What is Mixed Reality in Manufacturing?
Mixed reality is becoming increasingly useful in many different industries. Mixed reality (MR) combines the digital world with reality, allowing the two to form something completely new.
For example, mixed reality technology can be used to create holograms. Microsoft has a head mount display (HMD) called HoloLens which produces a display that the user can alter with voice commands, hand gestures, or eye movements. The holograms are displayed in the “real” world, which is why this is considered mixed reality. The “mix” allows the user to understand how their ideas will come to life in the real world.
Manufacturing is one of the industries making use of this technology in a variety of ways. Here are some of the benefits of mixed reality in manufacturing:
- Maintenance can be simplified
Maintenance in the manufacturing industry was once done all onsite with the help of manuals. Mixed reality technology allows companies to get all the information they need to maintain equipment quickly and easily with HMDs. When problems occur, they can also hire remotely-based engineers and show them exactly what they are seeing through these devices.
- Training and continued education is enhanced
Mixed reality can be used extensively for training new employees or continuing education for seasoned ones. Workers can practice new skills in a virtual world without the risks of damaging equipment. This capability also increases safety and reduces costs. Interactive education speeds up the training process by allowing workers to be hands-on.
- Assist with the skilled labor shortage
As workers from the “Baby Boomer generation” retire, more skilled labor jobs will open up. In a study by Deloitte and The Manufacturing Institute, it was estimated there will be 2.4 million jobs left unfilled between 2018 and 2028, which potentially carries a $2.5 trillion impact. 60% of these jobs are left open today as workers retire, but fortunately, mixed reality can help assist in this area. New candidates often like the idea of working with modern technology and are more likely to take a job in an innovative workplace. Moreover, when new hires begin at their new companies, they can be trained with more ease and in less time.
- Collecting data
Mixed reality technology can also be a means for collecting data. Shipments of mixed reality headsets have seen an annual growth rate of 58 percent in just five years. These headsets, when worn by workers, can collect data as they look around and then communicate that information with other devices. This input can be used any way that the company sees fit, such as in predictive models.