finding new ways to interact with them. The field of augmented reality faces the challenge of matching these new possibilities with the real world. Augmented reality is part of an information revolution. Technology leaders and industry can now work together to empower a new kind of worker. We are no longer bound by fixed media, by books or screens that distract us.
We can take in knowledge while we apply it, letting us perform quickly and without fault. By bridging the gap between knowledge and action to transform the way we work, sell, and learn augmented reality is the driving force behind Industry 4.0.
Now is the time to empower your workers and join the fourth Industrial Revolution!