Design better products

Navigating the future: Augmented Reality, robotics, and the human touch

November 8, 2023
5 minutes
Ferenc Boroczky
Founder and CEO of anet360

In the world of entrepreneurship, we're always striving to make the impossible a reality. This pursuit of innovation and transformation has catapulted visionaries like Henry Ford, Elon Musk, and Steve Jobs to success. But it's not just about dreaming big; sometimes, as leaders, we must think creatively to inspire others to achieve what seems unattainable.

Throughout my own entrepreneurial journey, I've had the privilege of connecting with brilliant minds across various industries. I've walked the floors of factories that usually only grace our TV screens. These experiences have given me valuable insights into various businesses and the dedicated individuals behind them. What I've noticed is that many companies struggle with outdated, slow, and inflexible control methods. In our rapidly globalizing and digital world, being physically present isn't always the solution.

Toyota Motor Corporation, a global pioneer known for its innovative vehicle production system. This system, often called the "lean manufacturing system" or "Just-in-Time (JIT) system," is all about efficiency and effectiveness. Toyota's success is built on two key concepts: "jidoka" - automation with a human touch, and the "Just-in-Time" philosophy, which keeps production flowing according to customer needs.

What resonates with me is the "jidoka" concept, where automation gets a human touch. In Toyota's world, it means that a machine must pause when something goes wrong to prevent making faulty products. Achieving this harmony involves meticulously crafting each component by hand to precise standards, followed by continuous improvements. But to do that you have to be really disciplined. 

The importance of the human touch is a powerful reminder in our fast-changing industrial landscape. While businesses are eager to improve operations and automate repetitive tasks with more robots, we shouldn't forget that humans are the backbone of every enterprise.

Over the past few decades, industries, especially manufacturing, have transformed. Traditional assembly lines, where people did repetitive tasks, are now evolving with robotic arms, automated systems, and smart machines. These tireless robots redefine precision, consistency, and efficiency, resulting in higher productivity, fewer errors, and significant cost savings. However, let's not forget the value of human knowledge. Without humans, there would be no robots.

In other sectors, like port operations, automation has been slower to catch on compared to industries like mining and warehousing. But things are changing. Automated ports offer better safety by reducing disruptions caused by humans and providing more predictable performance. Yet, there are significant initial costs and operational challenges, such as a shortage of skills, data management issues, siloed operations, and handling exceptions.

Recently, we had the opportunity of attending the garageDu Demo Night in Duisburg. At this event, we showcased some of our solutions, giving visitors a taste of the Magic Leap 2 Enterprise-level Augmented Reality headset and the Tobii Pro Glasses 3 eye tracking device.

garageDu - Demo Night, 26.10.2023 - Duisburg
garageDu - Demo Night - Ferenc Boroczky - Founder of anet360

Augmented Reality (AR), different from virtual reality (VR), enriches the real world by adding digital information to it. It blurs the line between what's real and digital, creating an exciting user experience. AR applications use sensors, cameras, and computers to recognize and track real-world objects and add digital content to what you see.

The Magic Leap 2 headset indeed worked its enchantment, leaving visitors thoroughly delighted by its user-friendly design and the unparalleled clarity of the immersive experience. It quickly dispelled any misconceptions about this headset compared to other AR gear in the market. The Magic Leap 2 is lighter, more comfortable, and super user-friendly.

Magic Leap 2 - AR headset - source -

On the other hand, the Tobii Pro Glasses 3 is a top-notch solution for collecting and analyzing eye tracking data. Eye tracking technology has gone from being a niche research tool to a versatile, powerful resource used in various fields. It offers valuable insights into how people behave, think, and experience things. Our collaboration with Tobii in this area has been truly remarkable.

Tobii Pro Glasses 3 - source -

Each of these tools brings different benefits to the table and complement each other. We use eye trackig to help companies to understand their business better, we offer the ML2 to enhance user experiences, and together, they create a powerful synergy that transforms the way businesses operate. With eye tracking technology, we provide invaluable insights that allow companies to gain a deep understanding of their operations, user behavior, and customer preferences. This data helps them make informed decisions and improve their products and services.

On the other hand, the Magic Leap 2 (ML2) takes user experiences to a whole new level. It enriches reality by overlaying digital information on the physical world, creating immersive, interactive, and captivating experiences.

As technology moves forward, the fusion of augmented reality (AR) and robotics is one of the most exciting developments of our time. These two powerful technologies, when combined, offer innovative ways to control and interact with robots across various fields.

The integration of AR and robotics isn't just about merging technologies; it's about opening doors to endless possibilities. Augmented Reality isn't science fiction; it's here, and it's changing industries.

The advantages of using AR to control robots are many and apply to a wide range of applications:
  • Remote operation: AR lets you control robots in far-off or hard-to-reach places, making you feel like you're there.
  • Real-Time data insights: AR gives you real-time data and feedback, helping you make informed decisions for critical tasks.
  • Efficient training and skill development: AR-controlled robotics provide a safe, cost-effective way to learn and improve skills in robot operation.
  • Enhanced safety: You can interact with robots from a safe distance, reducing the risk of accidents in dangerous environments.

The integration of AR and robotics promises to revolutionize industries, from manufacturing to healthcare, offering new possibilities and more collaboration between humans and robots. It's an exciting journey, and the future looks bright.

While the integration of augmented reality (AR) with robotics offers great promise, it does come with its challenges and limitations. Addressing these challenges is essential to make sure this transformative technology is adopted smoothly and safely.

Challenges and limitations:
  • Specialized hardware: One challenge is that you need specific gear, like AR headsets, which can be costly and not available to everyone.
  • Software complexity: Making software that combines real-world data from robot sensors with AR overlays can be tricky. It takes skilled developers to create user-friendly interfaces and seamless integration.
  • Data security: When you're controlling robots remotely or getting real-time data, keeping that data secure is a big concern. Cybersecurity measures are necessary to prevent unauthorized access and data breaches.
  • Latency and bandwidth: In situations where you're controlling robots from a distance, slow data transfer and limited bandwidth can be issues, affecting your ability to control the robot effectively.

However, companies and researchers are working to overcome these challenges:

  • Hardware improvements: They're developing more affordable and lightweight AR gear to make it accessible to more people.
  • Software innovations: There's a focus on creating user-friendly AR interfaces and standardized platforms for AR-controlled robotics to simplify integration with different robots.
  • Data security measures: To address data security worries, experts are working on strong encryption and authentication protocols to keep AR-controlled robot systems safe.
  • Reducing latency: They're researching ways to minimize data delay and improve network bandwidth for remote control scenarios.

As technology keeps advancing, and companies like Magic Leap keep pushing the limits, the challenges and limitations of AR-controlled robotics are gradually being overcome. This opens the door to more widespread use in various industries, reshaping how humans and robots work together in complex and dynamic environments.

The journey of blending augmented reality with robotics is a thrilling one. It promises to redefine how we use technology and offers endless opportunities for innovation and collaboration. As you venture further into this exciting landscape, remember that the future belongs to those who not only embrace change but also lead the way into a new era of profound collaboration between humans and robots.;

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Ferenc Boroczky
Founder and CEO of anet360
With more than 15 years in design and technology focused on people, I've dedicated myself to growing a business that makes a real difference. I'm the Founder and CEO of Another Set of Eyes (anet), a company my wife and I built from scratch. We've come a long way without financial backing from investors, proving our resilience and innovation and developing a high-quality, yet user-friendly software solution. Our mission is to change how organizations gather and use important information, share insights, and train their teams.

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