The earliest useful possibilities of augmented and mixed reality, like any other innovative technology, have been tested in secret corporate labs and, after showing great potential, have been adopted by multiple enterprises and businesses. AR and MR have come close to everyday reality and are gathering momentum in production, maintenance, and other industrial processes. Much of this success is due mainly to the success of Microsoft HoloLens and its quick acceptance within the industrial sector. And as you know, today almost all modern smartphones and tablets are equipped with powerful processor power. With it, their precise sensor technology allows the production of high-quality augmented visualizations.
Fascinating possibilities of AR and MR technologies are found in industrial application and are widely used in digital manuals and user guides. Thick paper manuals and cumbersome Internet searching will soon become a thing of the past. Presented as digital step-by-step instructions, AR manuals explain precisely each step, allowing one to maintain, repair, and install complex units. By just overlaying a smartphone or a tablet camera over a real object or printed material, the required information is augmented and lets you solve any complex problem quickly and without external assistance. Mixed reality manuals require a head-mounted display to blend the physical and digital worlds and perform maintenance, repair equipment, or assemble machinery easily and quickly.
Benefits of Augmented Reality User Manuals
- Full replacement of printed manuals or the possibility to use them as an extension of printed materials to ensure precise and easy-to-follow guides.
- Can be used as user guides, maintenance apps, unboxing apps, or in problem solving.
- Ability to use on most modern iOS and Android smartphones or tablets, HMDs such as Microsoft’s HoloLens, or AR glasses like Meta.
- Possibility to complete complex maintenance operations without any prior training.
- Availability at any time.
- Reduction of the safety risk to the employee.
- Reduced maintenance time.
- Improved results.
How to Develop an AR Manual
Professional software development companies specializing in the development of augmented reality solutions use different tools and approaches to create AR manuals that are easy to use, effective, and interactive at the same time.
In fact, an AR manual is an application based on 3D object recognition and image matching technologies. The most important requirement of AR manuals is the ability to provide interactive AR instructions and training materials to help users perform self-maintenance processes. To develop an AR manual, a technical team requires full information on the equipment, the processes, and a detailed technical specification with scripted descriptions of actions. Usually, a standard set of features includes the possibility to highlight different parts, grab and move items, assemble and disassemble equipment, rotate, zoom in and out, etc. AR manuals use augmented 3D models and animations to better demonstrate the equipment in question.
Along with standard features like interactive step-by-step instructions in augmented reality, such manuals can capture metadata, gather analytics, and even evaluate workers’ performance. The possibilities of custom AR manuals are truly endless. But the development of a tailor-made 3D solution that fits the needs of a single operation is associated with relatively high cost; that’s why we have come to offer our clients the development of scalable AR platforms that can be used for a variety of products by means of a lightweight system. The significant advantages of this approach include scalability, reduced development time, and cost.
And furthermore, when developing mixed reality user manuals, we often integrate AI technology that allows one to recognize the user’s gestures and superimpose them in the HUD with previously-recorded video sequences to effectively show the next work action. This approach significantly decreases the time required to create AR user guides. Moreover, AR manuals with integrated Artificial Intelligence technology encourages widespread use because their development process is far less complex.
We believe that in the foreseeable future AR how-to guides will become mainstream so that even private users can obtain help with AR manuals, e.g. when assembling furniture or operating household appliances.
AR Manuals in Business
The power of AR technology is really great, and every day new usage opportunities are discovered by different businesses and industries. This technology, first developed for a consumer sector, is now widely used by industry giants. Industrial usage of AR apps has proven its efficiency in maintenance and operation as well as training processes, and we believe that this concept will soon be integrated into daily operations.
Let’s check some most vivid examples of how industry giants use AR manuals to optimize their training and maintenance processes.