Industrial Electronics

Creating AR/VR applications for industrial IoT

26 October 2021
Two Dresden wafer fabs, one in the real world and one in the digital world. Called a digital twin, the use of this technology is becoming more pervasive in the industrial and mobility markets. Source: Bosch

Bosch North American is teaming with Carnegie Mellon University on new spatial computing technologies that will be used to further real world and digital content for the industrial internet of things (IIoT).

As part of the collaboration, Bosch will invest $3 million in joint research with faculty from CMU and Bosch scientists participating in the research. The goal of the collaboration is to design and demonstrate an architecture for extended reality (XR) applications for IIoT context designed around safety, reliability and real-time performance.

What is spatial computing?

Spatial computing is an area of research that includes a combination of technologies that change the interaction between the physical and digital worlds through the overlay of virtual content on top of physical environments. These are more commonly referred to as augmented reality (AR), virtual reality (VR) and extend reality (XR).

“While the vision for spatial computing is promising, the reality is that these complex applications are difficult to create and remain largely decoupled from the physical world,” said Anthony Rowe, a professor at CMU and will serve as chief scientist for the project.

Better blended

The collaboration will examine how to better enable a blend of virtual and real-world applications in industrial and mobility. The research will look into tools such as safe and real-time digital twins in manufacturing and examine how an XR-instrumented factory of the future could have workers, machines and manufactured elements all with a digital counterpart.

“A broad range of new infrastructure and tools are needed to reach the level of robustness required to truly shift VR, AR and XR from advertising and entertainment to standard practice in the industrial domain,” said Christopher Martin, director of the Bosch Research and Technology Center in Pittsburgh.

Bosch already has digital twins in some of its factories such as the semiconductor plant in Dresden. The company has products such as control technology ctrlX Automation that provides ways for other companies to use digital twins.

CMU has also built a digital twin for the Mill 19, a region in Pittsburgh where a number of steel mills are located and have transitioned the area for innovative space for the Manufacturing Futures Institute and the non-profit Advanced Robotics for Manufacturing.

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