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Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Indiana Developer Combines MTConnect with Google Glass

Google Glass

A man uses the side touchpad to control Google Glass. Credit: Wikimedia Commons.

Although it is only available to a small group of developers, people are getting excited about the prospects of Google Glass, a new brand of wearable technology that provides users with an omnipresent computer.

Google Glass is a glasses-like piece of computer hardware that unobtrusively projects a tiny screen of data information right onto a user’s eye. The UI is controlled by a small touchpad on the side of the arm of the glasses, or by voice commands. You can watch some videos to find out more about Google Glass.

Right now, Google Glass is only available to a select group of developers who paid $1,500 for beta versions of the hardware in order to develop apps, or Glassware as Google has branded software for the device.

While Google promotes many of the social, everyday benefits of using Google Glass, Indiana Technology and Manufacturing Companies (ITAMCO) have invested in the device to develop apps to make the technology work with manufacturing. MTConnect + Google Glass, the product of this investment, was recently released to show the way Google Glass can make shop managers and users more mobile.

The technology allows shop workers to move freely throughout the shop floor, using Google Glass to monitor systems and get up-to-the-minute updates about performance and quotas. The app uses MTConnect, the connection standards protocol, to collect this data, then displays the information to the user via Google Glass.

If a user looks at a machine tool, Google Glass “recognizes” it and retrieves information about its power status, path feed-rate, spindle, axis positions, and much more. The user can alter these controls or calculate production rates. If the machine is fitted with a video, the user can even stream that feed right through Google Glass.

“A new machine operator watches YouTube training videos while at the machine, supplementing his training program,” ITAMCO said about the app. “Getting and sharing information on the machine and its processes would be as intuitive and non-threatening as using his smartphone or playing a video game.”

While Google Glass is still only available to developers, the implications of wearable technology on the shop floor open up new avenues to industrial mobility.

Brian Lane

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