3D Printing and Augmented Reality & Product Design

3D Printing and Augmented Reality & Product Design

Augmented Reality, Product Design  and How 3D Printing is Impacting
3D Printing – Augmented Reality

Augmented Reality is a live direct or indirect view of a physical, real-world environment whose elements are augmented (or supplemented) by computer-generated sensory input such as sound, video, graphics or GPS data. In the past we’ve seen smartphone apps that when used with AR can show you mapped location overlaid on images in the display.

Virtual Reality or VR has huge entertainment potential but it is AR that seems to have a range of real-world applications. Check out Microsoft’s Hololens device which can be used as a tool to guide, instruct and even overlay data over real-world images. The potential applications for this in the fields of engineering, medicine, manufacturing and even defense and combat are quite huge.

In 2014 a report from DHL researchers Augmented Reality in Logistics found that augmented reality tools are already showing up in surprising places.

Volkswagen service technicians use a mobile app that provides repair and maintenance steps in real-time. The Liver Explorer app gives surgeons data and planning capabilities for delicate operations. With IKEA’s catalog app, users take a photo of a room on their mobile device and insert a piece of furniture into the picture to see if it will fit or if they like the color. Ubimax, a Germany-based leader in industrial wearables, has developed an order picking solution for smart glasses that eliminates the need for time-consuming bar code scanning.

Of course, the future of AR is wearable computing and more than goggles or cardboard cutouts for smartphones, there needs to be a better and more intuitive way to be able to test and develop this technology and harness it.

3D-Printing can help with create various AR components. More importantly, it is capable of creating very specific fits for wearable devices that can be integrated into helmets, work uniforms and less obtrusive ways to implement technology.

This will become more important as the components needed to enable Augmented Reality begin to shrink in size and require less power to run and connect. Then, creating fully integrated devices, which are lightweight will become the focus and these can best be prototyped, developed and build with the help of 3D printing.

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