Augmented Reality (AR) technology is a fairly new revolutionary concept of "virtual reality." As the name implies, through AR elements of reality are augmented via the use of computer sensors that can enhance what one hears, sees and feels. An example of an AR-related device is a pair of wearable smart glasses, much like Google’s (News - Alert) current prototype eyewear, Google Glass. These AR glasses provide data to the wearers of what’s in front of their eyes in real-time; reality becomes interactive and digitally manipulated by the person wearing the glasses.
Many businesses can benefit from the usage of AR technology, with the technology capable of providing enhanced performance of a task in a virtual, but real-life setting. There are also augmented reality apps available that can be used to annotate objects, public spaces and environments.
Some businesses have used augmented reality to assist employees doing tasks and making repairs in the field. Current augmented reality specs are now available thanks to the work of two companies: SAP (News - Alert), the technology expert in business management software, solutions and services and Vuzix, a marketer in video-eyewear technology. Both companies have been working together to combine SAP’s software with Vuzix’s hardware to launch augmented reality for industrial applications.
Vuzix has the M100 specs, a set of smart glasses the company has developed to allow users hands-free access to data from Smartphones and the Internet. The M100 is a personal information display system that runs on Android (News - Alert) and allows access to video, text, audio and information to users, wherever they are.
The glasses also feature a built-in GPS, an integrated head tracker with three-degree freedom, a 720p HD video recording system, a camera with a Micro SD slot, and a microphone. Virtually hands-free, the device responds to wearer gestures and voice commands.
The M100 features a monitor suitable for indoor and outdoor viewing, and allows vision from either eye. Although the glasses’ processor runs an Android operating system, apps both for Android and iOS can be linked to the device.
The glasses have a battery life of eight hours; however, the battery will last only two hours if using the display and one hour if using the camera as well. A wireless connection is available through Bluetooth technology or 802.11b/g/n Wi-Fi.
The integration of the M100 technology with SAP’s existing solutions allows workers access to information they need while carrying out their duties. Data is streamed in real time from SAP systems to the glasses.
The combined efforts of SAP and Vuzix have created a product that can help with real world business tasks. With data coming in and displayed in real-time, workers can act and respond quickly to instructions and to on-screen alerts.
The augmented reality glasses and app can be of assistance for loading, unloading and handling merchandise, for knowing where to pick up inventory, and for allowing employees to interact with animated stock lists. The device can even help in the control of warehousing functions and ultimately help streamline the process and reduce mistakes.
As SAP and Vuzix said in a release, the implementation of AR tools is a solution that “is ideal for complex work as well as simple and repetitive work with high compliance requirements.” The system is simple enough to be used by inexperienced workers and is scalable to adapt to the needs of businesses of all sizes.
Edited by Rory J. Thompson
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