What Is Assisted Reality and How Does It Relate to Augmented Reality?

Assisted reality in field technology

Virtual Reality (VR) and Augmented Reality (AR) technologies have found serious return on investment in enterprise settings, including field service organizations. Now, a new type of reality called Assisted Recently is finding its way into the field technology industry.

Read more Eye-tracking is Going to Be a Game Changer for Virtual Reality

In Assisted Reality, new type of smartglasses, known as HMT are needed in order to receive additional information on top of the surrounding environment. The HMT we will discuss here is RealWear’s HMT-1. The smartglasses in Assisted Reality, however aren’t exactly glasses, but rather a tablet mounted on a user’s head using a headband (hence the name HMT – Head Mounted Tablet). One important note, the headband itself is an integral element of the hardware, as it encloses all electronics within it.

A field service workers receives information in the line of sight of his smartglasses. However, it doesn’t change what the person already sees. For example, in the movie, Iron Man receives relevant, usable data in his field of view, but the information doesn’t block the action taking place in front of him.

With assisted reality, workers can view diagrams, text, checklists and videos that were previously delivered on tablets, smartphones and laptops.

The display used in the device is very small and therefore cannot display 3D graphics, which is common in Augmented Reality. As it turns out, many companies and their employees do not care much about 3D graphics. Quite often organizations are more comfortable with the lack of 3D perspective than actually having it.

Assisted reality in field technology
Image: Transition Technologies PSC

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The whole concept of the device and the way it presents information is very different than, for example, Microsoft’s Hololens, which allow users to add high-quality content to the actual environment surrounding them. Surprisingly, a worker can use HMT’s small screen to efficiently display the crucial information about a machine he is working on in interesting and brief form, including elements such as:

  • operational parameters,
  • simple text instructions enhanced with pictures,
  • instructional videos,
  • PDF documentation

The most important feature about the device is that it is completely voice-controlled, leaving the worker use both hands while working.

Important facts about the device:

  • Battery life is 8-12 hours
  • Dust-and waterproof certified
  • Capable of withstanding being dropped from approximately 1m height
  • There is also an ATEX-certified version for hazardous areas

Compared to Augmented Reality, the concept of Assisted Reality is a step back. However, this new reality brings huge possibilities of supporting people in performing their daily activities. It appears that many organizations were waiting for this step back.