Google Glass in Manufacturing
I recently attended a workflow summit and had the pleasure of meeting Jim Lyons (@jflyons) who is one of the registered Google Glass Explorers (evaluators). He gave me the chance to have my first play with this product and even though it’s a prototype design I could see the benefit it could bring in manufacturing.
For those who don’t know, the prototype has a small black and white display for your right eye that syncs with Android devices. It has a built-in battery and touch sensitive control in the right glasses frame as well as a microphone and Bluetooth. In this case, it was wirelessly connected to a Nexus 7 tablet that supplies the back-end horsepower.
The value I saw was in getting critical data to mobile operators around task management, and setting up machines as well as key maintenance drawings and information. Yes you can do these today via tablets, or phablets, using products like Proficy Mobile, but the difference here is both hands are free to work at the same time you are reading or viewing relevant information.
Is it ready for the shop floor today? Well, no, there are a few issues. Its not industrialized enough, needs a stronger frame and safety glass lenses. The battery gets very hot, but again this is a prototype. The main issue is that it uses its own Google voice recognition to take actions, and in a noisy shop floor environment that’s going to be one of the biggest issues to solve.
GE R&D is already working with this product for inspection devices, (as reported in the Wall Street Journal). As this evolves over the next few years it will become a common sight on the manufacturing shop floor of tomorrow not just because its cool (oh, yes it is), but because it increases productivity.