Augmented Reality: Ready for manufacturing industries?

In a series of posts, I will put the spotlight on technologies that eventually will change how we manufacture and deliver products and services. My objective is to demystify the “fourth industrial revolution”— Industry 4.0 — by looking at the specific technologies it concerns. First out is Augmented Reality.

What is Augmented Reality?

The term “Augmented Reality” (AR) was coined at Boeing a quarter of a century ago. Today, the easiest way to explain AR is to refer to Pokémon GO. Niantic’s mobile game was released in July 2016 and has been downloaded more than 500 million times (as of September 2016). If you do not play it yourself, I bet you know a kid that does. Pokémon GO takes advantage of AR to create a game experience where virtual characters (Pokémon) are layered onto a map of the physical world. Players walk around in the real world in search of Pokémon. When a Pokémon appears, the game can shift from the map to showing the real-life environment (using the camera of the mobile device) and show the virtual Pokémon as part of the real world (Fig. 1). That is Augmented Reality. Pokémon GO is not the first AR game, but it represents a breakthrough of AR technology.

Augmented Reality vs. Virtual Reality

Augmented Reality is sometimes confused with Virtual