NEC has announced an augmented reality system designed to help workers do their jobs more efficiently.
The solution is based on NEC’s ARmKeypad technology, and requires a pair of smartglasses and a smartwatch for each user. As users perform tasks, they are presented with digital menus on their smartglasses screens; they can then select the tools they need by touching a virtual interface on their arms.
According to a statement from NEC, the solution has already produced a confirmed “reduction in workplace errors and working time” in trials at a hospital pharmacy and in a manufacturing facility. At the pharmacy, the smartglasses are used to read the barcodes of various drugs, offering guidance about which ones need to be selected by users for a given task; while at the NEC Networks & System Integration Corporation’s manufacturing floor, the solution is being used to guide workers to equipment stored away in cabinets, with NEC asserting that its demonstration “confirmed that work time could be reduced by 18.2% when compared to conventional methods.”
These are early tests, of course, and it’s probably going to take some time before NEC can put together a compelling case for its ARmKeypad technology to be pitched to the business sector. But with the rise of the Internet of Things and particularly the Industrial IoT, there may be a growing demand for these kinds of connected technologies to assist workers in increasingly complex and digitized work environments.