Global Fastener News

Report: Google Glass Helps Assemble Spaceships

Report: Google Glass Helps Assemble Spaceships
June 03
18:42 2019

MEDIA SPOTLIGHT – Once deemed too awkward and pretentious, Google Glass is making a comeback in manufacturing.

“If consumers aren’t quite ready to sport eyewear that uses voice commands to browse the internet or hold video conferences, workers on the factory floor are,” writes Thomas Black of Bloomberg News.

Alphabet, along with Microsoft Corp. and some startups, are bringing “wearables” back to make warehouses and manufacturing more efficient.

Wearables (eyewear, wristwear or headgear) boost productivity by giving multitasking employees more flexibility to work without juggling an iPad or laptop, giving workers a significant advantage.

Lockheed Martin Corp. recently adopted Microsoft’s HoloLens for manufacturing spacecraft, Bloomberg News reports.

“Donning what looks like a pair of heavy duty safety goggles with a black band wrapping around the head, a technician can use images projected onto the lenses to mark the locations for 309 fasteners to be attached to a curved panel,” Black writes. “When the technician or the panel moves, the computer adjusts.”

The $3,500 HoloLens reduced the task to a 2.5 hour job, down from two days when using traditional measuring tools, said Shelley Peterson, who leads Lockheed’s emerging technologies division.

“We’re seeing a return on investment in the first use,” she said.

Product developers say the key to commercial success is to augment reality, not replace it.

“Users can still see the real world while referencing the virtual world whenever they need it,” writes Black.

While developers hope wearables will eventually replace smartphones, current devices are still cumbersome and lack the ability to be “truly immersive,” which limits their usefulness.

But technology is quickly catching up with user demand. Google has relaunched its computerized eyewear for commercial use and recently announced a second version, dubbed Glass Enterprise Edition 2, which can be used to access checklists or instructions, send photos and conduct video calls.

Glass customers include include Sutter Health, DHL’s supply-chain unit and farm-equipment maker Agco Corp., according to Jay Kothari, who leads the project. Companies using Glass report efficiency gains of between 20% and 50%, Kothari said.

“The hands-free aspect is what’s really revolutionizing our approach here,” said Michael Kaldenbach, head of digital realities for Royal Dutch Shell Plc. “We’re shifting from the speed of your thumb to the speed of speech.”

Editor’s Note: Articles in Media Spotlight are excerpts from publications or broadcasts that show what the public is reading or hearing about fasteners and fastener companies.

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