Augmented Reality with assemblies from the inCAD Library


Augmented Reality (AR) combines computer-generated information with direct depictions of reality. The latter are usually live recordings from cameras in smartphones or tablets, in which texts, symbols or objects are shown. Glasses have also been developed with similar functions (e.g. "Google Glass"), but have not managed to catch on up to now.

The intent and purpose of AR generally is to enhance real images with further information. For instance, monuments are enhanced with background information about their creator, navigation devices provide tips on nearby popular destinations or enhanced directions on motorway junctions.

AR can be deployed in virtually all areas of every-day life. A fundamental aspect is always the combination of visual information with positioning, also known as tracking. In the simplest case, the AR app makes use of GPS data from the smartphone or tablet to depict enhanced reality, in the case of monuments or historical buildings this often involves an object on which a QR code is attached. The app evaluates it, connects to the ER server via the Internet, retrieves the respective additional information and displays it on the smartphone or tablet display.

Combining reality and virtuality for industry

AR is already being used for industrial purposes for some years now, for instance to assist in performing complex maintenance tasks. For this purpose, the respective parts of a device are equipped with readable matrix codes and the technician sees the respective work instructions in the display. A very sophisticated form of AR can frequently be seen at trade fairs or customer presentations: The visual combination of the real environment with virtual objects.

Furniture can be arranged in living rooms to be able to better assess their appearance or devices can be virtually integrated into existing machine rooms. All you need for presentations such as this, is a high-performance smartphone or tablet, 3D data of the virtual object, as well as an AR app, e.g. the price-effective product "eDrawings" by Solid Solutions, a company of the Bechtle Group.

This software makes it possible to embed 3D data - preferably from SolidWorks - into real surroundings in correct perspective. The inCAD Library by MISUMI offers practical help to this end. Especially if you want to optically incorporate planned and more or less standardized assemblies in an existing machine structure. Of course, you can build a 3D object anywhere, whether on your desk or at the beach. Every movement of the smartphone or tablet, and thus each change of the perspective, is directly transferred to the 3D object, perspective depiction is even impeccable if you scale the object to an extreme extent.

A sheet of paper, the so-called "Global Marker" makes this impressive augmented reality possible.  It can be directly printed in "eDrawings" and is placed where the virtual object is to appear.  The marker depicts a positioning matrix for the X and Y axis, the app recognizes the perspective distortion of the marker by means of the camera image and thus the spatial position of the camera. The displayed 3D object is then adjusted virtually in realtime.