With peak interest and visibility at its launch in 2013, Google Glass Explorer Edition was poised to revolu- tionize wearables the way Google redefned search
engines—and pretty much the whole Internet. After a buggy,
bumpy de facto Beta test that publicly highlighted Glass’s faws,
Explorer’s run unceremoniously ended in 2015.
The Google X project had cracks, to be sure, such as its puny
battery, but the core wasn’t broken. All the critical features—from
the monocular display to run work instructions to the camera
to stream video or take pictures—were there at the inception.
As the unfattering frst impression faded away, the biggest
names in manufacturing, including GE and Boeing, were quietly
running pilot programs with a revamped version, paring the
hardware with Skylight, the enterprise wearable solution made
by Upskill, one of a dozen Glass partners from whom you can
order the new edition.
Boeing found that reading work instructions on Glass as
opposed to fumbling with manuals cut the time to assemble
intricate wire harnesses by 25%, with nearly zero errors.
GE, meanwhile, has deployed Glass in several segments,
including GE Aviation, which has the most to gain from even
the slightest of incremental improvements. If the mechanics at
the Cincinnati facility are off on torque values when tightening
B-nuts to seal critical jet engine fuid lines and hoses, the results
could be disastrous.
“With fuel and oil fttings, if you don’t get that just right, there
are opportunities for leaks,” says Ted Robertson, engineering
manager at GE Aviation. “And you can imagine where a fuel
leak could end up going.”
He says over or under-torquing could lead to costly teardowns
and missed time on the testing platform, or even more expensive
repercussions if the engine makes it closer to the runway. To
ensure the most precise and accurate measurement, Glass was
linked with Skylight and a Bluetooth-enabled torque wrench.
The pilot program for the new Glass had ffteen senior me-
chanics create a baseline by using paper instructions to per-
form maintenance on a CF34-8C engine, which they had no
experience with prior. Then after lunch, those mechanics each
received individual instruction on how to use Glass and
Skylight for 30-45 minutes and completed the same task.
The result was an average of 8 to 11% effciency improvement, with one mechanic cutting time by 25% on
one task. And GE had evidence each b-nut was within the
132-150 in./lb. range, as the work instructions would not
proceed until that requirement was met.
“We think it would only get better from where we started
from,” Robertson says.
The Glass camera, which came under fre for infringing on
privacy, here was used to take historical pictures for quality
assurance. The video could also be streamed to a remote expert for troubleshooting out of the work instruction’s purview.
“Easily, millions of dollars can be saved improving our
processes with this,” Robertson says.
In a survey following the test, 85% agreed to the statements: “I believe that using this system will reduce manufacturing errors,” and “I thought the system was easy to use.”
Google wisely didn’t mess with what did work, though.
“There are a couple things that are very familiar: the
touch-swipe user paradigm, the voice control is very accurate, and the optics are comfortably placed,” Ballard says.
GE is currently studying the results of the case study, along
with several other similar pilot programs across its vast
empire to understand this new human-machine interface.
We all know wearables are coming, but GE is being more
patient than the early Glass explorers.
“Changing to a new way takes time, some convincing,
and money,” Robertson says. “That’s what we’re trying to
put together right now.”
And Ballard continues to sing the praises of wearables
in general, and Google Glass in particular.
“The real story here is that companies have a serious
opportunity to employ this wearable technology in a way
they’ve known about for years, and they’re fnally now able
to confdently adopt it, reliably and repetitively show the
benefts of the workforce,” he says. “That’s the natural
evolution of any technology.”
(For more go to:
ALPHABET Google Glass Enterprise Edition
Google Glass 2.0 Shatters
Emerging from stealth mode with a vengeance, the sharply focused Google Glass Enterprise
Edition blasts off the stained reputation of the earlier consumer version.
by John Hitch
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