Congratulations, you’re an aerospace engineer. Building planes is hard but you’re really good at it, especially working with engines. But, today there’s a problem with the exhaust and the senior mechanic is out at a different station. So, you grab a tablet and connect to an augmented reality instructional manual that presents 3D animations that virtually sit on the part in question. And if you’re stumped, someone could talk you through the process, and in real-time, draw instructions on the screen.
That’s the kind of workplace solution Scope AR wants to sell to a whole ecosystem of companies, manufacturers, and mechanics trying to keep up with today’s technology when experienced engineers are limited in number.
“It used to be that you had a workforce where it wasn’t unusual for the same guy to stay in the same job for 35 years … he’d be the best darn wing mechanic and know everything about it,” Scott Montgomerie, CEO and co-founder of Scope AR, tells Inverse. “That just doesn’t happen anymore. … no single user knows everything about a particular problem.”
Last year, the San Francisco-based company launched an app called Remote AR that allows users to chat in augmented reality.
The largest barrier to augmented reality implementation in enterprise applications used to be the challenge of putting a device in everyone’s hand. However, smartphones and tablets are becoming powerful enough to do the job, and companies like Scope AR are turning their attention to constructing the software systems that will enable users to build their own content.
“The last barrier to entry is content creation,” says Montgomerie. “Those projects that took us six months or three months to build a few years ago take us one day now.”
“The company has the knowledge but it’s probably not where it’s needed at the time.” Montgomerie continues. “You got a guy who doesn’t know what he’s doing — he’s a generalist not a specialist — and he needs to connect with that single expert who can solve the problem for him. We think augmented reality is a great way to do that if it has an intuitive interface. It’s like having someone over your shoulder guiding you on what to do.”
Thanks to depth-sensor technology from Microsoft’s Hololens and Google’s Project Tango, these steps could soon be simplified when devices are sophisticated enough to scan objects in real time without the need for previously crafted 3D models.
Google has already partnered with LG to bring Project Tango to the first smartphone later this year, and earlier they announced a depth camera enabled tablet.