Moving a step closer to bringing augmented reality (AR) to the manufacturing industry, the Digital Manufacturing and Design Innovation Institute (DMDII), a UI LABS collaboration, announced that it has issued seven national applied research, development and demonstration awards. Included in these projects is a focus on AR for use on manufacturing shop floors, as well as wearable and mobile devices to address several digital manufacturing and design topics.
“We are excited to continue to advance applied R&D within our core technology focus areas,” said Dr. Dean Bartles, CMO of UI LABS and executive director of DMDII in a press release. “With each project call, we bring additional researchers, global industry leaders and small companies into our consortium and move closer to making technologies related to ‘smart manufacturing’ and ‘brilliant factory’ applicable to manufacturers across the country.”
The use of AR in manufacturing would allow embedded visual instructions in an individual’s environment through projection, wearable elements or handheld devices. In turn, this could reduce training time and errors at multiple stages of the manufacturing process. AR could also allow companies to redeploy individuals to other tasks then rather than focus on time-consuming training sessions or micromanaging employees.
“A critical element to driving manufacturing competitiveness is delivering work instructions to our skilled workforce,” said Craig Sutton, manager of Advanced Manufacturing at Deere & Company, in the press release. “Given the amount of complexity that this workforce manages, written instructions remain a challenging medium. A tool like augmented reality will enable us to improve our productivity and quality measures in our operations.”
The projects involving AR, Manufacturing Work Instructions on Wearable and Mobile Devices with Augmented Reality, led by the Rochester Institute of Technology, and Authoring Augmented Reality Work Instructions by Expert Demonstration, led by Iowa State University, reflect the potential that AR holds for the industrial sector.
Information about DMDII projects can be found at dmdii.org/projects.