Augmented reality at workplace: ‘It’s not sci-fi’

| Michaela Nesvarova

Virtual and augmented reality for industrial applications. That is the specialty of the Industrial Reality Hub. This consortium of Twente-based companies and institutes, including the UT, will have its official launch on the 14th of March in the Gallery.

Photo by: Gijs van Ouwerkerk
Roy Damgrave in the VR-Lab at the UT

Imagine coming to work at, let’s say, a car manufacturer. You walk to your station where you need to assemble a complicated car part. Instead of reading a long manual, you put on your AR (augmented reality) glasses and they literally show you what to do. That is the type of project that the Industrial Reality Hub aims to work on – by helping companies to integrate virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) into their workflows.

‘What we do in Twente is top notch’

The Industrial Reality Hub was initiated last year. The UT has been involved since the very beginning, contributing the expertise of the university’s Virtual Reality laboratory (VR-Lab) / Smart Industry laboratory (SI-Lab). ‘There are a lot of companies in Twente focused on virtual or augmented reality for industry, but it is not well known,’ says Roy Damgrave from the VR-Lab. ‘Oost NL therefore initiated the Hub to show that what we do in Twente in this field is top notch.’ 

The consortium is just starting to work together, and so joint projects are still in the making. But the goal of the Hub is clear. ‘We aim for integration of VR and AR in the manufacturing environment,’ says Damgrave. ‘We don’t want this technology to be just something extra used by a few managers. We want it to be really useful in daily work, to function as a supportive tool for employees. For instance, AR can offer personalized support to someone working on an assembly line, or we can use VR for training of employees.’

The above example with AR goggles is therefore highly realistic. ‘It’s not sci-fi,’ stresses Damgrave. ‘This is all here and within reach. The technology is now affordable, more reliable and can be scaled up for use in big or small companies.’

Kick-off

The Industrial Reality Hub is organizing a kick-off event on the 14th of March in the Gallery. This small symposium aims to show how companies can implement VR or AR technology. Apart from all the consortium partners, which include for example Demcon and ControlLab, the event will welcome Martin Tirion from Microsoft, who will present the keynote speech.