From video games to real estate tours, augmented reality is getting more and more unique, useful implications these days. In other words, the exciting technology, the development of which was predicted in the literature at 1901 but hasn’t really started until mid-1950s, is experiencing a huge rise, and researchers are constantly looking for new ways to implement these advancements.
For instance, a new study published in Cogent Food & Agriculture  is the first research attempt of its kind, aiming to explore the potential impact of augmented reality systems in slaughterhouses. The research team has outlined that their primary aim for this pilot study was to “reveal the applicability of off-the-shelf components and programming platforms to the trimming and boning process for pork bellies”. Apparently, due to natural variability between the pigs, final products often vary in yield. This is because current standards appear to rely on total lean meat content and the weight of the entire carcass, which is not always enough to represent the features of a particular animal. The best management option to achieve consistency would involve using correct material at the start of the production process.
By using Smart Glasses (often referred to as a hands free smartphone) in combination with specifically developed software performing complex calculations and projecting lines straight on the raw material, the researchers were able to improve the procedural outcomes across the operating teams who were using all components of the innovative system, compared to those who only used parts of it or were only given oral instructions.
The researchers point out that the findings should be considered as preliminary, as “most of the modules included in the study were off-the-shelf components”. In addition, introducing this kind of technology has some serious limitations, such as the challenges of using Smart Glasses in a production environment, and other issues, including the need for appropriate staff training. These obstacles will need to be addressed before the innovation can be implemented in full.
Sounds bizarre? There are many seemingly strange uses for augmented reality – looks like our actual reality is changing quite rapidly, welcoming the new versatile technology. The sharks of the digital industry eagerly follow the trend – for example, in 2015 Apple has purchased Metaio, a German company which managed to become quite famous for their unique and entertaining virtual reality software. One of their most remarkable creations is a cute ‘penguin satnav’ for one of the Japanese zoos. A friendly bird greets the visitors and guides them through the zoo by having the customers hold up their phones and follow the penguins they see right on the screen. Metaio also created technology for big businesses such as IKEA, as well as unique repair manuals for complex equipment. so Apple’s decision to purchase the development is not too surprising, after all.
1. Christensen, L.B. and M.P. Engell-Nørregård, Augmented reality in the slaughterhouse-A future operation facility? Cogent Food & Agriculture, 2016(just-accepted).