When the concept of augmented reality (AR) was introduced, many experts believed it had the potential to add some form of value to almost every industry in the world.
We’re perhaps finally seeing more of its practical uses now, with the Infocomm Media Development Authority (IMDA) conducting a trial that equips shipyard engineers at Keppel Offshore & Marine with AR smart glasses, as The Straits Times reports.
These 5G-enabled wearables feed them key information about the machines they operate in real-time via digital overlays. The glasses themselves are equipped with a camera lens, a microphone, micro speaker and cellular connectivity. Meanwhile, the machines are equipped with sensors, which give them the ability to transmit data to the glasses.
Field engineers can, for example, use the glasses to check the weight of a load and a crane’s maintenance condition before asking their team to proceed with an operation. This reduces the chances of an accident happening as well as the frequency of periodic maintenance checks for the machines, which in turn helps the shipyard personnel work more efficiently.
In case an issue does occur during an operation, the smart glasses are capable of capturing and streaming real-time data to the command centre at Keppel's headquarters, where a team can then provide assistance.
The wearable can also display checklists of tasks for inspection personnel, saving them from having to carry around documents containing those lists.
Keppel expects to roll out the smart glasses for all its shipyard operations by the third quarter of 2023.
Keppel’s AR glasses project is part of the first batch of new projects under the IMDA’s 5G Innovation Programme, the goal of which is to accelerate the adoption of 5G solutions in Singapore. The programme also includes an initiative that looks to use holographic images to support healthcare services at the National University Hospital (NUH).
The holomedicine project, as it’s being called, aims to provide medical professionals access to realistic 3D holograms of patients’ anatomy, which can help surgeons, for instance, plan surgical operations. It can also enable holographic guides converted from CT or MRI scans to be overlaid on a patient, displaying specific instructions or other vital information during the actual operation.
A similar concept was recently used to separate conjoined twins in Brazil. Instead of AR, however, the doctors used VR to prepare for what has been described as the "most challenging and complex separation to date”.
The IMDA is conducting a trial that equips shipyard engineers at Keppel Offshore & Marine with 5G-enabled AR smart glasses capable of feeding real-time information about the machines used in maritime operations.
The information displayed by the wearable device can reportedly reduce the frequency of periodic maintenance checks for the machines, which in turn helps the shipyard personnel work more efficiently.
The project is part of IMDA's 5G Innovation Programme, the goal of which is to accelerate the adoption of 5G solutions in Singapore.