Drives and Controls Magazine
3D smart glasses help to cut maintenance workloads
Published:  07 November, 2016

Mitsubishi Electric has developed a technology that allows maintenance technicians wearing 3D augmented reality (AR) glasses to confirm the order of an inspection and then enter the results by voice. It says that the technology will cut workloads and help to avoid entry errors because information can be entered reliably, even in noisy environments.

Mitsubishi suggests that the new system overcomes two key problems. First, conventional AR systems that use two-dimensional imaging require high volumes of pictures for large-scale inspections.

Second, precise AR imaging requires difficult calculations of position and angle when there is a large difference between a technician’s camera view and super-imposed database images.

Mitsubishi Electric’s new technology uses a three-dimensional model that is created by scanning objects with a camera-equipped tablet PC. This builds a 3D model and shows check procedures related to the objects. In addition, precise AR imaging is possible by calculating the position and angle using a 3D model instead of 2D images. Objects can be positioned with a maximum error of 1.2cm at a distance of 60cm.

The display of the check procedure changes according to the distance between the technician and the super-imposed item.

Mitsubishi says that its augmented reality system will make maintenance inspections easier

Inspection results are entered quickly by voice on an AR form, allowing technician to confirm the accuracy of entries while wearing the smart glasses. The system prompts them to re-enter any ambiguous or incomplete information. The speech-recognition technology ensures high accuracy even in noisy environments, thanks to the use of deep-learning acoustic models that adjust to different types of noise.

Mitsubishi has 32 pending patents for this technology in Japan and 26 elsewhere.