Just how effective your workforce is in using Augmented Reality will depend a great deal on the "interaction model" of your AR solution. The right interaction model can make all the difference between something that provides a great demonstration of potential and a solution that can be tested, piloted and rolled out in a real-world setting.
There are four common ways to interact with the augmented reality technology:
- Gestures – Most smart glasses used in AR have front-facing cameras that offer the ability for the glasses to "see " what a user sees – and be able to interpret the motion of a hand in front of them. Gestures are a great way to precisely interact and are perfect for dirty or loud environments. To be effective, an AR solution needs a precise and efficient hand tracking algorithm can enable the smart glasses to take advantage of an on-board RGB camera or depth sensor to recognize and respond to gestures. This will provide a true hands-free working experience.
- Voice - There are some situations when gestures are not ideal. These include situations where a user’s hands may be occupied with tools. In that case, voice commands provide an important and safe alternative for interacting with smart glasses. Ideally, you want to be able to add voice commands to your smart glass system actions and allow your developers to define voice commands to extend their apps.
- Head motion - In situations where voice commands and gestures are not suitable, (such as noisy environments), head motion is a great alternative. If your AR solution provides multi-display and sphere view technologies, it will allow workers to access and scroll between content (including video feeds) and drill into images, maps, and 3D models with a simple motion of their heads.
- Touch – Good AR solutions should provide support for industry-standard touchscreen devices so that workers using popular phones and tablets can leverage some of AR features (including video conferencing, on-screen guidance and documentation such as shop manuals) when they are working in environments where they don’t have to use work gloves or carry tools in their hands.
It’s vital to note here that you should look for an AR solution - such as Atheer's AiR Enterprise - that includes all of these methods of interaction (often known as 'multi-modal' solutions) in order to provide maximum flexibility so that you can deploy the technology in a broad range of scenarios. Augmented Reality is not a 'one size fits all' business.