OREANDA-NEWS. Hitachi, Ltd. has developed a work support system using augmented reality (AR) and 3-dimensional (3D) data processing to enable supervisors to support on-site operators working in remote locations, such as overseas plants. The remote work support system developed uses 3D data processing to enable the operator and supervisor to share work progress in real-time, and displays advice or instructions from the supervisor to the operator using AR. The technology developed not only provides highly precise work support to the operator but can also contribute to addressing the issue of transferring technology and technical skills from experienced veterans, whose numbers are expected to decrease in the future.

With increasing globalization, the employment and training of engineers and technicians is a major issue for companies starting up new business, especially in developing countries. In recent years, technology for remote work support systems which make full use of IT is gaining attention as a means to support local operation and train local staff, instead of just deploying company-trained staff overseas. In particular, AR can enhance real world visual information by directly adding information to the objects as well as directly display instructions or necessary information in the operator's field of view.

As it is not affected by blind areas which is an issue with surveillance cameras and, compared to spoken instructions, can directly identify position, AR is considered an effective support tool to reduce human error. Hitachi developed work support technology used AR and 3D processing, and technology to directly display instructions from a supervisor to a operator based on highly-precise real-time shared view of work progress conducted in complex constructions such as plant sites. Details of the technology developed are as below.