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IMTS Sparks Idea for Adaptive Technology in a CNC Machine Shop

An encounter with a virtual reality demonstration at the 2018 International Manufacturing Technology Show led to the discovery of adaptive technology that gives a shop’s legally blind QC inspector 20/20 vision.

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I have two suggestions for shops sending personnel to trade shows such as the biennial International Manufacturing Technology Show (IMTS). One is to have a clear idea as to what equipment and exhibitors you’d like to see. To help with that, IMTS offers the MyShow Planner app enabling you to browse exhibitors’ online product showrooms and create a map of the booths you’d like to visit. In addition, the August issue of Modern Machine Shop magazine during IMTS years includes a healthy sample of new equipment that will be displayed at the show.

My other suggestion is to leave time to browse. This gives you the opportunity to discover a technology you didn’t know about that could help your shop in ways you never imagined.

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This story is a great example of how a chance encounter with a virtual reality (VR) demonstration at IMTS 2018 led to the discovery of adaptive technology that gives Tia Bertz, a legally blind QC inspector at Hastreiter Industries, 20/20 vision.

Tia and Kylan Hastreiter, company VP, explains this encounter in the following story excerpt:

“While walking the show with Tia, we encountered a virtual reality, digital-twin demonstration and learned that she had never experienced VR,” Mr. Hastreiter says. “The demonstration included a virtual factory with assembly projects that those using the VR goggles could attempt in that environment.”

“I thought either I’d do really well in a virtual environment because of my experience with 3D CAD modeling, or I’d epically fail,” Ms. Bertz says. “I fumbled around during the assembly demo at first, but eventually got the hang of it. The person hosting the demo said I did better than many people with excellent vision. That’s when I realized I could function better in a virtual environment than the real world.”

The thought occurred to Kylan that if Tia can see in a virtual environment presented very close to her eyes by way of goggles, why not have a camera present a feed of the real world to her in a similar way? Research showed that such technology already existed in the form of the E2 wearable electronic magnifier for low vision from NuEyes. The E2 is a pair of VR goggles integrated with a high-definition, auto-focus camera and software to enable zooming in and out, changing contrast and performing optical character recognition.

Read the full story here.