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双语:Augmented Reality: Here’s Looking at You
发布时间:2017年09月25日     Economist 译  
来源: 英语世界
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Augmented Reality: Here’s Looking at You

增强现实:看你的

 

Smart glasses may have a big future at work

智能眼镜可能有巨大商用前景

 

Ahead of its time or just plain weird? Whatever the answer, Google last year stopped selling consumer prototypes of its controversial Google Glass, a camera-equipped head-mounted display resembling a pair of spectacles. Using a process known as augmented reality (AR), Glass can display in the viewer’s line of sight information about what they are looking at, among other things.

 

超越时代还是纯粹怪异?不管答案如何,谷歌已于去年停售了备受争议的消费者测试版谷歌眼镜,那是一款配备摄像头的头戴式显示器,看起来就像一副眼镜。利用一种名为“增强现实”的处理技术,谷歌眼镜可在佩戴者眼前显示诸多信息,比如所见事物的相关信息。

 

What consumers found unusual, factories and other businesses may not. Workers are often required to wear odd-looking safety equipment, such as helmets and protective glasses. It is more normal to be filmed. And indeed, the workplace is where AR equipment is taking hold, which is why Google is revamping Glass with business uses in mind.

 

有些东西可能让普通消费者觉得奇怪,但工厂和其他企业也许却习以为常。工人往往需要穿上外观古怪的安全装备,比如头盔和护目镜。拍摄监控就更是常见。事实上,工作场所才是AR设备渐渐站稳脚跟的地方,这也是谷歌正着眼商用改进谷歌眼镜的原因。

 

What consumers found unusual, factories and other businesses may not. Workers are often required to wear odd-looking safety equipment, such as helmets and protective glasses. It is more normal to be filmed. And indeed, the workplace is where AR equipment is taking hold, which is why Google is revamping Glass with business uses in mind.

 

工程师在调试和维修配电变压器时,往往需要把近半时间花在从各种软件、数据库、调试记录甚至是老式的文件柜中搜寻技术数据,施耐德电气上海公司的副总裁阿兰·德迪埃说道。这家法国跨国公司正在测试AR系统,能够在工程师眼前实时显示所需的技术信息。

 

Schneider is doing this with headsets and tablet computers, both of which superimpose information onto an image of the object on either the lenses in the headset or the screen on a tablet. The system uses image-recognition software, and sometimes a bar code stuck on equipment, to determine what the piece of kit is. It then wirelessly fetches any data relevant to it, such as its optimum operating temperature, fluid levels and maintenance history.

 

施耐德的系统利用头戴设备和平板电脑来实现,两者都可以在物体的影像上叠加信息,或显示在眼镜上,或显示在屏幕上。该系统利用图像识别软件,有时也凭设备上贴的条形码来判断使用了哪种设备。然后通过无线网络读取相关信息,如设备的最佳工作温度、液位水平及维护历史。

 

Software then "sticks" that information to the image on the screen, so that it disappears if the camera is turned to something else. The data reappear if the equipment comes back into view. Early results from China suggest AR can slash the amount of time engineers spend looking for information to about a tenth of current levels, says Mr. Dedieu.

 

软件再把那些信息“贴”到屏幕影像上,当镜头转向其他物件时,信息就会消失。设备如果再回到视线内,相关数据也会重现屏幕。德迪埃表示,在中国的前期测试结果表明AR可减少工程师在搜寻信息上花费的时间,只需目前耗时的十分之一。

 

One in the eye

看在眼里

 

In America, ITAMCO, an Indiana-based engineering company, has found similar benefits. Some of its operators use an AR system with Google Glass headsets. Having data automatically pop into their field of view saves enough time for two machine operators to do work that previously required three or four, says Joel Neidig, an ITAMCO technologist who has helped clients including Caterpillar and General Electric set up similar systems.

 

总部位于美国印第安纳州的工程公司ITAMCO已经发现了类似的好处。该公司部分操作人员使用了谷歌眼镜AR系统。由于数据能自动出现在眼前,节省了很多时间,如今两名机器操作员就能完成以往需要三四个人做的工作,ITAMCO的技术员乔尔·尼迪格说道。他曾帮助卡特彼勒和通用电气等客户建立类似系统。

 

The use of AR systems in Europe is proving more difficult to implement because some unions deem the technology to be a sneaky way for management to monitor workers, says Mr Neidig. He maintains management wants to reduce accidents by ensuring workers see proper procedures and danger alerts.

 

目前看来,AR系统在欧洲的应用推广较为困难,因为有些工会认为此技术是管理层偷偷摸摸监视员工的一种方式,尼迪格说。他坚持认为,管理层只是希望确保工人看到适当的程序及安全警示,以减少事故的发生。

 

Some European firms are using the technology. Siemens, a German engineering giant, is using JoinPad, an Italian firm, to set up an AR system to help with a number of tasks, including the prevention of hazardous and costly oil fires in high-voltage transformers. Productivity gains from AR are not always dramatic, but 20% or more is typical, says Nicolas Pezzarossa of JoinPad.

 

一些欧洲公司正在使用该技术。德国工程巨头西门子正采用意大利公司JoinPad建立的AR系统来辅助完成多项任务,包括防止危险且损失严重的高压变压器油起火事故。AR技术并不总是能让生产率大幅提升,但一般能达到20%或以上,JoinPad的尼古拉斯·佩扎罗萨说道。

 

The technology still has room for improvement. Around 200 workers using AR on tablets at Newport News Shipbuilding in Virginia don’t yet rely on it to find the exact location to install critical equipment. But it still beats flipping through lots of paper diagrams and determining if one piece of equipment has to be installed above or below another, says Patrick Ryan, an engineer overseeing the roll-out of AR in building an aircraft-carrier and half-a-dozen submarines for the US Navy. Once the price of headsets come down, the firm may well start using them as well as tablets.

 

该技术仍有提升的空间。在弗吉尼亚州的纽波特纽斯船厂,使用平板电脑AR技术的约200名工人尚未依赖该技术来精确定位安装关键设备。然而,采用AR技术还是比翻阅一大堆图纸,只为搞清楚两个设备谁在上谁在下要强,负责为美国海军在制造一艘航空母舰及多艘潜艇时推广AR系统的工程师帕特里克·瑞恩说。只要头戴式设备的价格降下来,这家船厂就很可能开始同时使用头戴式设备和平板电脑。

 

Headset prices are getting keener. Atheer, a Silicon Valley firm, will begin shipping its Air Smart Glasses to industrial users within a few months for some $4,000; a current model for software developers costs $9,000. The Smart Helmet, an AR headset made by DAQRI, a Los Angeles firm, is being used at KSP Steel in Kazakhstan. It costs $10,000, but also doubles as a hard-hat and eye shield. It automatically switches off instructions if hand movements detected by the camera suggest that the user has learned what to do.

 

头戴式设备的价格也更加平易近人。硅谷公司Atheer将在几个月内开始向工业用户交付4000美元左右的Air 智能眼镜,而目前面向软件开发人员的型号售价则为9000美元。洛杉矶公司DAQRI研发的一款AR头戴式设备“智能头盔”已被哈萨克斯坦KSP钢铁公司采用。其售价为一万美元,但还可兼作普通安全帽及眼罩。如果头盔上的摄像头探测到的手势表明用户已经知道怎么做,它就会自动不再显示说明。

 

Headsets can also augment communications. Microsoft’s HoloLens, an AR headset that is being used on the International Space Station, sends video of the astronaut’s field of view to a tablet at mission control on Earth, where a technician can draw on the touchscreen – putting, say, a circle around a switch that has to be flipped – and have that circle appear in the astronaut’s view. Vuzix, an American firm, is developing smartglasses for use in a variety of business locations, from warehouses to field training.

 

头戴式设备还可以辅助增强通讯。微软的AR头戴式设备HoloLens正为国际空间站所用,它能把宇航员的视野以视频形式传回地球上的太空任务控制中心,显示在一台平板电脑上。技术人员可在触摸屏上写写画画,比如把某个需要按下的开关圈起来,那个圈就会出现在宇航员眼前。美国公司Vuzix则正研发智能眼镜,可以用于从仓库到在职培训等各类商业场所。

 

Augmedix, a San Francisco company, is developing a Glass-based system for hospitals and clinics. The idea is that rather than burying their head in a computer screen when a patient walks into the consulting room, a doctor will be able to look at them and see that person’s medical history, prescriptions and other information in his field of view. Augmedix reckons the system can increase a doctor’s productivity by more than 30%.

 

旧金山公司Augmedix正在为医院和诊所研发AR眼镜系统。其想法是,当病人走进诊室时,医生不用埋头看电脑,而是可以看着病人,其病历、处方及其他信息就会出现在眼前。Augmedix估计该系统可将医生的工作效率提高30%以上。

 

Whether people become comfortable with such devices in everyday life remains to be seen. It is not unusual for new technologies to take off in business first, as mobile phones did and Apple Watches are with some firms using them to send employees messages. In the workplace, smart glasses are already less of a spectacle.

 

人们在日常生活中是否会接受这类设备还是未知数。新科技先在商用领域起飞并不稀奇,手机就是个例子,而也有一些公司在使用苹果手表向员工发送信息。在工作中,智能眼镜已经不再是那么稀罕的东西了。


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