Category Archives: By Daniel Sternklar

Russian Spacecraft Docking Attempt No Earlier Than Monday

International Space Station Configuration
International Space Station Configuration. Four spaceships are parked at the space station including the SpaceX Dragon cargo craft and Russia’s Progress 73 resupply ship and Soyuz MS-12 and MS-13 crew ships.

An uncrewed Russian Soyuz MS-14 spacecraft is now a safe distance away from the International Space Station following an abort during its final approach for a docking to the Poisk module.

After the cosmonauts on the station aborted an automated docking attempt early Saturday, Russian flight controllers told the crew on the station that early data indicates the issue that prevented its automated docking resides on the station’s side of the so-called KURS automated rendezvous system, not on the Soyuz itself.

The Soyuz is on a safe trajectory above and behind the space station that will bring it in the vicinity of the orbital complex again in 24 hours and 48 hours. Russian flight controllers have indicated the next earliest docking attempt could be Monday morning.

In the meantime, Russian controllers informed Expedition 60 commander Alexey Ovchinin and flight engineer Alexander Skvortsov of the Russian federal space agency Roscosmos they will send instructions to swap the signal amplifier of the station’s KURS docking system and test it before proceeding with another docking attempt.

The Soyuz launched from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan on Wednesday, Aug. 21, at 11:38 p.m. EDT (8:38 a.m. Aug. 22 Baikonur time) on a test flight to validate the spacecraft’s compatibility with a revamped Soyuz booster rocket.

Learn more about station activities by following the space station blog@space_station and @ISS_Research on Twitter as well as the ISS Facebook and ISS Instagram accounts.

Life Science Today as Crew Readies for Spacecraft Arrivals and Departures

Expedition 60 crewmembers Alexey Ovchinin, Luca Parmitano and Andrew Morgan
Expedition 60 crewmembers (from left) Alexey Ovchinin, Luca Parmitano and Andrew Morgan pose for a portrait inside the vestibule between the Columbus laboratory module and the Harmony module.

The Expedition 60 crew is continuing ongoing space science today and packing a U.S. resupply ship for departure next week. Russia’s first unpiloted Soyuz spacecraft is also on its way to the International Space Station where it will dock early Saturday morning.

Four astronauts, Luca Parmitano of ESA (European Space Agency) with Christina Koch, Andrew Morgan and Nick Hague, all from NASA, are readying the SpaceX Dragon for its return to Earth. They will be packing Dragon with cargo and completed space experiments all weekend and into Monday.

Ground controllers will remotely command the Canadarm2 robotic arm to detach Dragon from the Harmony module before releasing it into orbit on Tuesday at 10:42 a.m. EDT. SpaceX personnel will retrieve Dragon from the Pacific Ocean after its splashdown off the coast of southern California a few hours later. NASA TV begins its live broadcast of Dragon’s departure on Tuesday at 10:15 a.m.

A multitude of space experiments is continuing aboard the orbiting lab today. Hague explored how moss grows in microgravity to inform self-sustaining human missions to the Moon and Mars. Koch serviced 3D printed tissue samples for a study investigating printing human organs in space. Parmitano researched cell differentiation to help doctors design medical therapies for humans on Earth and in space. Finally, Morgan collected and spun his blood samples in a centrifuge before stowing them in a science freezer for analysis.

The two cosmonauts, Alexey Ovchinin and Alexander Skvortsov, will be up early Saturday several hours before the rest of their crewmates. They will be monitoring the automated arrival of the Soyuz MS-14 spacecraft set to dock to the Poisk module at 1:31 a.m. EDT Saturday. It will stay there for two weeks before undocking and parachuting to a landing in Kazakhstan with no crew onboard Sept. 6.

Uncrewed Russian Spacecraft Aborts Station Approach

The unpiloted Soyuz MS-14 spacecraft
The unpiloted Soyuz MS-14 spacecraft is pictured near the International Space Station.

At 1:36 a.m. EDT, Russian cosmonauts issued a command to abort the automated approach of an uncrewed Russian Soyuz spacecraft to the International Space Station after the craft was unable to lock onto its target at the station’s space-facing Poisk module.

The Soyuz MS-14 spacecraft launched from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan on Wednesday, Aug. 21, at 11:38 p.m. EDT (8:38 a.m. Aug. 22 Baikonur time) on a test flight. It made 34 orbits of Earth en route to its anticipated docking to the station.

Following the abort, the spacecraft backed a safe distance away from the orbital complex while the Russian flight controllers assess the next steps.

Learn more about station activities by following the space station blog@space_station and @ISS_Research on Twitter as well as the ISS Facebook and ISS Instagram accounts.

Fable Studio’s ‘Lucy’ The First Virtual Being To Win Emmy

Wolves in the Walls takes home the award for Outstanding Innovation in Interactive Media.

Fable Studio, the developer behind emotional rollercoaster Wolves in the Walls, today announced that the interactive VR film has officially been awarded the Primetime Emmy for ‘Outstanding Innovation in Interactive Media.’ Competing alongside ILMxLAB’s episodic Star Wars VR series, Vader Immortal: Episode One, Wolves in the Walls’ win marks the first Emmy award given to a project involving an artificial personality, aka a virtual being.

Based on Neil Gaiman’s award-winning book of the same name, Wolves in the Walls follows 8-year old Lucy, an imaginative young girl who begins to suspect the walls of her home are filled with ferocious wolves. As we follow Lucy throughout her journey, we experience the immersive story from her emotional point-of-view.

For example, when Lucy turns off the lights of her attic, the room begins to contort and twist as she becomes more afraid; as she attempts to explain the danger to her emotionally-distant father, we see his character grow further and further away from Lucy physically. The story is told through a series of visual metaphors that represent Lucy’s emotions. 

Image Credit: Fable Studio

“This is an experience about togetherness, a relationship between a character, Lucy and a person, You,” said Pete Billington (Creative Director) & Jessica Shamash (Creative Producer) in an official release. “This is about a child’s imagination and taking you back to your childhood friendships.”

“The feelings where anything was possible and everything was larger than life. It’s seeing the world through an 8-year olds eyes. We go so far as to rescale you to Lucy’s height, which creates this intimate bond and connection so you are literally seeing the world through her eyes. You’re not just watching a character’s story, you’re a part of it.”

Image Credit: Fable Studio

Lucy, however, is much more than a simple NPC (nonplayable character). Using a combination of machine learning technology and artificial intelligence, Lucy is capable of interacting with users on a deeper level than a scripted avatar.

The AI remembers conversations between itself and the user, retains key data, and then uses that information in later interactions. Users form an emotional bond with Lucy during these personalized discussions, instilling a powerful feeling of empathy in the process. 

Image Credit: Fable Studio

“In order to balance narrative and the ability to use your hands, we’ve structured the experience around intuitive interactions that advance the narrative or bring us closer to Lucy. It is the difference between conscious and subconscious interaction,” Shamash explains.

“Natural, intuitive interactions were the big unlock for us. They promote deep character connections and shared sense memories,” adds Billington. “Sometimes when you are exploring in the dark it’s comforting to know that others are not too far away, hands outstretched, searching alongside you. It has been inspiring to be part of this juried award category. We are humbled and grateful for the encouragement and recognition.”

Fable Studio’s Wolves in the Walls joins last years Outstanding Innovation in Interactive Media winner, Oculus Studios’ Henry.

“This is the first Virtual Being project to receive an Emmy but it won’t be the last,” adds Edward Saatchi, Co-founder of Fable Studio.”Virtual Beings from lil Miquela to Mica, from Alexa to Lucy are revolutionizing storytelling and beginning to harness machine learning to create meaningful relationships with us.”

“Eventually a Virtual Being will win an Oscar for their performance in a live-action movie, win a Grammy for best album of the year, be your favorite celebrity on Instagram, your favorite spiritual guide and, eventually … your OS.”

Featured Image Credit: Fable Studio

The post Fable Studio’s ‘Lucy’ The First Virtual Being To Win Emmy appeared first on VRScout.

How To Use Augmented Reality in Any Subject Area

Does augmented reality have a place in your classroom? Across subject areas and grade levels, educators are bringing augmented reality learning experiences to their students. But if you’ve wondered how to use augmented reality in your classroom, I’m excited to share a handful of ideas and a fantastic back-to-school promotion to get you started.

I was first introduced to the possibilities of augmented reality in education at my very first ISTE Conference in San Antonio, Texas, in 2013. I already had an idea of what augmented looked like and what it might be able to do. But most of my “experience” was from watching science fiction movies. After that first conference, my wheels started spinning about potential use cases for augmented reality. However, it was hard to find clear curriculum connections that made AR more than a “wow” factor in my classroom.

Augmented Reality in Education

Last year I connected with the folks behind 3DBear, an AR tool that turns teachers and students into creators. I’ve talked about 3DBear on the blog in the past, including its connection to Web 3.0, ways to use augmented reality for storytelling, and project ideas for science classrooms. 3DBear can help support phenomenon-based learning too.

If you’re a regular follower of the blog or listener of the podcast, you’ve probably seen me use the phrase “tasks before apps.” With any open-ended creation tool, for as much as I’m excited to see what it does, I care way more about how teachers and students can use it in the classroom.

So in addition to sharing 3DBear’s special back-to-school promotion, I also want to make sure you have some ideas to customize and tailor to the needs of your students. First off, here are the details about the promotion. From July 30th to September 30th, 2019, if you sign up for the free trial from within the 3DBear app, you’ll automatically get one month extra, for a total of two months free.

Head straight to your favorite App Store and download the 3DBear app for iOS (iPad & iPhone) and Android (on the Google Play Store).

How To Use Augmented Reality

If you’re interested in ways to use augmented reality in your classroom this year, I have a few subject area-specific ideas to share with you. It’s important to remember that there isn’t one right way to integrate technology into your instruction, and these are ideas you can customize. Of course, you might have goals for using AR with students that go beyond traditional curriculum connections, like building empathy or problem-solving.

AR Activity Ideas

English Language Arts: Students can read a short passage and recreate a scene. You might ask them to write a paragraph that goes along with their augmented reality representation. This is a great opportunity for students to make connections to the text. For a collaborative project, a class can create a video retelling scenes from a book they’ve read as a call. You might even have small groups of students create a video for different scenes. Then, they can play these scenes in the order they appear in the book. Here is a link to a video based on Goodnight Moon.

Science: 3DBear has an extensive collection of dinosaur elements that can fly around your students’ screens. This feature makes it an excellent choice for discussing habitats and parts of the world once inhabited by these creatures. In the video below, you get a feel for what it looks like to place a T-Rex outside of your school building!

Social Studies: Students can explore festivals from around the world and create a scene with a special celebration. 3DBear has a large collection of elements for students to add to their scenes, or they can design their own.

Math: You might ask students to redesign a space in their school or community, and use augmented reality to represent their design proposal. Students can use Tinkercad to build elements with specific, scaled measurements to add to 3DBear.

Design Thinking with Augmented Reality

With 3DBear, students can explore design thinking principles within an augmented reality space. After accepting a challenge and researching the topic, students can discuss potential solutions and obstacles and decide on their design. 3DBear has collections of elements students can use to layer a virtual object on top of a real place. By layering elements over a space, students can create an augmented reality experience. Students can also design elements using third-party integrations.

Then students can compose a description of their planned response to a problem and build a scene in augmented reality in 3DBear. 3DBear provides users with a few different options for documenting and presenting their final augmented reality scene too. So students can create a video or snap a picture to go along with their written description.

Standards for Teaching Augmented Reality

When reviewing your standards and learning goals for the upcoming school year, you might not see the term augmented reality listed in any state-wide or school-wide documents. However, a quick review of the Standards for Mathematical Practice in the Common Core reminds us that “model with mathematics” can take many forms — including an augmented reality model.

The same is true when reviewing the English Language Arts Anchor Standards and the goals you have for students as speakers and listeners this school year. Here is a link to a slide deck with high level ELA, Science, Math, and Social Studies standards. You can see how building stories and solutions in augmented reality hits so many of the areas we want children to learn.

In the video above, you can see some of the ways augmented reality is used in schools across the country. I had the opportunity to meet with Susan Sclafani last year. She is a passionate educator at a school just a few miles from where I grew up. It was so exciting to hear about the ways she is using 3DBear in her classroom. Thinking about how to use augmented reality this school year? I definitely encourage you to explore this dynamic tool!

Ready to dive in? Just download the app and sign up for a free trial! Head straight to your favorite App Store. Use this link to find the 3DBear app for iOS (iPad & iPhone) and Android (on the Google Play Store).


This post is sponsored by 3DBear. All opinions are my own.

How To Use Augmented Reality in Any Subject Area

Designed by Innovation – Porsche

The timeless Porsche design on new paths: Together with Meyle+Müller and medialesson, Porsche has now launched a new innovative project that is revolutionising the design process of their sports cars. The use of mixed reality technology has allowed them to create exciting use cases in unison that pledge a tremendous increase in efficiency.

We spoke to Pablo Kern at Meyle+Müller, Philipp Bauknecht at medialesson and Sebastian Reher at Porsche about this unique collaboration, its background and, of course, its results.

Mr Reher, what is Porsche’s „traditional“ design process like and how have the general conditions changed over recent years?

Sebastian Reher: New vehicle designs – both their exterior and interior – are still depicted through physical models at Porsche using manual labour and great attention to detail before being fine-tuned and made ready for series production. This iterative process that takes several months also entails a digital representation of the models. The design is further developed in parallel or alternation to the physical model or in the digital world. Digital data is transferred to the physical model or returned into the digital world using modern milling and scanning technology. In recent years, Porsche has significantly expanded its product portfolio, and the number of derivatives and selectable options has steadily increased. In order to be able to continue to take into account the high quality standards, we began to virtually accompany the entire design process 15 years ago to increase decision-making security through visualisations that are as realistic as possible. This allows decisions to now be made purely on a virtual basis as long as there is no model (yet), which significantly increases the iteration speed, particularly in the early stage of design.

When did the need to redefine this process ultimately arise?

Reher: The design never comes to a standstill. Our products and processes aren’t the only things to have continuously developed, we also keep an eye on new technologies and methods alongside improving the quality of virtual representation. We identified the advantages of virtual reality early on and integrated this technology into our daily work with so-called “VR glasses”.

How did you come up with the idea of searching for a solution in mixed reality?

Reher: Following virtual reality one might suppose that augmented reality or the broader field of mixed reality would be the next logical step in technology. But the technology itself is not relevant to us. Our focus is always on how to further optimise our processes and how AR can help us in a case such as this. The idea was to complete the physical design models with virtual representations and to make technical parts that are hidden beneath the outer shell, such as the headlight interior, visible through overlay.

This allows missing components to be added virtually to the physical model with all the freedom that virtual representation has to offer, something that would otherwise involve a great deal of cost and effort. Geometric variants of different colour schemes can therefore be depicted just as easily as complex animations – such as our adaptive aerodynamics. Additional metadata such as vehicle dimensions can therefore be superimposed with precision.

Mr Bauknecht, what kinds of companies typically approach you and what are the most common requirements?

Philipp Bauknecht: Our customers include companies and institutions of various sizes and industries, from global players such as Porsche, Microsoft and Telekom to medium-sized and highly specialised world market leaders such as Balluff. Our mission is to support our customers as a true partner with the digital transformation of their business models, products and processes through consultation, strategy, design, development, training and operation with cutting-edge technologies. There are multiple possible fields of application for mixed reality. In the automotive industry it can also be relevant to marketing and sales applications, in addition to the visualisation of 3D data for design and development. There is also tremendous potential for increasing efficiency in applying mixed reality to quality assurance in production and training service employees. Mixed reality is not only relevant to large-scale companies, but also offers medium-sized enterprises to stand out on the market.

How has the technology developed over recent years and what can we expect from its application in the short and medium term?

Bauknecht: The term “mixed reality” was coined by Microsoft when it launched the first AR glasses in 2015 with the first generation of the HoloLens, initially as a developer version. The platform has since undergone rapid development. The introduction of Magic Leap in 2018 saw the emergence of an exciting competitor on the market, and that same year, Microsoft introduced the long-awaited second generation of its glasses. The improvement and balance between an ever- increasing viewable area, improved comfort for longer use and increased display performance play a crucial role in the technology’s further development. The second generation of the HoloLens, which was introduced this year, has already significantly surpassed the first HoloLens in all these aspects while offering vastly more intuitive use through hand and eye tracking and a built-in artificial intelligence chip, for instance, in order to identify and classify objects.

Why did Meyle+Müller opt for medialesson as its IT partner?

Pablo Kern: Initially the main reason was that we complement one another perfectly in terms of expertise. Our partnership has greatly benefited from the combination of our skills. Together with medialesson we have not only been able to cover the entire range of 3D data and CGI (Computer Generated Imagery), but also provide complex software development while meeting the high standards of the entire project. One of the most important aspects of our collaboration was the shared vision of all those involved, something which motivated us to achieve our goal every single day.

Mr Kern, what exactly was Meyle+Müller’s task in this project?

Kern: The close-knit and highly productive contact with one another was there from the start, and so we were already incorporated during the creation of the vision and while designing the contents of the project together with medialesson and Porsche. Throughout the whole time we were always involved in the constant coordination in order to continually align requirements and advantages with the concept in an agile manner. Key account management and feasibility within the budget and timeframe were also crucial tasks throughout the entire project. But our most important contribution was certainly our ability to work with data that is kept under conditions of extreme secrecy. Thanks to our long-term experience with CGI in the automotive and manufacturing industry, this was certainly our absolute core competence in this project.

What were the main challenges?

Kern: Technology can only be as successful as its user friendliness. The latest innovations won’t do much good if users won’t accept it in practice. In this project this specifically means that projected objects must be transferred onto the model in a precise and photorealistic manner, as decisions can only be made through perfect results during the design process. At the same time, a minimal data volume must be ensured despite these high technology requirements and Porsche’s extreme high-resolution 3D models.

Bauknecht: I see things in a similar way – for us the greatest challenge during this project lay in the combination of real, physical objects and digital, holographic contents. The headlights of a car were digitally applied to a clay model, for instance. Tremendous precision is required to allow the holograms to be positioned in a stable manner.

Mr. Kern, was the Porsche project able to benefit from your media production know-how?

Kern: Absolutely! We have been working with a large workforce in the automotive sector for several decades, and so we are used to handling complex data of this sort. Furthermore, our aim has always been to be “best in class”. I think that it was only through this experience and our motivation that we were able to get such an innovative and unique project on the road with our partners medialesson and Porsche.

A hackathon took place in November 2018 as part of this collaboration. What were you expecting from this event and what was the outcome?

Bauknecht: We regularly organise hackathons at medialesson in order to generate new approaches and ideas together with our customers. We see the open exchange of skills, ideas and contacts in the developer community and with other companies as a great benefit to all those involved. The hackathon that was organised together with Porsche, Microsoft and Meyle+Müller, was no exception. In addition to exciting ideas and impressive prototypes, the event led to lively discussions and allowed many new connections to be established.

Kern: The hackathon was a long-held dream that we pursued in this setup. Our aim was to push the limits of feasibility and to find inspiration and viable approaches. The draw of prizes, a cool topic and a great location ultimately meant we received more applications from participants than we had hoped for. We were also joined by several experts from our customers’ companies who got involved and incorporated their ideas. For the hosts, which officially also included Microsoft and Porsche alongside medialesson and Meyle, this platform and meeting was unique and highly beneficial to all those involved, including in terms of potential recruiting, inspiration and marketing.

Reher: As mentioned before, technology itself is not the solution, it also depends on the fields of application and especially the people to find new, thrilling ways in which to use this technology. That’s why we thought a hackathon in a creative environment might be a good opportunity to continue working on this thrilling topic.

Please tell us more about the composition of the individual teams and the collaboration during the event.

Kern: Despite or perhaps because of the major differences between the three companies, especially in terms of their fundamental focus, size and experience in this area, it resulted in a perfect complement for the entire project. This created a harmonic team that worked towards one goal in unison and on equal footing. This dynamic was also demonstrated during the hackathon, where vastly different personalities came together.

Bauknecht: Most of the teams spontaneously formed on site and came from diverse backgrounds. We had several international participants, software developers, designers and representatives from various companies, all of whom worked across companies in an interdisciplinary manner.

Reher: Fortunately there was a very open and cooperative atmosphere, so one of our colleagues spontaneously decided to join a team and help them work on their concept. Several exciting functions based on mixed reality had been developed by the end of the projects, such as the 3D voice memos or x-ray vision.

Which developments are you particularly proud of?

Kern: I am especially proud of the overall quality and the realistic visualisation of the use cases. Each one of them stands out on its own and provides added value that would not have been attainable without this technology.

Bauknecht: As software developers, the simple and marker-free recognition of the vehicles through artificial intelligence and the subsequent precise positioning of the holograms is the greatest achievement, and simultaneously the basis for all specialist use cases.

In which areas of your design process do you think this new technology will bring the most advantages in the future, Mr Reher?

Reher: I expect the main advantages to occur in closing the gap between the real and the virtual world. Virtually supplementing information where it is needed and displaying it in the correct context will allow us to further upgrade our design models in the future. A meeting will therefore no longer have to switch back and forth between a model and a presentation screen, instead it will allow all relevant information to be displayed in one place.

What experiences have you personally gained from this project?

Reher: The excellent cooperation with Meyle+Müller and medialesson gave us plenty of new insights into a relatively new technology, so I look forward to further exciting projects in the future.

Kern: The fact that curiosity, team spirit and patience always pay off. Advancing into innovative areas while simply tackling them with bravery and seeing things through to the end results in new chances and opportunities that ultimately push everything and change your actions. Porsche made this stage and opportunity become a possibility for us in the first place, while also becoming an equal partner and player, which we certainly could not have anticipated beforehand.

Bauknecht: Innovations are best developed through open and inspiring cooperation with different partners. We found Porsche to be a challenging, agile and partner-like customer. Our long-established partnership with Meyle+Müller not only allowed us to achieve excellence in software development, but also to develop a holistic solution with high-quality 3D data.



Erstmals öffentlich verfügbar: Jetzt können alle durchs Limmattal fliegen

Das Limmattaler 3D-Modell ist jetzt für jede und jeden zugänglich.

Nun folgt ein weiterer grosser Schritt: Das 3D-Modell ist ab sofort öffentlich zugänglich. Auf www.limmatstadt-digital.chlässt sich eine Software herunterladen, mit der das schweizweit erste digitale 3D-Modell einer ganzen Region benutzt werden kann. Dafür braucht es einen PC, ein Tablet oder eine Virtual-Reality-Brille. So wird die Kommunikation mit der Bevölkerung in Sachen Bauprojekten einfacher. Die Vernetzung von öffentlicher Hand, Privaten und der Bevölkerung werde zudem gestärkt, teilte die Standortförderungsorganisation Limmatstadt AG am Mittwoch mit.

Das 3D-Modell zeigt unter anderem, wie die Region in Zukunft aussehen könnte. So sind auch zukünftige Projekte enthalten, zum Beispiel der geplante Dietiker Stadtteil Niderfeld, die 2. Etappe der Limmattalbahn zwischen Schlieren und Killwangen oder auch der weiterentwickelte Wirtschaftsraum Urdorf Nord . «Aktuell beinhaltet es rund 20 Projekte, davon sind einzelne nicht öffentlich ersichtlich, sondern nur für einen bestimmten Nutzerkreis zu sehen», heisst es in der Mitteilung weiter. Auch Private können Projekte hochladen.

Das Limmatstadt-3D-Modell ist Teil des Kooperationsprogramms der Metropolitankonferenz Zürich und wird von der Limmatstadt AG betrieben. Für die Technik ist die Raumgleiter AG verantwortlich. Verschiedene Gemeinden sind Projektpartner. Das Modell ist für einen Award der Schweizerischen Vereinigung für Standortmanagement nominiert, der am 17. September in Thun verliehen wird.



Foto: Das 3D-Modell der Limmatstadt AG kann man nun beispielsweise auch zu Hause auf dem Tablet nutzen. Bisher kam die Öffentlichkeit nur an Anlässen wie etwa Immobilienmessen mit dem 3D-Modell in Berührung. Im März 2018 wurde es erstmals in Zürich vorgestellt. © Severin Bigler (Zürich, 16. März 2018)

Amazon lays out a technology to guide delivery agents with augmented reality

Efficient package delivery is one of the keystones of Amazon’s retailing business, and a newly issued patent opens up a new frontier in efficiency: augmented reality.

The patent, published today, outlines a scheme for alerting a delivery agent about the best times to make a delivery, the best routes to take and even the best places for parking — all overlaid on the agent’s AR headset.

Why do it, in this age of navigation apps?

“Experienced delivery agents often learn information about the delivery routes and delivery areas that is not reflected in a delivery route generated by a routing application,” Amazon inventor Robert Niewiadomski writes in his application, filed back in 2016.

Such lore can include gate codes, the precise location of the preferred delivery entrance and “the most efficient or best places to park when making a delivery to a destination or a group of destinations,” Niewiadomski notes.

“If a new or different delivery agent were assigned to the delivery route, he or she might not be as efficient as the previous delivery agent due to a lack of awareness of the additional route information,” he says in the patent application.

hat’s where AR can come to the rescue.

The delivery company’s computer servers would keep track of where the agents are and where they’re due to go, and match up those routes against a database compiled from previous deliveries. The agents can make note of new tips they come across, and have those added to the database for the next delivery.

As the agents go about their rounds, the delivery tips and cautionary notes (for example, watch out for the guard dog) pop up via a wireless connection to their AR headsets. You could even have the location of the key box flash on and off as you’re looking at the entryway to an apartment building.

It should go without saying that Amazon would be a prime candidate to use this type of application. But even if Amazon wins a patent for a technology that seems relevant to its operations, that’s no guarantee it’ll ever make it to the real world. (Just ask Jeff Bezos about his airbag-equipped smartphone.)

Other organizations are already taking advantage of AR in the workplace. Here’s just a sampling:

For what it’s worth, Amazon isn’t commenting about this specific patent … but if your delivery agent shows up wearing an augmented-reality headset while dropping off a package, be sure to let us know.




Foto: A schematic shows how information about a delivery drop-off location might be overlaid on the display of an augmented-reality headset. (Amazon Illustration via USPTO)

What Are Industrial AR’s Biggest Benefits and Barriers?

This post is adapted from ARtillery Intelligence’s latest report, Industrial AR: Benefits & Barriers. It includes some of its data and takeaways. More can be previewed here and subscribe for the full report.

One of AR’s proposed beneficiaries is the enterprise. That can take many forms including data visualization in corporate settings, or software to create customer-facing AR experiences for brands (B2B2C). Impact will also occur through AR visualization in industrial settings.

The latter includes things like assembly and maintenance in manufacturing facilities. The idea is that AR’s line-of-sight visualization can guide front-line workers. Compared to the “mental mapping” they otherwise do with 2D instructions, line-of-sight support boosts productivity.

This plays out through speed, effectiveness, error reduction and safety. These micro efficiencies add up to worthwhile bottom-line impact in large-scale operations. Macro benefits meanwhile include lower strain and turnover, leading to higher morale and institutional knowledge.

These benefits were examined in ARtillery February 2018 report, Enterprise XR: Impacting the Bottom Line. But since that analysis, we’ve tracked several growing challenges to AR’s viability and implementation in industrial operations. The picture may not be as rosy as we all thought.

For example, though all of the advantages outlined above are valid, it’s challenging to get to the point of realizing them. Practical and logistical barriers stand in the way such as organizational inertia, politics, change management and fear of new technology among key stakeholders.

The biggest symptom of these stumbling blocks is the dreaded “pilot purgatory.” As its name suggests, and as you may have heard in AR industry narratives, this is when AR is adopted at the pilot stage, but never progresses to full deployment. It’s the biggest pain point in industrial AR.

Another key pain point is the loss of institutional knowledge, as referenced above. Due to macro factors like baby boomers retiring and job turnover rates increasing, it’s getting harder to retain institutional knowledge. This becomes an expensive problem for industrial enterprises.

“Joe, who’s worked here for forty-some years is going to retire and he’s going to take that forty-some years of domain expertise out the door with him,” said PTC’s Jim Heppelmann at AWE. “We’re gonna hire somebody new to do what Joe did, but it’ll take them years to be as good.”

In a recent analysis with Re’Flekt, ARtillery Intelligence identified the sources and solution areas for these challenges: the “Three P’s.” Comprising People, Product & Process, they’re the top areas where effective AR implementation strategies should focus in order to avoid pilot purgatory.

For people, it’s about customizing AR’s ROI story to individuals at all levels of the organization. For product, it’s all about addressing real operational pain points, uncovered through ground-level research. For process, it’s about multi-disciplinary prototyping rather than top-down innovation.

But the most important of the three is likely people (the reason it comes first). Because organizations are comprised of people, the points of adoption (and resistance) lie with people. And it’s with people that AR’s value proposition should be customized and optimized.

ARtillery Intelligence’s latest report goes deeper on all of these dynamics. And we’ll cover some of the main takeaways here at AR Insider over the coming weeks. This entails everything from product planning to internal communications. It’s all about setting up industrial AR to succeed.

See more details about this report or continue reading here. You can also see the report referenced above from ARtillery Intelligence and Re’Flekt here


What Are Industrial AR’s Biggest Benefits and Barriers?

VRecap #5: Void Meets Avengers, Sony Buys Insomniac, Win The Tower 2!

Get yourself out of Gamescom, find a quiet spot with decent WiFi and dig in; VRecap #5 is here!

Even without throwing in our recent trip to Germany, it’s been heck of a busy week. First up, Sony acquired one of the biggest VR developers out there, Insomniac Games. They did games like The Unspoken and the upcoming Stormland, exclusively for the Oculus Rift. What does that mean for the developer’s existing relationship with Oculus? Could we see Insomniac on PSVR? Oh the possibilities!

Elsewhere, we’ve got an update from The Void that confirms the company is working with both Marvel and Sony Pictures on new location-based VR projects. Perhaps they’ll create a reality where Spider-Man is still in the MCU?

Too soon? Sorry.

Oh and, yes, we’ve been to Gamescom! We’ve got a quick preview of our adventures in Cologne this episode before we round up the week’s releases. We saw a heck of a lot of VR games out there, so keep an eye out for a bunch of previews heading your way over the next week or so. In fact we’ve already got a few ready for you, like Iron Man VR and Espire 1!

As for the competition, this week we’re offering up free copies of The Tower 2. This VR obstacle course makes full use of room scale tracking and gives you quite a workout. If you want to be in with a chance of winning, just follow this link.

Okay, time to get out of here and enjoy the weekend. What are you going to be diving into this weekend?

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