Through the eyes of the future

Augmented reality in production

You wear glasses so you can see better. You wear augmented-reality glasses so you can see more. These new spectacles enhance the surroundings with computer-aided information. Technologies with augmented reality (AR) make it possible to look at everyday situations as well as the working world of the future in a different way.

AR glasses feed computer-aided data directly into the wearer’s field of vision. Wearers of AR glasses thus receive additional information in real time , for example operating notes or repair instructions are placed into the user’s field of vision by a customer service employee. The superimposed area is blended in with the wearer's view of the world right in front of their eyes. But augmented reality won’t only be a feature of AR glasses; smartphones will also be able to supplement real-time camera recordings with information.

Users of the Microsoft HoloLens AR glasses can, for example, move freely around a room while making a video call. The video of the person they are talking to accompanies them across walls, furniture and windows while they walk around. Hand movements can be used to pin edited desktop windows to certain walls. The windows adjust their size according to the surface. It is obvious that this technology makes significant demands on the sensors. For AR glasses, optical camera sensors scan the surfaces and work together with non-optical sensors that determine rotation, acceleration or GPS data.

Sensors and display – interaction in real time

The display is the centrepiece of AR glasses. Unlike with a computer or smartphone, a special system is required to analyse the relationship between the eyes of the user, the surroundings and the display in real time. After all, virtual objects have to fit with the shape and position of objects and surfaces in the real world, or at least orientate themselves based on those.

The tracking system determines the precise position of the glasses. Sensors recognize even the tiniest of movements and adjust the display in real time. This is the only way that virtual objects can be updated if the system user moves their head. A comfortable AR experience is largely dependent on the virtual and real worlds overlapping precisely and in real time.