Augmented Reality at the NExT Lab

This article introduces Augmented Reality and its workflows.

AR stands for Augmented Reality which refers to a continuum of Virtual Reality (VR) technology. AR aims to overlay spatially tracked computer generated data over the real world with the use of a headset, in front of the user's eyes. The view through the headset preserves the awareness of, and ability to interact with, the user's immediate physical context by compositing the real world and computer generated models in a blended 3D space.

The idea of using AR to visualise designs or instructions in-situ to assist with manufacturing tasks has existed since the technology's conception. For example; The first head-mounted display (HMD) designed by Caudell and Mizell, was designed to augment an aircraft assembly worker’s field of view with digital information to facilitate manufacturing, such as the location of drill holes in 3D space.

Mixed Reality Hardware

The Next Lab has several Microsoft Hololens that come pre-installed with an AR demo that lets you place a variety of 3D objects as holograms into the real world and allows you to walk around and inspect the holograms from all sides.

Additionally via the use of the software package Fologram you can use the HoloLens to display geometries generated in Rhino. In conjunction with the use of Grasshopper, these geometries can be manipulated via gestures and pointers in the HoloLens itself.

You can also develop mobile applications using software packages such as Vuforia and Unity.

Requirements

HoloLens is a standalone computer and as such can be used to do the demo. However, an additional computer/laptop is needed to run Rhino and Fologram.

Accessing Equipment

At the MSD, we provide bookable access to the Microsoft HoloLens through the ABP Loans desk. Before loaning out any of the hardware, all staff and students are required to book into an introductory session and attend an induction. Bookings for hardware can be made online for 1hr, 2hr, 3hr and 6hr loans.

Induction & Loans

Before students and staff are granted access to loan the Microsoft HoloLens they must attend an induction on using the equipment. If there are no induction sessions available come and speak to staff members at the NExT Lab to organise a suitable time.

Consultation Sessions