Wearable Tech World Feature Article
June 23, 2015

Can Wearable Technology Improve Airplane Construction?

We've seen wearable technology do a lot of things. It's given us a wonderful heads-up replacement for the GPS, it's brought Minecraft to life via Microsoft's HoloLens, and it's given us a host of options for keeping fit with fitness trackers. But now, Accenture and Airbus have brought out a new industrial-grade breed of wearable tech that shows that wearables can even help make better airplanes.

More specifically, Accenture and Airbus have brought out a new proof of concept system that was on display at the Paris Air Show: a set of smart glasses with Internet capability that can perform a variety of different functions. The Accenture glasses can not only scan and read barcodes and relay that information back to the user via heads-up display, but can also retrieve data, provide contextual instructions and augmented reality task listings, as well as 3D viewing and even the ability to take commands via spoken word.

With the glasses showing the users exactly where to go, what to put where and what to do when, it not only speeds up processes—here, aircraft cabin assembly—but it also reduces errors. Reports suggest that the total time spent per aircraft has been divided by six, with a flat zero error rate and even revalued marking operations. Feedback from the user base went into future versions, and developed a final product that produced some of the results noted previously.

Results like that mean that it's hardly a wonder Accenture and Airbus are looking to get this system into wider use. Right now, the system is being put to use on the A330 cabin furnishing line, but reports suggest that other Final Assembly Lines should be quick to follow.

Essentially, Airbus and Accenture have discovered what many companies before these two have discovered: wearable tech can do some incredible things for providing information on a rapid scale, and without requiring the user's hands to be occupied. The sheer versatility of wearable tech is making it a great tool for the enterprise users, and being able to focus on just what the devices' displays are showing since it's often done inside a building is proving to be a great use of this new breed of technology. Its geographically limited nature is pulling a lot of the safety concerns of wearable tech out of the picture—no more concerns about someone driving while wearing smart glasses, even if said smart glasses are providing directions—and instead providing an easy and highly effective way to get information where it needs to be, producing some impressive results.

The enterprise use of wearable tech is on the rise, even if the consumer side isn't quite keeping pace. But as the technology improves further, we're likely to see many more use cases, and different segments of society putting it to work as well. The enterprise users may well lead the way on this one, but the consumer may not be far behind.

Want to learn more about the latest in wearable technology? Be sure to attend Wearable Tech Expo, July13-15 at the Javits Convention Center in New York City.  Stay in touch with everything happening at the event -- follow us on Twitter.

Edited by Dominick Sorrentino

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