Augmented reality, the technology enabling the connection between real-world experiences and digital content, relies heavily on proper devices. Providing future-proof software to supplement reality with functional elements is just half the battle.
But first, a quick recap.
Wearable devices are capable of displaying digital content before users’ eyes, without cutting off contact with the surrounding world. Smart glasses vary in size, complexity, and usage. The more advanced pieces are a go-to solution for experts, especially in demanding environments.
The hard part comes with professional use cases, especially in heavy-duty applications when both, operators and the equipment are exposed to harsh conditions. Industries such as mining, manufacturing, aerospace, construction, and oil and gas processing, increasingly adopt AR in their operations. The margin of error is very narrow and safety requirements are strict. Below you will find an overview of the most robust and rugged devices, suitable for providing AR assistance to industry workers. Whether it’s knowledge management, remote support, or maintenance processes, these devices are technicians’ best friends.
Sure, it’s possible to benefit from AR using everyday devices like smartphones and tablets. However, wearable pieces offer the best experience and convenience, crucial in industrial use cases. But how do AR glasses work? The advanced wearable technology is a substitute for numerous tools and solutions used while carrying out processes the traditional way – paper manuals, hand-held cameras or traditional communication devices, and multimedia projectors.
AR smart glasses (in this case, models suitable for professional use) share most of the features. A display for presenting the digital content, a camera for spatial orientation and recording the surroundings, microphones and speakers for verbal communication, and convenient mounting (usually reminiscent of traditional glasses). Devices built with the industry in mind should offer resilience to harsh conditions, greater ability to withstand damage compared to everyday equipment, compatibility with safety equipment, and full mobility. Users can operate most glasses with voice commands and gestures without interrupting work.
So much for the introduction, here’s the beef:
A subjective yet informed choice of augmented reality glasses suitable for professional use in industrial environments
The newest piece from advanced tech providers, well-recognized for previous glasses (HMT-1/HMT1Z1) premiered in late 2021 and instantly gained acclaim among users. A convenient boom arm, a fingerprint sensor, hot-swappable battery, and high resilience to harsh conditions make it the perfect equipment for industry professionals, no matter the working area. The RealWear Navigator 500 is the Next Generation Industrial Strength Assisted Reality Solution, and as such, it’s definitely a smart choice for working in the most demanding industries. Rugged and lighter than its predecessors, the Navigator can handle day-long shifts. The modular construction allows for personalization according to individual needs.
|Display||0.32”, WVGA 854x480 px|
|Field of view||20 degrees|
|Operating system||Android 11|
|Voice control||15 languages (19 with dialects)|
|Physical buttons||3 programmable buttons|
|Mounting||Compatible with helmets, safety glasses, can be worn independently|
One of the lightest devices on the market, the M4000 is great to cover day-long shifts.
And with a hot-swappable battery, it can work as long as you do without the need to turn it off once it runs out of energy. On the downside, its built-in pad may be difficult to operate while wearing protective gloves and the voice control can be insufficient in noisy environments. This makes it a more suitable device for industrial use in areas requiring less workwear, e.g. training and service procedures.
|Display||DLP, 16:9, waveguide|
|Field of view||28 degrees|
|Operating system||Android 9|
|Voice control||Customizable, 6 languages|
|Physical buttons||3 control buttons|
|Mounting||Compatible with hats, helmets, face shields, glasses|
Appreciated by global tech giants like Airbus and NASA, HoloLens 2 carries a great potential for manufacturing staff. Smooth real-time collaboration, spatial mapping, 6-degrees-of-freedom (6DoF) tracking, resistance to falling onto concrete from 2 meters, and on top of that, dust and water-proof certifications make the mixed reality device a smart choice for professionals. Great for working indoors, as outside conditions may harm the device and the display works best against darker backgrounds. The HoloLens 2 augmented reality goggles are compatible with protective gear and operable with safety gloves.
|Field of view||43 degrees|
|Operating system||Windows Core OS|
|Voice control||Built-in voice commands, 7 languages|
|Physical buttons||Brightness, volume, power buttons|
|Mounting||Headband, compatible with hardhats|
Smart glasses meet safety glasses. Equipped with a central camera with a broad field of view, optical zoom, and a barcode scanner, the G2 is a convenient work companion allowing easy communication and information sharing. The wearable device is connected to the smartphone with a cable, using its battery and operating system. The cable might be considered an inconvenience, but with the phone’s long-life battery, the Iristick.G2 can easily cover day-long working shifts. The device’s battery has a nominal capacity that allows for working 8 hours straight, providing the glasses are connected to the smartphone during operation. Certificates and compliance: CE, FCC, EN60950, EN55032-CISPR32 Class B ITE, IEC 60825-1, EN 166 S certified, FDA
|Display||16MP 4:3 aspect ratio|
|Field of view||3-axis adjustable display|
|Operating system||Compatible with Android 8 or higher, iOS iPhone® 8 or higher with iOS 12.0 or higher|
|Voice control||Multilingual voice commands (ANC up to 90 dB)|
|Physical buttons||Phone controlled by cable|
Google’s AR smart glasses allow efficient real-time cooperation, streaming meetings, integrating instructions, they can also serve as safety glasses unless heavy-duty protection is required. The digital content is displayed above the natural line of sight, enabling unobstructed viewing. Thanks to its lightweight, the Google Glass Enterprise Edition 2 is suitable for day-long use without causing discomfort to the operator. However, the device may require an external battery during intense usage.
|Display||640 pixel x 360 pixel RGB|
|Field of view||83° diagonal field of view|
|Operating system||Android Open Source Project 8.1|
|Voice control||Built-in voice recognition|
|Physical buttons||Camera button/release switch, on/off button, selection button|
The list of recommendable smart glasses for industrial environments could go on and on, as various models answer various needs. Even devices considered too delicate for heavy-duty usage can be applicable when chosen for the less demanding areas of industrial operations. However, the provided list of selected picks of augmented reality glasses presents their potential sufficiently well.
We’d say – just put them on. Even industrial-grade AR smart glasses are intuitive and easy to master. Within minutes, you’ll be able to use augmented reality in your industrial processes.Do you want to learn more beforehand? Just drop us a line, and we’ll be happy to assist you in choosing the most suitable AR solution for your industry.
Are you planning to boost your operations and support technicians with augmented reality and don’t know where to start? Worry not, we’re here to help. Sign up for the free 14-day trial and try out the augmented reality platform, along with the suitable device. The future is here, don’t let it wait.