Taking the Consumer Route: The Silly Start to Serious Innovation

Sept. 8, 2016
As the first large-scale, practical application of augmented reality, maybe Pokémon GO isn’t that silly after all. Maybe it’s just a silly harbinger of the next big manufacturing revolution. Or maybe not.

In July, the whole world temporarily went completely nuts over a very silly, high-tech regurgitation of a very silly, low-tech 90s cartoon.

Just one month after its release, Pokémon GO was installed on 100 million smartphones and sent 100 million consumers pouring into the streets to collect, train, and battle imaginary monsters. The world quickly came to its senses, of course, but it in its short reign, the game made a lot of headlines and a lot of money. But it was all still very silly.

However, behind the game, something very serious and very interesting was at work.

Pokémon GO is the first large-scale, practical application of augmented reality, overlaying digital information onto a real-time view of the physical world to literally add new dimensions to standard reality. This is a big deal.

Industrial technology makers have been tinkering with this technology for years. Developing a system that can provide real-time information on machine statuses, operational parameters, KPIs, or process information to operators on the floor without the need for computer terminals could be a total game-changer for the industry. That is exactly what industrial wearable-makers like Epson are banking on.

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New Equipment Digest is an IndustryWeek companion site within Penton's Manufacturing & Supply Chain Group.

About the Author

Travis M. Hessman | Editor-in-Chief

Travis Hessman is the editor-in-chief and senior content director for IndustryWeek and New Equipment Digest. He began his career as an intern at IndustryWeek in 2001 and later served as IW's technology and innovation editor. Today, he combines his experience as an educator, a writer, and a journalist to help address some of the most significant challenges in the manufacturing industry, with a particular focus on leadership, training, and the technologies of smart manufacturing.

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