The Rise of Holograms
A hologram is a three-dimensional image formed by the interference of light beams from a coherent light source. The fascination with seeing and interacting with objects in three dimensions has led to multitude of advancements in a variety of fields including virtual and augmented reality. As the name suggests virtual reality replaces the real world with a simulated one where one can visualize and interact with 3D objects, in contrast augmented reality provides a composite view by superimposing a computer generated image or object on a user’s view of the real world.
Augmented reality applications are becoming popular as a result of widespread availability of supporting hardware including tablets (e.g. Asus Zenfone AR that uses Android based Tango), tethered headsets (e.g. Meta 2 from Metavision), and independent head-mounted displays (e.g. HoloLens from Microsoft). This augmentation of real world has a variety of applications and has been positively impacting traditional workflows. VR/AR technologies, such as Microsoft HoloLens, can provide immersive 3D experiences that truly redefine how end-users engage with the world. From ensuring the safety and ergonomics of new infrastructure designs, to comparing as-built against plan in order to reduce rework and ensure new module compatibility, to enabling group collaboration around 3D designs.
Technology advancements always aim to support and increase efficiency of industrial process either directly or indirectly. The same applies to augmented reality, for additional details let’s look at how the design process has adapted itself with new technology.
Design Pipeline Evolution
• Traditional design process - Traditional design process includes using a second monitor as a secondary display. This is helpful but is not intuitive as it lacks 3D perspective and forces an end-user to design 3D objects using a two dimensional view.
• Large touch interactive displays - Using a large multi-touch enabled display like Microsoft Surface makes the process more intuitive and improves usability if the application was developed keeping in mind haptic input.
• 3D visualization - The user experience when designing 3D models can be immensely improved when traditional design process is coupled better 3D visualization experience techniques like augmented reality. The image shows Microsoft HoloLens being used in conjunction with a large horizontal display to provide better 3D perspective.
• 3D interaction and multi-person collaboration - Collaborative interaction with data helps in better decision making.
First-Person View of a Model
Third-Person View of a Model
VizworX Inc. helps organizations improve their strategic planning, communication and decision-making by enabling them to better engage with their data through the use of leading edge technology solutions in a variety of domains including augmented reality, virtual reality, and data visualization. The images and videos included in this article are from an early preview of a product developed by VizworX Inc. that augments 3D computer aided design and planning process using Microsoft HoloLens.