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VR/AR in industry

Virtual reality/augmented reality (VR/AR) has been widely used in the industrial fields, such as product design, manufacturing, assembly, maintenance, performance evaluation and other life cycle stages. The technical characteristics of VR can be summarized as virtual world, immersion, sensory feedback, and interactivity. The virtual world or virtual environment (VE) is a mapping of the real world. By reproducing the real environment, the operator can interact with the virtual world truly. For the research and application in the industrial fields, the modeling and simulation of the virtual world reflecting the physical nature are particularly important. The connection of virtual reality and real reality can be reflected in the expansion of two aspects from an industrial point of view: AR and digital twin (DT). On the one hand, AR technology reduces the workload of 3D modeling by integrating the virtual environment with the real world, and improves the credibility of the virtual environment and the experience of the operator. In particular, the term "augmented reality (AR)" was first proposed by Boeing in the early 1990s when they used the AR technology in auxiliary wiring systems. On the other hand, DT, one of the core technologies of the new generation of intelligent manufacturing, realizes the sharing of digital information through the mapping of the real and virtual worlds. In this special issue, we have selected 6 papers (4 review papers and 2 research papers) covering the most relevant technologies and fields in VR/AR/ DT applications, including cable layout design, digital human technology, target tracking, assembly guidance and virtual-real mapping manufacturing.
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Virtual reality and augmented reality in industry

2019, 1(6) : 1-2


PDF (36) HTML (1002)


A review of cable layout design and assembly simulation in virtual environments

2019, 1(6) : 543-557


Abstract (1345) PDF (22) HTML (1307)
The layout and assembly of flexible cables play important roles in the design and development of complex electromechanical products. The rationality of cable layout design and the reliability of cable assembly greatly affect product quality. In this paper, we review the methods of cable layout design, cable assembly process planning, and cable assembly simulation. We first review research on flexible cable layout design (both interactive and automatic). Then, research on the cable assembly process planning, including cable assembly path and manipulation planning, is reviewed. Finally, cable assembly simulation is introduced, which includes general cable information, cable collision detection data, and cable assembly process modeling. Current problems and future research directions are summarized at the end of the paper.
Applications and research trends of digital human models in the manufacturing industry

2019, 1(6) : 558-579


Abstract (1516) PDF (30) HTML (1384)
Virtual reality (VR) has been widely used in various manufacturing industries, and VR-based virtual manufacturing has received significant attention in the current intelligent manufacturing era. Digital human models (DHMs) are essential for virtual manufacturing applications. Additionally, researching new applications of DHMs has developed into an important academic research field. This paper aims to identify the applications and research trends of DHMs in the manufacturing industry and to provide a reference for the continued development of virtual manufacturing and DHMs. We selected a total of 49 related articles from a large number of articles published between 2014 and 2019. The applications of DHMs in the manufacturing industry are analyzed from different perspectives and various relevant technical limitations are discussed. The results indicate that the applications of DHMs differ significantly between different types of fields. The automotive industry is the main application field for DHMs, and assembly/maintenance simulations and evaluations are the main application types. Additionally, there are still some limitations in the establishment of virtual environments, motion control, and DHM evaluation that should be addressed. Finally, research trends in the application of DHMs are illustrated and discussed, including the planning and assessment of human-robot collaboration systems, the combination of DHMs and augmented reality, and improved motion planning for DHMs. In summary, the application of DHMs can improve the realism and effectiveness of virtual manufacturing, and DHMs will be more widely and deeply studied and applied in various manufacturing industries in the near future.
A review of edge-based 3D tracking of rigid objects

2019, 1(6) : 580-596


Abstract (1266) PDF (20) HTML (1123)
Three-dimensional (3D) tracking of rigid objects plays a very important role in many areas such as augmented reality, computer vision, and robotics. Numerous works have been done to pursue more stable, faster, and more accurate 3D tracking. Among various tracking methods, edge-based 3D tracking has been widely used owing to its many advantages. Furthermore, edge-based methods can be mainly divided into two categories, methods without and those with explicit edges, depending on whether explicit edges need to be extracted. Based on this, representative methods in both categories are introduced, analyzed, and compared in this paper. Finally, some suggestions on the choice of methods in different application scenarios and research directions in the future are given.
Digital assembly technology based on augmented reality and digital twins: a review

2019, 1(6) : 597-610


Abstract (1369) PDF (20) HTML (1689)
Product assembly simulation is considered as one of the key technologies in the process of complex product design and manufacturing. Virtual assembly realizes the assembly process design, verification, and optimization of complex products in the virtual environment, which plays an active and effective role in improving the assembly quality and efficiency of complex products. In recent years, augmented reality (AR) and digital twin (DT) technology have brought new opportunities and challenges to the digital assembly of complex products owing to their characteristics of virtual reality fusion and interactive control. This paper expounds the concept and connotation of AR, enumerates a typical AR assembly system structure, analyzes the key technologies and applications of AR in digital assembly, and notes that DT technology is the future development trend of intelligent assembly research.


Three-dimensional virtual-real mapping of aircraft autom-atic spray operation and online simulation monitoring

2019, 1(6) : 611-621


Abstract (1653) PDF (17) HTML (1204)
This study aims at addressing the lack of closed-loop feedback optimization-enabling tool in aircraft automatic spraying systems; we systematically analyze a three-dimensional (3D) virtual-real mapping technique, namely the digital twin technique, used by the automatic spraying system.
With the sensors installed in the spraying system, the spraying working parameters are collected online and are used for driving the 3D virtual spraying system to realize the total-factor monitoring of the spraying operation. Furthermore, the operation-evaluation model is applied for analyzing and managing the key indexes of the spraying quality; once the data value of the key indexes exceeds a threshold, the operation shall be optimized automatically.
This approach can effectively support the high-efficiency analysis, evaluation, and optimization of the spraying process.
Research on the visual elements of augmented reality assembly processes

2019, 1(6) : 622-634


Abstract (1330) PDF (26) HTML (1103)
To solve the problem of visualization in augmented reality (AR), for assembly process information, we report here on our study into the composition of AR assembly process information.
Our work led us to classify the visual elements of assembly processes into six categories, and after looking further into visual element expression characteristics used in assembly process information in the AR environment, standard assembly process elements have been identified and visual element layout principles studied.
Typical visualization elements have been presented, using an AR-based assembly instruction system.