Spatial computing

Spatial computing digitally represents people and objects, and places them in physical environments to optimize actions and interactions with computer systems. It is a digital technology that transforms how industrial enterprises and public entities work with information and provide knowledge to frontline staff in their factories and at their worksites.

Spatial computing is an umbrella term for several areas of interest: Virtual Reality (VR), Augmented Reality (AR) and Mixed Reality (MR) technologies:

  • Virtual Reality (VR): Virtual Reality transports users to an artificially created computing world through Virtual Reality Headsets & Glasses. VR systems block any visual contact with the physical world. This helps users gain an immersive experience of being transported to a virtual world.
  • Augmented Reality (AR): Unlike VR, Augmented Reality doesn’t block visual contact with the physical world, but let’s users super impose artificially created digital objects and information through their smartphone cameras or Augmented Reality Glasses.
  • Mixed Reality (MR): Mixed Reality is a hybrid of both models and is a mixture of physical and digital world. It can simultaneously work on both the virtual and physical world, helping users unlock natural human, computer and virtual environment interactions.

The uses of spatial computing

Spatial computing technologies are already widely used to improve real world operations in a wide range of fields, and applications for these technologies in creating new solutions to long standing problems are limited only by our imagination.

Current applications of spatial computing

As an increasingly accessible technology set, the possibilities are limitless for industrial and public sector use of spatial computing to drive value across products, people, places, and processes.

Application areas include:

  • Manufacturing
  • Maintenance
  • Architecture/Design
  • Engineering
  • Medical/Health
  • Education/Training
  • Physical Security/Defence
  • Real Estate
  • Entertainment
  • Consumer/Marketing
  • Emergency Response

Case study: Airbus analysis

In 2020, SPECTRAL partner Kognitiv Spark conducted an on-site analysis of use cases with Airbus at one of their principal sites. Over 10 days the Continual Improvement Group at the site identified over 240 that would benefit from research and validation into the development of Spatial Computing capabilities.

  • Digital instructions for assembly configuration
  • Manufacturing equipment triage and fault diagnosis
  • Whole of life systems management across supply chain
  • At the point of need access to ERP data and processes
  • Remote expert for assistance and guidance
  • Remote support for clean room staff
  • Training validation for functional staff
  • Spatial awareness training and familiarization
  • In-flight systems and structures monitoring
  • Training instructions for assembling/disassembling components
  • Live monitoring of equipment of preventative and predictive maintenance
  • Overlay design components onto existing modules
  • Digital review of equipment and material design
  • Visualization of task records for equipment
  • Visualize specific components and functions behind physical or process barriers
  • Visualize digital twins for equipment placement and movement
  • Create collaborative decision making across locations and knowledge centres
  • Capture images/videos of equipment for transmission to another location
  • Simulate human motion for process to engineer alternative actions
  • Early concept design
  • Visualize a digital replica or twin of the equipment to simulate a real-world environment