Virtual and Augmented Reality has received a lot of press recently, despite being around for over 30 years. After huge advancements in screen technology and computational processing power, the technology is no longer confined to big businesses with multi-million euro budgets. This is partly due to the mobile phone industry, the LED and OLED screens are now lighter with higher-density displays, allowing for relatively cheap Head Mounted Displays (HMDs).
Linked with hardware improvements, software has evolved for producing environments and 3D assets which are believable and interactable. All of this brought together has formed the perfect storm for Virtual and Augmented Reality to become accessible to a much wider audience.
Irish Manufacturing Research has made huge investments in the technology, as we strongly believe it can be used to assist your staff to perform more effectively in many areas, including but not limited to Training, Communication, Processes and Data Visualisation. Where VR and AR technologies are different to other machines within a facility, these HMDs interact directly with your staff, adding to their visual and audible perception.
Virtual or Augmented – The two ends of a sliding scale:
At first glance, the two technologies look very similar, however, they are for completely different use cases. When in Virtual Reality, the wearer has no perception of their surroundings. This allows for full separation from the real world, enabling them to believe they are in a totally different location or time.
Conversely, Augmented Reality uses transparent displays which allow the wearer to have a full view of the space they are located. Accurate tracking then allows the HMD to add (augment) what the user sees, by adding visuals and audio into their view.
Practical uses of VR:
Pilots have been trained in virtual environments for decades. By placing a person in a believable environment which is systematic and controlled, you are able to precisely expose them to specific scenarios for training, desensitisation, evaluation and many other use cases. The controlled and systematic nature also allows multiple people to go through identical situations or training scenarios, regardless of time of day, trainer fatigue or other external factors.
Practical uses of AR:
Similar to VR, AR allows a systematic interaction except in AR, this is within a real-world space. Various examples of AR could be a heads-up display, which shows real-time sensor data to the wearer, which allows them to more accurately do a task. Other examples include the playback of audio and visuals like maps, live feeds from colleagues in remote locations, and visualisations from manufacturing tools.
Challenges to adopt and embed VR and/or AR technology:
Companies across Ireland are experiencing this technology at very different rates, and there are many barriers to entry. Often the first questions we hear companies ask is:
What hardware to purchase?
Where should I be using VR?
Why would I change my existing processes to include VR/AR?
How do I create custom assets to match my production?
We are here to help. We have the widest selection of HMDs for you to experience and have implementations and examples of them interacting with real-world hardware you will be familiar with.