In 2016, Microsoft wowed everyone with the HoloLens. Augmented reality (AR) headsets only seemed a futuristic dream up until then.
Right after the release of the HoloLens, Microsoft came out with some interesting videos showcasing the potential of its new headset. One video in particular, which they created with ThyssenKrupp, inspired a lot of people in industrial companies.
So here we are, two years after unboxing our very own first HoloLens headset. When we were asked by Cronos to explore the potential of the hardware, contributing to their sales pitch to an industrial production company, this is what we came up with…
Basically we envisioned an application – not unlike TeamViewer – which lets a technician share his field of view through the built-in RGB camera of the HoloLens. What TeamViewer does for IT support, this tool could do for repair technicians in a production environment.
Iteration 1: Communicating using the HoloLens
We envisioned an application through which you can video chat with a remote support agent. One person could be in the field, performing the repairs needed, while another could be sitting behind their desk, explaining how to perform the repairs. In the first iteration of the prototype we emulated this situation by using video footage in which we recorded ourselves through Skype.
Because the prototype should be applicable in different situations, we’ve allowed defining the location of different machine parts within the prototype – which can be seen in greater detail in this video.
Iteration 2: Incorporating Marker Recognition
To allow Cronos to showcase the possibilities of the HoloLens to even more potential clients, we decided to add image recognition functionality. We used Vuforia, which can recognize so-called markers. These markers are predefined 2D images which it can recognize in an environment. This way the HoloLens can recognize for instance a logo on their product, and then augment the user’s view with more information on the product.