Augmented Reality for Enterprise Alliance

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Digital Manufacturing and Design Innovation Institute


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The Digital Manufacturing and Design Innovation Institute (DMDII), a UI LABS collaboration, was launched in February 2014 in collaboration with the U.S. Department of Defense.  DMDII is a unique public-private partnership, a world-class, first-of-its-kind manufacturing hub, and a proud member of the Manufacturing USA network of innovation institutes. DMDII’s mission is to digitize American manufacturing by helping U.S. manufacturers harness data to make their products better, faster, and more cost-competitively.

DMDII has over 300 partners, including industry leaders, top-tier universities, high-growth startups, small and medium-sized manufacturers, and government agencies. We work with our partners to define problems, design partnerships, and develop solutions. DMDII currently has a portfolio of over 60 projects within the following focus areas:

  • Design, Product Development, and Systems Engineering
  • Future Factory
  • Agile, Resilient Supply Chain
  • Cybersecurity in Manufacturing

Background and Achievements

DMDII currently has several projects in its portfolio focused on Augmented Reality, including a tool for creating work instructions for AR systems through expert demonstration, and an effort spearheaded by Lockheed Martin, Procter & Gamble, and Caterpillar to define hardware and software functional requirements for AR applications for industrial use cases. This work culminated in a workshop hosted by the three lead companies in conjunction with DMDII and the AREA. At the workshop, representatives from industry, AR providers, universities, and government agencies discussed their respective needs and challenges. The goal of this collaborative effort was to ensure AR technology is developed in a way that meets real needs that will allow the technology to be widely adopted on shop floors, helping to improve efficiency and competitiveness for manufacturers of all types and sizes. After the workshop, the functional requirements were transitioned to the AREA for further development.

Additionally, DMDII plans to showcase AR technology on our Future Factory platform, currently in development, which will serve as a neutral space for experimentation, testing, and development of next-generation digital manufacturing solutions.

Challenges to be Addressed by AR

We are focused on developing opportunities for our partners to collaborate on projects that promote the advancement of AR technology and accelerate adoption of this technology within the manufacturing sector. We aspire to help our partners understand the applicability of AR technology for a variety of use cases, to navigate AR hardware and software offerings, and to support interoperability efforts.

Why AR is a Strategic Area

The mission of DMDII is to digitize American manufacturers to help them become more efficient and cost-competitive, and AR plays an important role in achieving this. AR has the potential to drive significant efficiency gains and process improvements, which will ultimately impact the bottom line of U.S. manufacturers. There are many applications for AR to drive improvements in manufacturing, including in the areas of safety, factory floor and field service operations, machine assembly, product design, and more.

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