A machinery giant has announced its collaboration with Microsoft on an advanced project that brings its maintenance experts instantly to any customer in the world.
Case IH is currently testing Microsoft HoloLens in Austria to streamline its maintenance operations, meaning any of its experts can talk to a farmer anywhere in the world at anytime using virtual reality 'smartglasses'.
Microsoft HoloLens, known under development as Project Baraboo, is a pair of mixed reality smartglasses developed and manufactured by Microsoft.
The real time holographic interactions means the smartglasses display holograms in the user’s field of vision with a mapping of the environment, allowing the user to place holograms in the real world and move them as desired or needed while respecting the physics of the environment around the headset.
The technology will allow Case IH machinery experts to remotely assist customers and train them.
The expert can consult all of the technical datasheets and applicable methods, and show them to the technician in his smartglasses. They can also talk direct in real-time via Skype.
The expert or instructor can also be remotely connected to multiple people and give a live class without having to travel.
Peter Friis, Commercial Marketing Director at Case IH said the HoloLens project is part of future technology, and is set up as a new model for remote maintenance.
“The testing phase, which is expected to last one year, is already delivering remarkable outcomes in terms of efficiency and effectiveness. The automotive industry can play a key role to boost the growth of the agriculture industry, that’s why it’s so strategic to leverage new technologies.
Fabio Moioli, Enterprise Services Lead at Microsoft Italia explained that mixed reality is an "efficiency driver" and can improve machines performances, by empowering agriculture companies and farmers all over the world.
“Agriculture machines are complex and characterised by specific features according to their multiple purposes, so through Microsoft HoloLens, it’s just easier putting in place faster and more aware interventions and repair the key components hands-free, by reducing downtimes,” Mr Moioli said.
The HoloLens headset contains a full computer, fitted with an adapted Windows 10 operating system. Three processors are used: the first is the main CPU (Central Processing Unit), the second is a GPU (Graphics Processing Unit), and the third, called an HPU (Holographic Processing Unit), manages the spatial positioning of holograms, recognising the world around the HoloLens headset.
Infrared cameras support the device in further understanding the environment and in low-light conditions, while spatial sound speakers deliver a 360° sound experience contextual to the real-world positioning of the holograms.
Voice command is also available through Microsoft’s digital assistant, Cortana. It weighs around 579 grams and offers a field of vision of around 30° by 17.5°.