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What is augmented reality? Why is it so useful in the concrete industry?

by | Jul 14, 2021 | Innovation | 0 comments

Knowledge of terms such as Industry 4.0, the Internet of Things, artificial intelligence or augmented reality is sometimes taken for granted. At Frumecar, we believe that the usefulness of these new digital technologies begins when all the players in the sector – producers, customers, workers, etc. – have a clear image of what they involve.

In this post we are therefore going to explain the concept of augmented reality, its technological requirements and the fields in which AR (Augmented Reality) can be useful.

Augmented reality, from entertainment to industry

Augmented reality is based on the following premise: a person, by means of a device such as glasses, a tablet or a mobile phone, receives images of the physical and real elements of their environment combined with other digital ones.

Its initial development came from the world of video games. We all know the success that Nintendo had in 2016 with its Pokémon Go game. The game involves users going out in the streets with their mobile phones. Using their phone’s cameras – with GPS switched on – players have to find images of beings called Pokémon (a kind of cartoon) in the real locations where they are walking. The purpose of the application is for the player to interact through the screen with these virtual creatures.

The technological implications of AR

That’s what augmented reality essentially is. The second step in understanding this technology is explaining its basis. Or rather, asking: What elements are necessary for real objects to appear and interact with computer-generated images on a screen? Answering this question is fundamental to understanding the usefulness of this technology.

To work, AR technology has to:

Be able to locate the position and orientation of our screen or glasses anywhere on the planet. The development of GPS is what makes this feature possible.

  • Detect planes.  Be able to recognise the horizontal and vertical surfaces that are projected on the device.
  • Detect points. In addition to detecting the physical environment around the device, it must be possible to arbitrarily choose a specific point and have the system recognise and locate it.
  • Cubic representation of the medium. AR must also be able to generate a digital cubic map (in 3 dimensions) of what you see on the screen. This feature enables interaction between physical and virtual elements, and involves the detection of images (2-D) and objects (3D)
  • Brightness and colour. AR must also be sensitive to colours and light in the environment.
  • Detect faces. This feature is key to the use of AR in the industry.

These are the concepts that are studied in training programmes such as those of the Polytechnic University of Cartagena (https://teleco.upct.es/guia-docente/247101010). Frumecar collaborates with this institution to provide real study models and ecosystems and to obtain technological solutions that make its services and products cheaper and more competitive. This alliance is mutually beneficial

AR boosts concrete industry profits

Savings, in terms of time and resources, constitute the ‘third leg’ of AR. It provides employees and customers in the concrete industry with a simple and efficient tool for installation, commissioning, maintenance and troubleshooting.

An example of this is the way in which Frumecar offers remote assistance. A client experiencing a problem in a plant or with a specific component can contact us. That client is initially guided through the steps to install our AR app, which is easily downloadable from the Android or Apple stores. With the application running, Frumecar technicians can then see on their screen what the client is seeing, and interact with that person by making annotations and drawings that are integrated into the real-world image being viewed through the camera. This allows the client to handle these components with the same precision and safety as our technicians.

This remote assistance can reduce the time necessary to resolve the incident by 80%. In this way, any stoppages caused by the incident are minimal, ensuring that the plant resumes production within the shortest possible time. The use of this technology also provides a high level of autonomy to the client.

Autonomy, savings and time are just some of the benefits that a technology like AR can bring to the concrete sector.

At Frumecar, innovation is part of our DNA, and we are convinced of the importance of putting the latest technologies at the service of our clients. With AR, we can offer you comprehensive remote assistance services to facilitate commissioning and maintenance of your installations, resolve incidents or provide any advice you may need. And all this in a fast, simple and safe manner.

In this video you understand how Frumecar uses AR in its remote assistance service.

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