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Digital & Data 29/03/2021

Mixed Reality: Innovative Technology To Bridge Virtual And Physical Worlds

Industry 4.0 is introducing myriad of new technologies into the world of industrial production: from artificial intelligence to robotics, cutting-edge techniques to help companies optimize manufacturing processes and efficiency with the ultimate objective to increase productivity. 

Discover MIRORS Project (MIxed Reality for Operations with Simulations) the mixed reality diagnosis travel kit developped by Synergiz and ENGIE Lab CRIGEN

With Mirors the idea was to create a transversal tool that would allow us to access and manipulate data that used to be compartmented, while improving the decision-making process

Guy Alexandre GRANDIN - Smart Factory – R&D Program Leader chez at ENGIE Lab CRIGEN.

One of the core components emerging more recently is mixed reality (MR), which operates in the realms of augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR).

Mixed reality offers a data visualization solution for operators, with the help of headsets and glasses that display either only digital content, for a full immersive experience, or visual cues and instructions into the user’s environment — in real time and in the field. Workers can interact with virtual objects using hand gestures, simplifying day-to-day operations and procedures to allow tasks to be carried out more quickly and effectively. 

Mixed Reality technology is a key differentiator to help improve collaboration inside a company, as well as with remote external experts: inspection and maintenance operators can consult with an expert to receive guidance and feedback in real time, or leave virtual cues for colleagues, in a centralized system that all workers have access to. MR technology also has useful applications in training new workers.

Just like digital twins, which designate connected virtual replicas of physical devices, mixed reality is offering news ways for industries to reduce costs and downtime as well as optimize maintenance, by bringing the physical and the virtual worlds closer together.

MIRORS Project (MIxed Reality for Operations with Simulations) : the an all-in-one mixed reality collaborative diagnosis kit

For ENGIE, ensuring strong operational performance to produce, distribute and sell energy is central to our work, from the technicians responsible for maintenance and monitoring to the proper functioning of all energy assets. With this objective in mind, ENGIE Lab CRIGEN, one of the Group’s three R&D centers, has collaborated for three years with Synergiz — a company based in S France and a Gold Microsoft Mixed Reality Partner (MRPP) — to develop a range of tools, services and software solutions based on Mixed Reality that are unique on the French market.

One notable innovation from the ENGIE Lab CRIGEN and Synergiz partnership is the creation of a customized version of the all-in-one mixed reality collaborative diagnosis kit (From the called Synergiz HoloKase range), which combines mixed reality and 3D multi-physics simulation (also known as Computational Fluid Dynamics) software solution  to visualize and analyze data from industrial equipment in a new and innovative way.

“The idea was to create a transversal tool that would allow us to access and manipulate data that used to be compartmented, while improving the decision-making process (...) This is a daily tool, accessible to all, which makes the cooperation between several collaborators possible,” says Guy-Alexandre GRANDIN, Smart Factory – R&D Program Leader chez at ENGIE Lab CRIGEN.

Here are some key features of the MIRORS project: 

  • The HoloKase kit designed by Synergiz, is made of four components : several HoloLens, which were developed by Microsoft, stored in a protector case designed by Synergiz, along with a laptop Surface Pro tablette and a dedicated software application..
  • The software application, designed by Synergiz, allows operators to contextualize, visualize and annotate data in 3D in real-time during simulations of objects, while also interacting simultaneously with several collaborators around the same 3D model.
  • Not only can users see the data but they can also interact physically with it — an immersive approach that helps operators understand more quickly and accurately why a particular equipment is reacting in a certain way.
  • The stand-alone system can run without being connected to any external network.
  • The tool is directly integrated into the operational phases of the industrial life project cycle.
  • The end result: an enhanced collaboration experience, an in-depth access to complex phenomenon, as well as a unique and shared vision of data.

    Watch the MIRORS experience in VIDEO 

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