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AR technology in glasses from SLS 3D printer

Background

Workers in steel factory are constantly surrounded by various distractors. One of them is noise, that can constrict their work, especially in terms of not being able to hear potential threads. According to a group of scientists from Germany, augmented reality that integrates digital information with user’s environment could be the best answer for that problem.

Data glasses is an invention by professor Rigo Herold, in cooperation with his colleagues. While working on Zwickau University of Applied Sciences, they developed a data google that can improve quality and safety of workers in a lot of industries. Thanks to the high technology used in this product, workers are provided with real-time information on operational procedures as well as warnings of dangerous situations that might happen in their work environment.

What makes them different from other data glasses in the market is that each pair of glasses is adapted to the specific applications. Depends on the requirements, the data glasses can differ in terms of size measurement, temperature display or hazard warning. It can also be tailor-made for every worker needs.

Challenge

Each pair of the glasses should be adapted to specific applications, with a temperature display, custom size measurements or hazard warnings. He quickly realized that because of unique properties of each Data Glasses, they can’t be produced by mass production. Therefore he decided to 3D print his innovative device.

On the other hand, data glasses contains optical components with high requirements regarding the precision of all mounting elements. Thus the regular FDM printers, typically for low volume production could not achieve the required precision. Scientists were looking for a technique, that will combine low cost of production and satisfying time of printing with high quality and durability of printouts.

Solution

Sinterit Lisa turned out to be a solution for upgrading the quality of prints, lowering the price and time needed to produce Data Glasses. An SLS was the first technique that meets all the requirements. After first 3D printing with service provider and than purchase of FDM printer, the professor decided to buy desktop SLS Sinterit printer as a tool to create Data Glasses. With Sinterit Lisa printer he could manufacture a prototype of the data glasses with a 90% lower cost than using external manufacturers, saving both money and time. He was able to print elements just from the desktop in one day. The materials of choice used in this procedure were polymers, as well as a rubber (in one of the two available hardness levels). Thus the elements can be strong, tough or flexible if needed.

Printing with the SLS technology gave the possibility for better allocation of both, electrical parts and lens inside Data Glasses.

Results implemented

Usage of Sinterit Lisa helped Professor Rigo Herold to produce high-quality Data Glasses, that are customizable, both in functional and size aspects. Accuracy of objects printed with SLS technology enables to contain optical components with high requirements regarding the precision of all mounting elements.

  • Time and money reduction. When printing objects in SLS technology, a user doesn’t need any mold which costs dozens of euros. For serial production, moulding is just not efficient and too costly.
  • SLS technology made it possible to print final top quality parts. Materials used to print Data Glasses are temperature and chemical resistant. This allows employing the product to operate in rough, industrial space.
  • 3D printing made it possible to customize data glasses for individual needs of both workers, and working environment requirements.
  • Compared to other methods and printing elements using external manufacturers, using Sinterit Lisa is time and cost efficient. Opportunity to print Data Glasses cheaper and faster helped to expand manufacturing of Data Glasses.

What is worth mentioning, Data Glasses has more applications than only industrial usage. According to Professor Herold, it can be used to help hearing-impaired people in everyday life, for example providing subtitles during films screening in cinema.

Project author and initiator:
Professor Rigo Herold, Data Glasses Zwickau