Augmented or virtual reality systems are pieces of technology that allow workers to interact with a computer-generated image of the physical environment, allowing for remote control of machines or directing workers through on-site tasks, and ultimately increasing the safety and decreasing the cost[1].
According to Britannica[2] virtual reality (VR) uses computer modeling and simulation to allow a human to engage with an artificial three-dimensional (3-D) visual and/or another sensory world. Virtual reality applications immerse the user in a computer-generated environment that closely resembles reality where they use interactive devices (e.g., goggles, headsets, gloves, body suits, etc.) which send and receive information. Another great and interactive technology is the Augmented reality (AR). This extraordinary and visible mean is providing useful digital information in the context of the actual environment, which helps employees connect and improve business outcomes[3].
But what exactly are the applications of this revolutionary technologies in the factory? According to Jonathan Wilkins[4] this technology can not only accelerate production but also raise safety. Specifical, VR is currently used by forward-thinking manufacturers to improve their approach to predictive analytics where finding defects in a product design can take weeks of data analysis, but interacting with the product digitally allows user to detect a flaw in a matter of minutes. Also, it is feasible to identify harmful maneuvers in advance by digitally recreating the industrial processes. By modeling the real-world settings in which a product will be utilized, the same technique can be used to increase customer safety. Automobile makers, for example, can simulate various weather and traffic conditions to improve the safety aspects of their vehicles. Furthermore, AR can make maintenance easier. For example, when technicians are examining or fixing a machine, the information they need can be projected directly on the part on which they are working. This saves time by eliminating the need to examine charts and instruction manuals. Furthermore, the predicted information assists the operator, allowing even a somewhat inexperienced worker to do the necessary repair. Also, AR can be utilized to provide professional assistance without the need experts to travel from one side of the world to the other. Any employee wearing AR glasses can be guided remotely by a professional who provides assistance by mimicking the steps that the employee should take. This method can be used to train new personnel as well. Furthermore, both AR and VR can be quite helpful in preparing employees for emergency procedures. Still not convinced that AR and VR can help your business become more effective? Here’s a really cool video showcasing actual business use cases that are already been exploited by some really big companies out there: 
In conclusion and following the philosopher Kants words, virtual reality was merely a concept in our heads (in the past we can say) but nowadays, AR and VR have actual uses that forward-thinking manufacturers are already utilizing.

Image credit: Designed by pikisuperstar / Freepik

Sources:
[1] Common Advanced Manufacturing Terms, Advanced Manufacturing Growth Centre LTD, www.amgc.org.au
[2] Lowood, Henry E. “virtual reality”. Encyclopedia Britannica, 13 May. 2021, https://www.britannica.com/technology/virtual-reality. Accessed 21 March 2022
[3] https://www.ptc.com/en/technologies/augmented-reality
[4] Jonathan Wilkins, Virtual and Augmented Reality in Manufacturing, Design & Development | AR, VR | 13 June 2019

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