Norderstedt, February 1, 2017 - As an IT consulting company, Lufthansa Industry Solutions constantly has its finger on the pulse of technological developments. Technology scouting means discovering new products, trying them out, and then deciding if they can provide relevant business cases for clients, or not.
Hence Dr. Tilo Westermann, a 32-year-old engineer, is currently hard at work on the Microsoft HoloLens. Yes, VR headsets that provide digital support for work processes, as well as necessary information or instructions by way of interactive 3D projections in the user’s field of vision have already been the talk of the business world for quite some time now. They are intended to make work processes more efficient and easier by enabling access to the Internet or company-specific systems right through the headset by means of voice recognition. Virtual reality is giving rise to new possibilities of interactive spatial representation. The HoloLens even takes this a step further. It promises “mixed reality” – a combination of reality and virtuality. “In mixed reality, the objects of the real and virtual world blend together into a mixed environment,” says Westermann. The HoloLens is controlled by gestures, voice, and head movements. It shows a real image of the surrounding space and the objects in it, but also projects additional information.
For instance, you might see a maintenance or repair order in front of a printer and the HoloLens provides assistance and support with the assignment. In a short test scenario, Tilo Westermann starts the process by means of voice recognition, “How do you turn on the device?” The HoloLens opens up the manual, and Westermann commands, “Next!” until the right page appears and explains how – in this case – to switch on the printer. A trivial example, but one that can also be applied to complex work processes. You can keep your hands free and see the virtual world through the headset just as well as the real surroundings. “What you need to get used to is that the current headset model is still pretty heavy. I would not like to work for eight hours in a maintenance shop wearing this headset. However, this is sure to be taken care of in the very next generation of the HoloLens,” Tilo Westermann hopes.
LHIND is one of the first companies in Germany to concern itself with the new possibilities opened up by the HoloLens. “First we develop simple apps for the headset to illustrate how to use the HoloLens and take advantage of the new ways of working it makes possible. Then we engage in a dialog with our clients to come up with potential use cases. One conceivable scenario, for instance, could be loading shipping containers with general cargo, which has not yet been fully automated. Then it would be possible to check before loading whether the cargo will actually fit into the container. Of course, you could also use a computer simulation, but this new technology makes it more tangibly comprehensible for the user.”