UX Design Principles for Augmented Reality

What is UX design for Augmented Reality?

User experience design is the process of designing a product, service, or website that takes the real needs of the users into account. Excellent UX design places the user at the center and enables a seamless flow of information or interaction. It is about intuition, empathy, and human psychology.

Augmented reality (AR) is a technology that allows designers to enhance the perception of the real, physical world using computer-generated content. With augmented reality apps, UX design offers a seamless blend of software and hardware. AR experiences depend on the user’s natural environment, so the UX must be spatial, interactive, and contextual. This is quite a hard balance to strike.

To create a great AR experience, it is helpful to follow a few key UX design principles that we’ve highlighted below

The Five Pillars of Great UX for Augmented Reality

Interaction and visual interest are at the heart of every UX element for augmented reality. Users want to enter a virtual, augmented space and do not want to be distracted by unimportant or unappealing details. Keep these five principles in mind when designing UX for AR:

1.   Environment

AR experiences are spatially and intimately connected with the real world. The UX experience must therefore be tailored to the environment and capable of adapting to any environment the user finds themselves in.

As designers, one of the best ways to learn about how to use the environment effectively is by getting out of your office and experimenting in the real world. In general, the environment can be categorized in four distinct ways regarding the distance from the user:

  • Intimate Space
  • Personal Space
  • Social Space
  • Public Space

Designers must try to think creatively about each type of environmental space and how the UX will change in each one.

2.   Onboarding

Making your AR user experience friendly and engaging can be pretty challenging. By focusing on user onboarding, you will give yourself the best chance to make your UX enjoyable and practical. Often, you can’t just rely on basic markers and overlays to deliver the information. You must complete the onboarding experience more interactive, intuitive, and, most importantly, fun!

3.   Movement

How does your product or service integrate with your users’ habits and needs? Movement is the key to engaging your users’ minds and allowing them to understand the experience physically and psychologically.

An AR experience should make full use of the space around the user and enhance the way users interact with the real world. To understand movement as a designer, you have to get out of your seat and experiment with how your experience works in real space.

Your AR app may visually guide the user, but it’s important not to dictate specific directions and instead grant the user some freedom with the way they move.

4.   User Interface

User Interface (UI) in AR can consist of augmented reality elements and traditional screen space. As a designer, you may need to design different yet interchangeable UI experiences for both. This presents a significant but exciting challenge to designers and developers.

How can you use UI in the augmented space to boost immersion and deliver new experiences? Alternatively, how can you use screen space UI to provide crucial information and enhance the AR experience? These are some of the questions you should be asking when thinking about the interaction between UI and AR.

5.   Interaction

In the world of AR, interaction is different. In regular apps, there are quite a few limitations on the user experience. With AR, you can expand the user experience and experiment with your interactions.

Users can move the entire device to initiative functionalities and move between various spatial interactions. It is important to make these interactions as intuitive and responsive as possible to ensure users get the most out of your features and continue to engage with your designs.

Excelling in the Realm of Augmented Reality

Paying attention to these five pillars will give yourself and your team the best chance of succeeding in your augmented reality pursuits. The potential for AR development is exciting. So, anyone involved in design and UX should be looking to AR as a new avenue to be explored.

To learn more about UX design principles and augmented reality, please contact our UX experts.


Communication Between the Design Team and the Client

Communication is crucial to the overall success of your UX creations. One of the most important relationships in the creative process is between the design team and the client. When there is good communication between these two contributors, the likelihood of success is enhanced.

So how can you improve communication between the design team and the client? And what tools can you use to enhance this key relationship? In this blog, we’ll answer all these questions and more.

Why is it Crucial to Communicate Design?

Design is all about communication. At the heart and soul of design is a desire to connect with another human being. The total object of design is to communicate, in some shape or form, an idea that you believe can be valuable.

Designers are responsible for creating an experience worth using and worth paying for. To be a great designer, you have to learn to be a great communicator. This means knowing what your audience or client desires and fulfilling their needs. The great designers go beyond this and provide their users with something they didn’t even know they needed.

Not everyone you collaborate with will be receptive to your ideas or designs. However, as a modern designer, you have to be respectful and communicate your perspective as simply as possible.

Key Points for Presenting Design

Below we’ve highlighted a few key points that you should keep in mind when presenting your designs to clients:

  1. Understand your client’s business model:
    What is their plan for the next five years? What do they like? What do they dislike? When you understand your client’s business and aspirations, you will be able to see from their perspective and cater your design to meet their needs. If you misread their needs, you will cause communication to break down, and your plans will suffer.
  2. Know your audience:
    Everyone in the room has a voice that should be valued and heard. You should also recognize that not everyone has the same approval authorities. Know who you need to impress and who will have the final say.
  3. Don’t talk over their heads:
    Speak in standard, non-technical language. Your clients, while knowledgeable in some areas, may not be familiar with the specific design language that you may use every day.
    If you speak like this, you risk losing your audience and becoming disconnected from your client. Of course, they want to know that you know what you are talking about, but they also want to understand you.
  4. Use demos and visual aids:
    Your designs can’t remain theoretical for too long. The best way to communicate your ideas is to show them through visual aids and physical demos. Don't try to explain verbally when you can offer an actual prototype that the clients can get their hands on.

Collaborative Tools to Improve Communication

There are a variety of tools that design teams can employ to help improve communication with their clients, including:

Alternatives to Emails

  • ConceptShare

ConceptShare is a software company that focuses exclusively on the review and approval process for creative teams in large companies.

  • InVision

InVision is an online whiteboard and productivity platform purpose-built for team collaboration and design to improve digital workflows.

  • Slack

Slack is a modern business communication platform developed by software company Slack Technologies. Salesforce now owns it. Slack offers a variety of IRC-style features, including persistent chat rooms organized by topic, direct messaging, and private groups.

Make Clients Teammates

  • Basecamp

Basecamp is an American web software company based in Chicago, Illinois. They provide a project management and team communication service, an all-in-one toolkit for working remotely.

  • Trello

Trello is a web-based, Kanban-style list-making application developed by Trello Enterprise, a subsidiary of Atlassian. With Trello, you can organize work to allow every part of your task to be managed, tracked, and shared with teammates.

  • Asana

Asana is a web and mobile work management platform designed to help teams organize, track, and manage their work. The company was founded in 2008 by Dustin Moskovitz (Co-Founder of Facebook) and Justin Rosenstein.

Track Progress in Real-Time

  • Funnel

Funnel curates and harmonizes data in real-time to present real insights. You can collect all your data in one secure place and make it analysis-ready for you and your team.

  • Timely

Timely is a business management software that allows you to manage your business, connect with peers, and access education from global industry leaders.

Enhance Your Communication

By understanding your client, actively listening, and using the right tools, you will enhance the potential for communication between your design team and the client.

Be open, honest, and available to your clients so that you know what they want. Equally, make sure that your clients are open, simple, and available to you to know that you are on the right track.

Tools like Slack, Basecamp, Timely, and Conceptshare make collaboration between design teams and clients more accessible. If you want to succeed, the process is simple - ensure you’re making the most of the suitable tools and make sure you're being proactive with your communication every day.

To learn more about perfecting communication between the design team and the client, please contact our UX experts.


UX Accessibility for Video Games

Accessibility in video games has never been more important. As games have become increasingly popular, it's important to remember to design for all of your users. By ignoring accessibility and possible accessibility settings, video game designers risk excluding many players and setting a poor standard. Furthermore, as the years have gone by, the increase in demand for accessibility to video games has become more apparent.

Industry leaders like Microsoft and Sony have developed adaptive controllers to enable gamers of all abilities to play video games in their way. These R&D products are helping shape the landscape of accessibility from a controller standpoint.

So, what can game designers and developers do to help create a more accessible experience from within the game itself?

 

1. Audio Disabilities:
Subtitles are probably the first thing you think about when considering accessible design for people with auditory disabilities. Subtitles are a popular accessibility option, but it is not always a simple solution with games. Sometimes it can be hard to read the subtitles and still interact with the gameplay.

So, subtitles should be large, use simple fonts, and contrast well against all the games' different backgrounds. In addition, the subtitled words need to be condensed and not stretch the whole screen so a user can stay engaged with the game and not have to move their head like a typewriter when trying to read. The words also need to stay on screen long enough for a user to be able to read them, and it should be clear who is speaking when multiple characters are present.

Subtitles should cover all dialogue and sounds a player can hear so the player can understand what is happening, even if they can't hear it immediately. Minecraft is a great example of this, allowing the sounds of in-game events to be indicated with a subtitle and a directional arrow to show you where it's coming from. Ultimately, if a player is hearing impaired, providing audio that enhances and allows the player to enjoy your game is very important.

2. Vision Disabilities:

There are many visual disabilities and impairments that will require accessibility options. One common visual impairment is color blindness. People have either deuteranopia, which affects the perception of green tones, protanopia, which affects red tones, tritanopia, which affects yellow and, to a lesser extent, blue, and the very rare achromatopsia where you see the world in black and white.

Developers can check if their games are readable by testing with color blind players or using free filter tools such as color oracle, which allows you to see static images in all modes of color blindness, or Sim Daltonism, where you can see the world in real-time.

Similarly, game engines like Unity or Unreal Engine provide filters to allow game designers and developers to check these settings as they build the game. The best way to design around this issue is to avoid using color alone when providing information or distinguishing between two different things. Instead, designers should use shapes, symbols, shading, animation, and other visual tricks to make critical parts of the game stand out from one another. Providing key ways to distinguish between different elements in your video game is very important to a player's overall experience.

3. Motor Disabilities:

More and more UX accessibility options have been developed to cater to people with various motor disabilities, such as Microsoft's Adaptive Controller referenced earlier. However, designers and developers can also implement features that help players that don't have access to accessible controllers with their own accessibility options.

For example, users can now fully remap controls to access any mechanic with any button or key. Most console games do not allow this, yet this is the most frequently requested accessibility option from games. Another great design method enables the user to different input methods if the game has fine motor movements such as a mouse or gyro, allowing those options to be turned off and accessed with one control or button.

Furthermore, reducing the number of buttons you use and making it easier to operate the game without needing to hold down or repeatedly tap a button is also a great accessible design option. Providing more granular customization for the player is important. For example, rumble has a huge impact on players with motor disabilities, and thus you should allow the player to change the rumble sensitivity. Lastly, the ability to pause a game is important for motor disabled gamers as they might need to take a break from playing because of fatigue or discomfort.

4. Cognitive Disabilities:

Many different types of cognitive disabilities require other design solutions within video games. Common cognitive disabilities recognized by video game makers include epilepsy, dyslexia, and learning disabilities.

Some of the key design features implemented to improve the playing experience of people with cognitive disabilities include:

  • Options for how a player perceives your world, such as a Field of View (FOV) slider or Motion Blur slider
  • The ability to turn off quick flashes or regular moving patterns
  • Providing simplified information and objectives to players
  • The ability to turn on navigation cues
  • Access to play tutorials whenever for a quick refresher
  • Implementing pause screens with information that reminds the player what they're doing
  • The ability to pause your game
  • Fully customizable difficulty levels

Customization is Key

Providing options to the player is the key to being inclusive and accessible. Customization options within your setting allow players to have the freedom to enjoy your game in their own way and express who they are. Whether you allow a player to customize how subtitles look, remap controls to their liking, or turn off motion blur because it makes them feel nauseous, customization enables users to unlock an extra layer of potential within your game. From a design perspective, it's a no-brainer!

One of the beautiful elements of video games is that they are interactive entertainment whose potential is dependent on how you approach them. This makes them uniquely different from most other forms of media. Options and customization allow players to tailor their experience and properly immerse themselves in your game. Remember to design for everyone. Test your designs with disabled players in all four categories before shipping your game to ensure the best overall experience for all players.

Want to Learn More About Accessibility in Video Games? 

Awareness of accessibility in video games has grown in recent years thanks to the efforts of a number of organizations, individuals, and advocates. There are many great places, particularly online, where you can learn more about accessibility for video games and keep up to date with recent accessibility developments.

We recommend checking out this Youtube Playlist from the Game Maker's Toolkit that features a number of videos all about video game accessibility.

You should also watch the Video Game Accessibility Awards, which take place annually, and were founded by Able Gamers senior director Steven Spohn and Sony Santa Monica writer and Youtube personality Alanah Pearce. The awards show, which is streamed live on Youtube, is a great place to learn about and recognize the video games that are succeeding with UX accessibility in video games in recent years.

To learn more about UX accessibility for video games, please get in touch with our UX experts.


AR - Changing the way you look

The global market for augmented reality (AR), virtual reality (VR), and mixed reality (MR) ) is forecast to reach close to $300 billion by 2024. We are constantly changing how we interact with the world around us, and augmented reality presents us with an inventive way to enhance these interactions. It also gives us a way to improve how we create and design. Augmented Reality is set to be particularly disruptive in the mobile world. There is a lot for mobile marketers, app creators, and designers to consider when incorporating AR into their workflows and products.

So, what AR developments are worth following, and how can we use AR most effectively in our daily and professional lives?

Measure and design the world around you

In 2020 Apple CEO Tim Cook said of AR that,“You rarely have a new technology where business and consumers both see it as key to them. That's the reason I think it's going to pervade your life. "Indeed, Augmented Reality has many practical applications which indicate that it is a technology that is here for the long term. For example, AR can be used as a tool to measure and design the things we see and live within the real world.

There are a number of apps for Android and Apple devices that allow you to use AR technology to measure and visualize items in real space. With something like “Ruler App + AR Tape Measure” augmented reality technology is used to tape measure the real world with your smartphone’s camera. All you have to do is target aim on the detected plane and start to use the AR tape measure tool.
Today, there is also a selection of AR apps you can use for interior design. Apps like Houzz, Dulux Visualizer and IKEA Place all allow users to see how different decor items might look in your home. With these kinds of apps, you no longer have to worry about whether a design will suit the environment before buying it. Instead, AR technology lets you see the world differently. It enables you to conveniently measure and design in ways that would otherwise be impractical and expensive.

Learning with AR

Augmented Reality also has plenty of utility in the classroom. AR is already being used in education to allow students to deepen their knowledge. With AR applications, teachers will improve their interactivity and engagement with their students. For example,, SkyView is an app that enables students to explore the universe using AR overlays of the night sky. As a result, science class has the potential to be so much more interactive and awe-inspiring.

Similarly, Microsoft’s HoloLens is a type of augmented reality (which they call “mixed reality”) that has allowed medical students and doctors to receive a practical, hands-on education of the human body. AR technology has made it easier and more convenient for students to enhance their understanding of anatomy. The potential learning opportunities with AR technology are limitless!

Learning with AR is a hot topic. If you want to know more about the exciting work being done with AR and the fascinating conversations being had take a look at ScienceDirect’s page on Mobile Augmented Reality.

Navigating to your destination

You may not have even realized but you’ve probably used AR to help you navigate. Many advanced GPS navigation apps like Sygic or Google Maps now use AR to enhance their navigation experience. For example, Sygic, which has over 200 million users worldwide, drivers can take advantage of an AR feature within the app that guides via a virtual path on their smartphone camera preview. It is an intuitive system that serves as an upgrade on the previous map-based navigation and provides users with a real-time camera preview, ensuring that their journeys can be safer and more accurate.

AR gaming

One of the most famous examples of AT in mobile gaming apps is Pokémon GO. The viral game became a worldwide phenomenon when released back in 2016. The success of Pokémon Go indicates the potential of free-to-play AR-based games. The app, which uses a freemium business model that combines local advertising and app purchases, has grossed more than $5 billion. Although the game is based on an already popular IP, Pokémon also shows how eager consumers are to get out of their houses and use AR games to interact with the world around them. Check out this Game Designing article, “The Unstoppable Rise of AR: Groundbreaking Games”, to learn about some of the other AR games that are taking the industry by storm.

The future of AR

The future of AR looks bright. It is a technology capable of altering the way we interact with each other and the world. AR also presents plenty of great opportunities for creative minds in the mobile gaming space. At Radiant, we understand the value of being at the forefront of digital innovations. As we see it, AR will be one of those innovations that will change the game for industries worldwide. We want to help businesses navigate an increasingly crowded field, make the most of their digital transformation and create innovative solutions.

In the world of mobile, those who appreciate AR's potential and are actively looking to use AR to be creative will make engaging content and positively change the way their users interact with the world around them.

Are you interested in the future of Augmented Reality? Visit Radiant Digital to learn more about the role AR can play along the road to complete digital transformation.


Powering Up your UX Research with Virtual Reality

Research is vital in UX development and usually involves questionnaires, surveys, and interviews. However, gauging the design's functionalities requires quantifying user interactions and participant behavior. Near-exact experiences of the actual UX design can be helpful in this regard. However, this involves complex concepts and expensive prototypes that are hardly modifiable. Virtual Reality implementation is a context-specific way to overcome these UX research challenges. It helps transport people to many places virtually, teach new skills, and even fight phobias.

We at Radiant Digital are excited about new technologies that can potentially transform how we work! Virtual Reality is one of them. In this blog, we deep-dive into where VR UX research is already in practice and how it powers up UX research.

Why VR in UX Research?

UX research involves gauging user-product interactions within a physical, social, and cultural context. Virtual Reality (VR) can enhance UX research by creating realistic-looking virtual environments (VEs) with better environmental control and ecological validity. Some of its applications include:

  • Researching workflows or interactions in developing virtual layouts.
  • Display or configuration-related details can be built, experienced, and judged in VR.
  • Safety and convenience in UX are other factors that can be effectively reproduced and evaluated by VR.

With VR, researchers can test a product’s user experience with higher visibility cost-effectively.

The Countless Possibilities

VR simulations apply to almost any actual space type in a variety of domains.

  • Workplace occupational safety: VR modeling helps tackle workplace hazards when included in training exercises.
  • Easing mental and physical health problems: VR applications are helpful in patient care, especially in diagnosis and curing phobias.
  • Educational and training environments: Educators can promote skills development by leveraging a virtual domain where the real-world consequences of failing can be avoided.

With multi-sensory features, VR helps replicate an environment for a design and its user interactions while improving the scope for understanding the product’s real-world acceptance.

VR User Testing in the Service Industry 

Providers, primarily in the IT service domain, need to test product performance in near-real environments rigorously. For example, UX researchers can use VR to inject variable attributes into their UX design in a lab setting. This helps evaluate different results for different scenarios, environments, & conditions, or geographic disparities.

VR as a UX Evaluation Tool

VR is helpful for UX research and human–product interaction. It helps with the following:

  • Obtaining insights on the users' needs and expectations by observing and evaluating the users' behavior during design interaction in a controlled environment.
  • Focusing on UX evaluation through optimizing human–product interactions.
  • Gaining information on target users and their behavior in a 3D multi-user virtual environment.
  • Gauging emotional levels during user interactions and translating that to data on the users' preferences and needs.
  • Enabling usage changes while observing natural and subjective responses.
  • Obtaining data related to performance, errors, and learnability.
  • Mediating interactions with realistic and directly controlled user avatars with motion trackers.

Best Practices for VR User Research

VR in UX combines conventional usability testing and a contextual interview. Some unique factors to consider include:

Preparation

The Environment:

  • Evaluate the space where you will conduct the VR experiments for your design.
  • Configure a "mixed reality lab" for the infrastructure to conduct augmented and virtual reality UX research.
  • Perform safety checks and remove any obstacles to free movement.

The Technology: It is essential to know the underlying technologies impacting your research in a cross-functional environment.

The Subject: Ensure your target users know what they are signing up for by briefing them thoroughly on the requirements and how to handle the experience. UX researchers should ensure:

  • Participant comfort.
  • The clarity in technology concepts and goals.
  • Digital data analysis is done before, during, and after an experience.
  • Awareness of possible motion sickness or mobility issues affecting participants.

The Equipment:

  • Test the VR equipment and the software for performance after synchronization.
  • Check if the gadgets are cleaned regularly and make users comfortable without disorienting them.

Privacy:  UX researchers should clarify what data they'd collect and how it will be used when conducting VR research from a participant's home or device.

Recruitment: Understanding the users' digital knowledge and experience in the VR space is crucial while recruiting them.

Research plan: VR combines physical, emotional, and digital experiences, which mandates clarifying the following:

  • Which aspects of UX design are you testing and whether it correlates to the device setup or the application?
  • What user behavior traits are you observing?
  • What you'll be recording and how?

Make your research seamless by setting up your research plan and the required tools.

VR User Testing

During VR sessions, you must consider the following differences between VR and conventional user testing.

Unfamiliarity with the technology: Users need buffer time to attune themselves to the technology, equipment, and environment. It is paramount to plan and explain the sequence in which the participant would navigate different experiences.

Cybersickness: Please note any symptoms and metrics (such as frame rate, session length, sudden acceleration, standing versus seated position, the participant's age, etc.) of cybersickness and only proceed when the participant is ready.

Facilitation: Noting verbal and non-verbal cues without distractions is crucial while observing the user and their interactions. VR facilitation is challenging because the user experiences a simulated environment context different from that of the interviewer.

Recording and notetaking: Ensure that participants look in your direction to record their expressions and emotional responses correctly. Use cameras and notetaking tools to obtain clear user feedback.

After the Experience 

Post-interview: UX researchers must keep a checklist to clarify the user’s experience with a design and note any negative feedback that can help fix loopholes.

Key Takeaways

VR helps identify the core concepts, evaluation methods, and limitations of your UX design to validate user acceptance. Though VR is still work-in-progress w.r.t market penetration, integrating it with UX research can unfold novel ways of fulfilling user-centric designs.

Radiant Digital can help you convert your Virtual Reality Vision to Enterprise Reality Designs. Contact us to know more.


[Webinar] Learning via Immersive Media: Insights from Flight & Aircraft Maintenance Training

https://youtu.be/s2CP5BNub6Y

Radiant presents:

"Learning via Immersive Media: Insights from Flight and Aircraft Maintenance Training"

Interest in immersive learning using AR/VR continues to grow as the cost to implement the technology falls. But is there value in implementing immersive learning for your technical training? Hear some of the lessons that have been learned from pilot training, where immersive learning has been used for decades. Learn about the importance of analysis when designing simulations and how simulation fidelity is geared based on learner level.

Special guest speakers:


[Webinar] Dream. Design. Deploy. All in XR with Byldr.

https://youtu.be/AFiqjze9-rw

Radiant, in partnership with Byldr, presents:

An engaging conversation on empowering staff and accelerating enterprise XR adoption by building XR PoCs internally with on-device, no code authoring. Featuring Director of AR and VR of Radiant Digital, Surya Prakash, and Inflexion Point CTO XR Thought Leader, Sean Ong.

This 30-minute fireside chat-style webinar features a demo and a live Q&A with the audience.

Highlights:

  • How on-device XR app building can reduce the development time by 5x by eliminating the 2D to 3D iteration cycle.
  • How the intuitive, no-code user interface can empower existing, non-coding creative staff to XR application development in hours with no training.
  • The integration of Azure Spatial Anchors, Bing Maps, and SketchFab integration create persistent AR/VR experiences.

The Digital Thread is imperative for new growth in Digital Twins and AR

Most enterprises aspire to be digitally transformed. Innovation as the engine of growth favors this initiative, especially in the immersive technologies space. A core enterprise priority now is to deliver new customer experiences through digital products and services. This mandates the collection and analysis of operational data used to make process adjustments for cost reduction, efficiency improvement, and reliable business outcomes. The biggest challenge today is deploying disparate technologies within a unified business function.

The Digital Twin is foundational to any digital transformation. It offers the latest representation of a system while mimicking an enterprise’s machines, workflows, controls, and systems. A communication framework connecting traditionally siloed components and processes is still required. With such a framework, companies can achieve an integrated view of an asset throughout the digital product lifecycle. The Digital Thread is that framework that offers snapshots of a product’s or system’s lifecycle.  Engaging both these technologies can potentially enhance your operating models, revenue streams, and workflows. It propels performance across the product innovation chain, enterprise value chain, and asset chain.

How Digital Twin and Digital Thread Differ?

The Digital Twin is an executable virtual model of the physical equipment that can be iteratively updated across the entire lifecycle. It specifies the engineering components, the materials used, and the behavior of these components. It includes the operational data and as-built information unique to asset representation.

The Digital Thread is a communication framework that enables a connected data flow while offering an integrated view of the asset’s data throughout its lifecycle. It covers all the siloed functional perspectives. The digital thread paradigm delivers the correct information to the right place at the right time.

The Augmented Reality Dimension

Augmented Reality (AR) and Digital Twins can be relatively merged to offer seamless, immersive experiences. However, it is essential to understand the unique set of challenges that come with deploying these technologies. In the AR industry, dealing with the deluge of data flowing from numerous connected sensors, devices, and components is a pervasive challenge. AR requires the building of virtual copies of products and processes. Implementing the Digital Twins in AR helps assess key performance indicators like unplanned downtime, throughput, changeover time, material wastage, etc.

This helps identify and isolate issues and deploy fixes. Using the Digital Twins, iterations are made cost-efficient and less time-consuming. Digital twins also help position companies for next-gen computing that is interactive, spatial, and intelligent. All of which is pivotal to Immersive experiences provided by AR.

Digital twins are components of a larger digital continuum-a Digital Thread. The Digital Thread binds data sources used in AR implementations to create a virtuous cycle from start to end. It renders better efficiency gains and performance improvements. Thus, the baseline digital twin reflects the dynamics of the environment it mirrors when integrated with AR using:

  • Connectivity and networks to transfer sensor data into the models used in AR.
  • Data intelligence to translate raw data into actionable data insights that can help in the AR model evolution.
  • Simulation offers a virtual view of operations using AI and ML.
  • A human/machine interface on wearable or mobile devices to get the context of a machine or system meaningfully for a specific function.

Key AR-Digital Twins Implementation Challenges

Operational Disparity: The Digital Twins often exhibit the inability to scale and cover all the envisioned state stages in AR modeling. While moving from a pilot to full-scale implementation, getting commercial value out of your Digital Twins and AR assets becomes a problem compared to when experimenting with application code. There are often disparities between the virtual representation creation of the current state and an aspirational future state.

Resource Management Problems: The lack of readily available 3D content and the complications that arise with the need to scale up content as conditions change is an inconvenient process in terms of AR. With Digital Twins, live insights are generated as processes take place. There is a lack of an interface that can effectively convey and convert these insights. In recent times, AR has become the go-to technology for creating user manuals, instructional tutorials, and quality assurance manuals. Although these custom-created tutorials provide higher ROI initially, updating them is a big challenge.

Modernization Setbacks: Also, products and work processes need constant refinement and modification to match productivity goals. This requirement adds to the challenges above. Often in AR, legacy equipment is connected to several connectivity and control systems. This equates to challenges in capturing the correct data, aggregating it in a meaningful way, and analyzing it.

Weaving a Solution with Digital Threads

Augmented Reality can be compounded with Digital Twins to solve the inherent and independent complexities of these technologies.

All the products and processes have a digital identity with unique characteristics. In practicality, there is a constant need to update and scale content in an ever-changing environment.

The dynamic data sets collected through various IoT sensors present on the physical systems can be mapped out as a single Digital Thread. This Digital Thread holistically combines the Digital Twin of a system and the corresponding AR processes. It is the collaborative unit of multiple Digital Twin instances within the simulated systems’ environment.

Live Digital Twin data offers a real-time view of internal processes and system statuses. Hence, the Digital Thread acts as a single composition of all the disparate digital identities within the physical system or operation.

Demonstration with the Volvo Case Study

The Volvo Group specializing in manufacturing trucks, construction equipment, and industrial engines employed Digital Twin and Digital Thread technologies to update and scale QA for AR experiences continuously. Each engine required 40 checks with about 200 possible QA variants that had to be executed in 8 minutes at the QA station. Usually, it took five weeks to train employees on this complex inspection procedure. So, Volvo combined Digital Twins and Digital Threads to establish and maintain data flow consistency and efficiency. They leveraged the Internet of Things (IoT) for data integration across various platforms to ensure real-time data synchronization.

A single integrated digital entity was delivered using AR so QA technicians could access the latest engine configurations near real-time. This AR solution overlaid 3D data and QA information directly on the physical systems through computer vision for tracking and anchoring content. This technology integration helped Volvo reduce the time taken to update and validate a QA process from 24 hours to less than an hour. Training times were drastically reduced from 5 to less than two weeks.

Wrapping up

AR companies need to consider the Digital Thread to achieve greater efficiency and carve a niche in this dynamic and challenging space. Strategically leveraging Digital Twins and Digital Threads helps achieve true digital transformation with a higher market share in the AR experience lifecycle.

Connect with Radiant to learn more!


[Webinar] Avoid the Hype Cycle and deploy AR at scale

https://youtu.be/6wvVhKyvdjU

 

In partnership with Scope AR, Radiant presents: "Avoid the Hype Cycle and deploy AR at scale." In this webinar, co-founder of Scope AR presents a novel approach to the Hype Cycle, observing at each point that very early on, much like the technology’s journey through the Hype Cycle, the customer themself goes through a similar cycle as well. Follow the customer journey through the technology trigger, the peak of inflated expectations, the trough of disillusionment, the slope of enlightenment, and the plateau of productivity. Then, demonstrate how to avoid the "Hype Cycle" and gain productivity in deploying AR at scale. Our partner, Scope AR, created the software, and our company, Radiant, handles the custom content development for our clients. Connect with us to know more about using AR with learning and training programs.

Digital Twin - Converging the Virtual and Physical worlds to Accelerate Transformational Innovation

If minimizing failures, shortening development cycles, and smoothening the product development cycle are your paramount goals, then Digital Twin adoption should be your top priority. Digital Twin offers visibility on your production line and helps predict the future of various processes. It essentially helps maximize OEE, optimize productivity, and improve business profitability. In other words, Digital Twin empowers engineers to analyze, explore, and assess physical assets, processes, and systems using virtual tools. This ability helps gain a highly accurate view of what is happening now and what will happen next.

What is Digital Twin?

Digital Twin is a technology that engages AR, VR, 3D graphics, cloud, AI, data modeling, and other emerging technologies to build a virtual model of a system, process, product, service, or other physical objects. This virtual replica of the physical world gets updated based on real-time updates and environmental parameters.

'Digital Twin' is often mistaken for being a simulation. But, in reality, it merges business logic, IoT data, modeling and simulation, and Data Analytics to predict a physical system's behavior. Converging virtual and physical worlds helps manufacturers and AR/VR businesses head off problems before they occur, prevent downtime, improve the scope of their products/services and even plan for the future by using simulations. A contemporary Digital Twin combines multiple interacting systems to account for different facets of the physical system.

Origins in Aerospace

Digital Twin's origination can be traced back to NASA's Apollo 13 mission. During the building process, NASA had built multiple simulators of various systems of the actual spacecraft that they initially used to train astronauts for failure management. Real-time data was used during an explosion in the oxygen tanks (which critically affected the main engine) to modify the simulators and emulate the damaged spacecraft condition. Instead of IoT, advanced telecommunications was used for two-way data transfer. Modified simulations provided critical information to the crew, ensuring their safe return to earth. Thus, NASA had nearly set up the modern-day Digital Twins framework.

Why Digital Twin is Helpful

The Digital Twin is used in specified analytics workflows to facilitate the planned business outcome, using consistently acquired environmental and operational data. The data flow consistency allows the Digital Twin model to continually adapt to environmental and operational changes and deliver the best results. Thus, the Digital Twin reflects the physical asset or system's living model offering the near-accurate representation during development. This technology can be rapidly and easily scaled for a quick deployment for similar applications.

Digital Twin helps model at these levels:

  • Component level – Focus is on a single, highly critical component within the manufacturing process/facility/production line.
  • Asset level –A Digital Twin is created for a single asset within the production line.
  • System-level – The Digital Twin helps monitor and improve a production line system.
  • Product Level- This technology helps monitor and test a product in real-time as used by real customers or end-users.
  • Process level – The Digital Twin focuses on optimizing processes like design, development, and production. It also relates to the distribution and consumption lifecycle of end-products and the development of future products.

Digital Twins allow engineers to test a physical product through virtual modeling and monitor which aspects may need to be improved, replaced, or augmented. It also helps evaluate the risks and issues that might occur in the future without ever using the product.

Additionally, Digital Twin can help:

  • Enhance product traceability.
  • Test, validate, and refine assumptions.
  • Increase the level of integration between unconnected systems.
  • Remotely troubleshoot equipment, regardless of the geographical location.

A digital twin performs real-time tests on a Minimum Viable Product (MVP), process, or system based on real-time updates (data and status) and real-world dynamics. The state of the Digital Twin changes as it receives new data from the physical object. As this model matures, it generates more accurate and valuable outputs.

Building Block of Digital Twin

Digital twin needs data, algorithms, sensors, and a data access framework. This is called a digital thread that runs through the data network, establishing links and correlations. The digital thread ensures that all the process components can access the latest sensor data in a product lifecycle (sample shown below).

A digital thread can follow the entire life cycle of different products. It can connect the design requirements to its implementation, manufacturing instructions, supplier management, and end-customer processes. A digital thread offers a complete overview of the product’s performance across business functions and departments based on real-time data.

Benefits of Digital Twin Technology

  • Improve the reliability of equipment and production line processes.
  • Enhance OEE, reduce downtime and productivity.
  • Aid better resource utilization and reduces wastage.
  • Help improve product availability, marketplace reputation, and quality.
  • Lower maintenance costs through predictive maintenance and increases visibility by at least 30%.
  • Lower production, lead time, and time-to-value by nearly 30%.
  • Improve customer service through remote configuration and product customization.
  • Make supply and delivery chains more efficient.
  • Improve ROI and profitability.

Challenges Solved by Digital Twin

In a product lifecycle, Digital Twin can solve the following challenges.

Engineering Design: Digital Twin helps meet complex product requirements and stringent regulatory requirements. It helps,

  • Support rapid development cycles.
  • Explore the effects of various design alternatives.
  • Perform simulations and testing to ensure that product designs won’t go astray.

Manufacturing Build: Digital Twin helps meet the changing demands for better efficiency, yield, and quality. It adds clarity to how a projected change might impact costs or schedules in a manufacturing project.

Operations and Service: Digital Twin helps minimize unexpected downtime, worker safety incidents, and operational glitches. It provides the current operational status and statistics on system alerts, maintenance issues, KPIs, etc.

Handling Data

Present data – Digital Twin works on real-time data from equipment sensors, manufacturing platforms and systems’ output, and data from all the systems in the distribution chain. It may also utilize departmental business system data like customer service or purchase information.

Future data – Digital Twin can implement the model with ML or analytics-based predictive data from engineers.

Essential Components of a high-fidelity Digital Twin

Business Logic: This provides a defined set of rules for the Digital Twin to manage data. It defines the interactions between business objects, the conditions, and the operational sequence. The business logic should also enforce routes and methods by which the said business objects are accessed and modified.

Internet of Things (IoT) data: Data is a vital asset of a fully functional Digital Twin. Real-time sensor telemetry data from physical devices need to be collected, stored, and relayed as input. IoT data offers visibility into the system lifecycle. It replaces assumptions with real data for systems planning and designing. This data closes the feedback loop with system usage data aiding operational decisions. Analyzing the historical data system patterns and performance stats against real-time sensor data optimizes asset utilization.

Modeling and Simulation: A Digital Twin model interface may include fields like property, telemetry, component, and relationship. For example, suppose a Digital Twin user is collecting temperature data of a room in a building. In that case, the property is temperature, the telemetry is temperature readings, and the component is a thermostat. The relationship represents how the room relates to the floor and the floor to the building, creating a knowledge graph of interrelated models. With models in place, users can simulate what-if scenarios to make design, operational, and performance decisions.

Output data analytics: Real-time sensor data collected from the physical system can be analyzed and visualized to interpret and communicate data patterns. These data patterns can help make effective decisions, predictions, and business performance improvements. Historical and current data comparisons help forecast future trends and improve high-level decision-making.

Digital Twin and Immersive Technologies

Sensors and actuators that help monitor and control systems capture real-time data. By connecting Digital Twin, data on the operations of the physical system can be analyzed and processed. The same data can be used to produce 3D objects and images overlaid with real-time sensor data. This helps product maintenance and field service where the Digital Twin can follow the product’s location and movement. Digital Twin is useful for diagnostics, predictive maintenance, and product development, while AR/VR demonstrate their utility for product visualization, equipment maintenance, and training.

Market Perspective

  • In Germany, a Siemens plant had implemented Digital Twin as their production scaled up to 15 million units a year without expanding the factory floor or additional human resources. This led to a defect rate of almost zero as 99.99% of units required no adjustments.
  • Since 2015, GE had implemented over 500,000 Digital Twins for wind turbines before they were built, which led to 20% improved efficiency.
  • Experts predict the global Digital Twin market to reach USD 48.2 billion by 2026 with a CAGR of 58%.

Wrapping up

Digital Twin can integrate system insights, improve visibility on machine states, and trigger appropriate remedial business workflows. Embracing this potentially disruptive technology now can help businesses remain relevant, competitive, and digitally transformed. Radiant is playing a key role in advancing this new technology!