Google Glass for industrial automation
Google Glass for industrial automation

Beckhoff is presenting a technology study at the SPS IPC Drives with Google Glass as a new concept for machine operation. The glasses, which were primarily developed for the consumer sector, integrate among other things a head-up display for information plus a digital camera. However, Google Glass can also be used in the industrial environment as a supplement for operation and observation in production. For instance, it allows status or dialogue messages or additional information such as documentation, web pages or videos to be called up. The service technician, for example, can read the properties, history or current status of the sensor or actuator by reading in a QR code on the motor or limit switch. Andreas Thome, Product Manager PC Control, comments on the use of the Google glasses in production: “Google Glass has the potential to change or at least to supplement the operating philosophy on the machine. The Google glasses could represent a good example of the fusion of Internet technology and automation technology within the framework of Industry 4.0.”

The technical principle: the glasses feature a projection display on which the images are displayed in the form of slides (cards). With an integrated camera pictures can be taken in the viewing direction and used for image processing. In addition, the contents of the screen and the dialogues can be controlled via a touchpad on the frame of the glasses. A loudspeaker is also integrated for the presentation of sound information or communication with other users. The elements appearing on the screen are called slides, because they can be scrolled from left to right in much the same way as with image viewing software. Additional information on the selected slide can be obtained by touching the touchpad again. In this way, for example, individual machine information such as the machine status or associated data sheets can be displayed for the machine operator standing directly in front of the machine. If necessary the operator can also contact a further colleague on the spot.

Google Glass can be integrated in the control technology via the TwinCAT automation software. In the technology example shown the glasses communicate with a web server that supplies the status of the TwinCAT-controlled machine. The Google glasses receive and display this machine status in the form of signal values or error messages and refer if necessary to the precise error location. The acknowledgment and resetting of the machine status is also possible directly on the glasses.