Spatial computing means making predictions about traffic of people, means: it’s the way a home robot calculates its displacement, or where the Uber app estimates the movements by car, or even the way it geolocations with GPS All clear and intuitive.

But spatial computing is also the automation of a warehouse, it is the calculation of spaces and movements of machines in robotic factories, it is the augmented reality that creates a spatial context in which data is used.

Spatial computing, to put it in the words of Valentin Heun, Vice President Innovation and Engineering, entered PTC in 2017 as co-founder of the Reality Laboratory project, \ represents the natural link between the

For Heun, who has led research and development in this field, spatial computing, also known as space computing, is a tool that offers technicians, designers, programmers, but also at the company’s top levels, the opportunity to optimize flows

For Heun, the possibility of combining digital and physical worlds with each other will allow us to seize all the opportunities offered by augmented reality for the development of innovative user interfaces, providing a decisive contribution to solving a huge number of problems in the factory.

In this regard, Ptc has recently launched Vuforia Spatial Toolbox, a new open source platform that aims to provide technology laboratories and start-ups with a tool that helps accelerate research in the field of spatial computing.

Born from an idea by Heun, who among other things carried out research at the MIT Media Lab’s Fluid Interfaces Group, where he coordinated research on the man-machine interface Reality Editor, this project is raising awareness of the

As Heun explains, spatial computing may seem something far from us. We actually use this technology every day. If you booked a taxi using Uber, looked at the information board in a subway station to see when the next train is coming, or used Google Maps to find and book a restaurant, you entrusted yourself to the spa

Space industry and analytics

The step that is being taken today is to understand how to apply this technology in the industrial field to help improve its activities.

For Heun, the potential of spatial computing is enormous because they offer the opportunity to immerse themselves in a digital world that, thanks to the power of sensors and technologies of augmented and virtual reality, allows to interact and to understand more deeply the machines and their

For example, using space analytics, it is possible to identify bottle packages more easily, both in process and in labour, than traditional manual or paper methods, allowing continuous improvement of production processes.

An opportunity that Heun could be crucial to reconfigure processes, calibrate production capacity, improve labour efficiency, increase safety and productivity, and even introduce new products on the market more quickly.

Spatial computing to review operations

The observation is not accidental, since the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic has been heavy for the manufacturing sector.

Many production sites were forced to close, while those remaining active had to re-adapt their operations according to physical distancing.

Meetings, meetings, visits with customers and suppliers have been cancelled: this has created many operational and logistical problems, especially where machine failures or some robots had to be reprogrammed.

The possibility of remote access to machines, plants and production lines has therefore proved to be a determining factor in these situations and spatial computing will speed up this process, giving companies the opportunity to control an increasing amount of assets,

For Heun •Improving the technologies of man machine interface and augmented reality also means offering the possibility to an operator who needs to program a robot to carry out new tasks to understand, control and plan in a simpler way

The road to be followed is still long and spatial computing is not yet mature to make its stable entry into the factory.

For this reason Ptc is accelerating its development time, and Heun is convinced that in the next two years spatial computing, thanks to the growing interest and the constant diffusion it will experience, will push industrial innovation towards new frontiers.

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