Battlefield 2.0: How Augmented Reality is Changing Military Strategy

 

Image result for hololens army

By Andrew Gunder, DCMME Graduate Assistant

The US Army recently awarded a $479 million dollar contract to Microsoft to develop the next generation of cutting edge Army technology. Dubbed the IVAS (Integrated Visual Augmentation System) and developed off of the Microsoft Hololens 2 platform this system will reduce the need for multiple systems to be carried in the field by consolidating them into one integrated HUD (Heads-Up Display) for soldiers.

The Army is often hampered with an abundance of equipment and systems, some of which aren’t exactly light in weight. The IVAS effectively eliminates that burden on the soldier with a single solution. The individual soldier can see their squad’s position on a map, a compass, and even their weapon system’s reticle. The addition of thermal imaging in the system would aid visibility in the dark without the telltale glow of existing night vision goggles (NVGs) and headsets. Additionally, with the enhanced awareness of the IVAS user, the Army hopes that the system will minimize collateral damage and civilian casualties on the battlefield.

From a training perspective, the IVAS can be used to provide real-time data to improve soldier performance, such as show the wearer’s field of vision and heart rate. This would allow instructors to effectively coach soldiers in instances such as improving aim or room-clearing techniques.

As an Infantryman, this technology not only has the capability to improve soldier performance, but the sheer magnitude of increasing battlefield awareness in soldiers is where this system is truly groundbreaking. Battlefield environments are constantly evolving and having the edge to adjust to rapidly changing conditions on a mission can be the difference between life and death of the end user.

 

What are some challenges that exist for the Army to fully adopt the IVAS?

What additional capabilities do you think could be added to the IVAS?

Do you believe Microsoft made the right decision in accepting the contract from the Army? Why or why not?

Source: https://www.theverge.com/2019/4/6/18298335/microsoft-hololens-us-military-version

How 3D Printing Impacts Logistics and Supply Chains- by Abhilasha Satpathy, DCMME Center Graduate Student Assistant

In recent years, 3D printing has brought manufacturing capabilities to several remote, hard-to-access areas across the globe. DHL, for instance, tells us that the U.S. Navy 3D prints drones on-demand on board its oceangoing vessels. NASA, meanwhile, is working to develop a 3D printer for the International Space Station. Shell is also experimenting with this remote manufacturing method on offshore oil platforms.

Pay-for-use or nonprofit fabrication shops are becoming more popular as well, offering public access to 3D printing tools, and some websites have begun aggregating 3D printing designs, allowing customers to compare and select printing services that work for their specific needs.These initiatives are disrupting the traditional manufacturing supply chain in several ways. In researching warehouse stocking practices in Amsterdam, DiManEx found that approximately 80% of stored products were sold only twice yearly, which led to write-offs, scrapping, and wasted materials. With on-demand, on-site printing, companies can move away from having to store excess spare parts and can instead deliver parts quickly and efficiently, whenever they’re required. Mercedes-Benz Trucks, for instance, allows customers to 3D print more than 30 cargo truck spare parts.

As 3D printing becomes more and more prevalent, expect to see increased supplier consolidation as well. For instance, logistics providers may offer added value by being the ones to process, print, and deliver 3D parts quickly and cheaply. In this way, the typical months-long process of designing, sourcing, and producing component parts can be cut down drastically. In the future, 3D printing warehouses may also take on the responsibility of material sourcing in addition to 3D end-to-end design, production, and delivery. As an example, consider Amazon’s bet on this technology: The company has patented a truck fitted with 3D printers that would allow for sophisticated mobile manufacturing capabilities. Increased responsiveness is also likely, as 3D printers allow for smaller batch sizes, which can positively impact quality control and open the door for expedited product development.

Finally, this kind of technological innovation is likely to bring about advanced customization options, as users will be able to select various aspects of the design, material, shape, size, packaging, and so on. And in gaining the power to make and deliver their own 3D-printed products, customers will no longer be limited to what suppliers themselves design and produce.

 

References:

3D Printing Finds Its Place in the Supply Chain. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://news.thomasnet.com/featured/3d-printing-finds-its-place-in-the-supply-chain/

 

Questions:

  1. How is 3D printing bringing about advanced customization options into supply chains ?
  2. How is 3D printing reducing wastage in supply chains ?
  3. How is 3D printing improving the efficiencies of supply chains ?

 

 

 

Robot Firefighter at Notre Dame

by Maria Hartas, DCMME Graduate Assistant

The entire world watched the devastating fire at Notre Dame de Paris. Amidst the reporters and firefighters was Colossus, a firefighting robot. As the Paris Fire Brigade withdrew its human firefighters in fear of the building collapsing, a caterpillar-tracked tank-bot was the solution the team needed.

Colossus was connected to a hose and pumped water into the air and onto the flames with its water cannon.

Why robo-firefighters?

Colossus was able to help fight the flames in a way firefighters couldn’t. For one, robots can handle the heat as a human can’t. Furthermore, a robo-firefighter creates a safety buffer between the firefighter and the hazardous environment, allowing firefighters to strategically plan their next steps without the threat of direct contact with fire. Additionally, one robot is can replace up to thirteen people; on average, up to three people would be needed to operate Colossus’ water cannon and roughly ten people would need to carry the hose when full of water.

At two-and-a-half feet tall, weighing 1,000 pounds, Colossus is a multi-talented robot; it can rescue someone, offer high-definition, thermal-view, night-vision live feed, and tear bars for forcible entry. In addition to Colossus on the ground, air drones helped firefighters from above. A dangerous, life-threatening event, like the fire at Notre Dame de Paris, was able to be contained with no casualties, and we can consider technology in the form robotic reinforcements a crucial contributor to the firefighter team’s success.

How can robots fight fire?

Can robots and humans work together?

What are the strengths of robo-firefighters?

Sources:

https://www.popularmechanics.com/technology/robots/a27183452/robot-firefighter-notre-dame-colossus/

 

How robots are changing Supply Chains by Abhilasha Satpathy, DCMME Center Graduate Student Assistant

One business area ripe for business process disruption enabled by robotics is supply chain execution, especially in order fulfillment processes in the warehouse. These processes typically involve a high degree of human involvement as well as a tremendous amount of movement throughout a facility. Now, it’s not as if robotics have been absent from these areas in the past; there are use case examples, but none at a large scale across supply execution. Those organizations that have introduced robots into their warehousing and fulfillment operations have delivered added value including productivity improvements, efficiency gains, the capability to better scale up/down with demand spikes and the ability to improve customer service levels.

The most familiar example of robotics in the fulfillment process is at Amazon. Thee-commerce giant acquired Kiva Systems (now known as Amazon Robotics) in 2012 for $775 million. Since then, Amazon has continuously expanded their use to upwards of 80,000 robots across 25 distribution centers. Through their deployment, Amazon has been able to accelerate delivery times and reduce fulfillment related costs. According to a note published by Deutsche Bank, the deployment of the robots equates to a roughly $22 million per year savings in facilities where they are in use, or an estimated 20% reduction to operating costs. If Deutsche Bank’s estimates are close, Amazon has proven that there is tremendous value to be gained through the use of robotics within the fulfillment center.

For some, a Kiva-type model will work quite well. These utilize fast-moving robots that shuttle entire racks of inventory from a segregated section of the fulfillment center to a picking station, where a picker selects the inventory needed to fill an order. After a pick, a robot returns the rack to back to the floor and moves on to the next pick. A rack-to-person model is best suited to high throughput facilities where speed is the most important element. The benefits include the ability to rapidly move product to picking locations and accelerate fulfillment cycles. However, the rack-to-person model also has its drawbacks. For example, it requires some facility modification to create a segregated area where the robots can safely operate and it requires a guidance mechanism to ensure that the robots operate within the appropriate spaces. These systems are not necessarily collaborative because humans aren’t allowed to work in the same aisles where the robots are operating.  One final drawback is that with these models, half of the movement is spent returning racks after a pick, essentially retaining 50% of the wasted movement in the process.

References:

Santagate, J., & Santagate, J. (2018, January 25). NextGen Supply Chain: The Robots are Here. Retrieved from https://www.scmr.com/article/nextgen_supply_chain_the_robots_are_here

Questions:

  1. How are robots disrupting supply chains?
  2. How are robots increasing operating efficiencies?
  3. How are robots helping in warehousing and fulfillment operations?

 

 

The Use Cases for the Microsoft HoloLens

The Use Cases for the Microsoft HoloLens

As augmented reality continues to take off, manufacturers have an incredible opportunity to realize growth through increased efficiency, reduced costs, and more integrated processes. Below are six use cases for the Microsoft HoloLens, Microsoft’s flagship AR headset, in industry to realize these growth opportunities.

  1. Integrating Design and Manufacturing: This comes from the ease of collaborating in the design process using shareable, life-sized, interactive 3D models generated from the HoloLens. These models allow for real time adjustments to be made by both manufacturers and designers as issues arise. According to ThyssenKrupp, utilizing this technology they can put out products four times faster than without it.
  2. Training Manufacturing Workers: Using the HoloLens for training on the processes involved in manufacturing and the servicing of complex equipment allows for the trainees to interact with a 3D simulation (as opposed to a 2D video) giving them more hands on experience and better knowledge of the machines or components they are working on or with.
  3. Complex Assembly: In complex assembly processes manuals often have to be utilized which in turn leads to inefficiencies in the process. With the HoloLens, step by step instructions can be overlaid onto the complex assembly so that employees never have to reach for an instruction manual or look to a display monitor again. All the information can be displayed right there in their line of sight.
  4. Servicing and Maintenance: There are several ways in which the HoloLens can improve servicing and maintenance operations at a plant. They can triage requests ahead of a visit to ensure they know what the problem is and what to do and, similar to with complex assembly, they can you 3D models in real time reference while they are searching for or fixing the problem. Also, because the HoloLens has a live-feed Skype like capability, you can remote in subject matter experts from different plants or facilities to help address an issue you are having.
  5. Complex Sales: When it comes to selling very large or complex solutions it is often helpful for your customer to be able to visualize the product. Enter the HoloLens, which allows you to bring a virtual 3D copy of your solution to the customer allowing them to better understand the product and se its potential. This in turn can help you close that big sale.
  6. Executive Oversight and Data Visualization: The uses of the HoloLens are not limited to line workers and maintenance staff. Executives can use the HoloLens for data visualization. It is essentially a portable live “war room” for your business that allows you to look at operations with live and YTD data. You can overlay statistics and KPI’s onto a 3D model of a facility to get the bigger picture of how operations are or have those statistics displayed on walls around your conference room constantly updating. The HoloLens makes showing data easier, more comprehensible, and more eco-friendly as you will not have to print off lots of reports anymore.

Utilizing the HoloLens in these ways will allow manufacturer to realize some great opportunities for improvement.

 

Questions:

  1. What other use cases for the HoloLens can you think of to improve your operations?
  2. What other AR headsets are out there that can accomplish the same thing as the HoloLens? Is there one that can do more?
  3. How will continued integration of AR into our manufacturing operations change the way manufacturing is done? Will it have an impact outside of manufacturing as well?

 

Source: https://blog.smith.co/2018/augmented-manufacturing

Augmented Reality in Healthcare

By Gokul Siddharthan J, DCMME Graduate Student Assistant

AR Medicine

Augmented reality has the potential to play a big role in improving the healthcare industry. It has only been a few years since the first implementation of augmented reality in medicine, and it has already filled an important place in the medical routine.

These technologies blend computer-generated images and data with real-world views, making it possible for doctors to visualize bones, muscles, and organs without having to cut open a body. Experts say AR will transform medical care by improving precision during operations, reducing medical errors, and giving doctors and patients a better understanding of complex medical problems.

There are numerous uses of AR in the medical field. Few uses are in describing symptoms, nursing care, surgery, diabetes management, navigation and pharmacy. In a situation where it’s hard to describe the symptom to the doctor, AR can help. There are apps for AR out there that show the simulation of the vision and how it’s harmed by different diseases, helping patients better understand their condition and describing correctly. About 40% of the first intravenous injections fail, and this ratio is even higher in the case of children and elderly patients. An app uses augmented reality projects on the skin to show the patients’ veins. Spinal surgery is a long and difficult process. But with the use of AR, it can reduce the time, cut the risks and improve the results. A startup has created an AR headset for spine surgeons that overlays a 3D model of the CT-scan on the spine, so the surgeon gets some kind of “X-Ray” vision.

There are several benefits for patients and doctors, it reduces the risks associated with minimally invasive surgery. Screens displaying vital statistics and images being delivered by an endoscopic camera could be replaced by AR devices. Patients can use AR for educational purposes to better understand themselves and prepare. There are apps that could help a non-medical person understand the body better. Medical training without risks is a great possibility of using augmented reality. The training is more interactive and combines theory and real-world applications on the screen in front of the eyes.

AR has already shown its value in medicine. It’s only a matter of time to come up with better applications and devices that can be used on a daily basis effectively. As healthcare costs continue to grow, AR will play a vital role in preventing, controlling and curing millions of people.

Sources:

https://thinkmobiles.com/blog/augmented-reality-medicine/

Supply Chain 4.0 – the next-generation digital supply chain

Over the last thirty years, logistics has undergone a tremendous change: from a purely operational function that reported to sales or manufacturing and focused on ensuring the supply of production lines and the delivery to customers, to an independent supply chain management function that in some companies is already being led by a CSO – the Chief Supply Chain Officer. The focus of the supply chain management function has shifted to advanced planning processes, such as analytical demand planning or integrated S&OP, which have become established business processes in many companies, while operational logistics has often been outsourced to third-party LSPs. The supply chain function ensures integrated operations from customers to suppliers.

Experts would usually claim that supply chain management is about delivering the right quality at the lowest cost, with the agreed service level, right? Well, not anymore. As the two examples above show, it is also about increasing sales and profits; the supply chain is no longer just about efficiency, working capital reduction and inventory management.

Adidas

Adidas is the leading sports’ shoe brand in Russia with more than 1,200 stores. As part of its strategy to please customers, Adidas is implementing an omni channel strategy, allowing people to buy in a number of ways.

Initially, Adidas implemented a trial of click and collect in Moscow expecting that just a few consumers would choose this option – to buy on-line and collect the product at a store. They expected around 10 to 20 orders per week, but consumers embraced the idea and orders reached 1,000 per week. Adidas was forced to stop the experiment and build the supply chain infrastructure needed to support such demand. Today, up to 70% of online sales are through click and collect.

For Adidas Russia, the supply chain is no longer about reducing costs: It is – more importantly – about increasing sales. All of this is possible thanks to the technology being used in the supply chain. Most of these technologies belong to Industry 4.0, a high-tech strategy promoting the computerisation of manufacturing.

 

Digitization brings about a Supply Chain 4.0, which will be

  • Faster. New approaches of product distribution reduce the delivery time of high runners to few hours. The basis for these services is built by advanced forecasting approaches, e.g., predictive analytics of internal (e.g., demand) and external (e.g., market trends, weather, school vacation, construction indices) data as well as machine status data for spare-parts demand, and provides a much more precise forecast of customer demand.
  • more flexible. Ad hoc and real-time planning allows a flexible reaction to changing demand or supply situations. Planning cycles and frozen periods are minimized and planning becomes a continuous process that is able to react dynamically to changing requirements or constraints
  • more granular. The demand of customers for more and more individualized products is continuously increasing. That gives a strong push towards microsegmentation, and mass customization ideas will finally be implemented.

 

Questions:

What are the challenges in the implementation of Digital Supply Chain?

What will be the future of supply chains due to the technology trends?

 

Source:

https://www.mckinsey.com/business-functions/operations/our-insights/supply-chain-40–the-next-generation-digital-supply-chain

https://www.imd.org/research-knowledge/articles/supply-chain-4.0/