Augmented reality (AR) continues to be a useful technology for many industries while providing training to keep workers safe. As an interactive experience, AR’s merits combine the real world with a virtual one.
That’s precisely the case for electrical workers in Portugal; Redes Energéticas Nacionais (REN) is Portugal’s electricity and gas transmission system operator. The company implemented a program where AR works at its electrical substations to enhance worker safety.
At one of their substations, REN implemented an AR application that allows workers to embrace the substation terrain with tablets, mobile phones or PCs. Upon entering the substation, they may activate the AR application.
Substations could expose workers to high-voltage conditions—especially if they enter unfamiliar areas. Despite lucid explanations and maps of dangerous areas, there’s still room for human error that could lead a worker near a high-voltage area.
The Digital Substation Protection application tracks the worker’s whereabouts with pinpoint accuracy. If they enter an area or environment that is, unbeknownst to the worker, unsafe or hazardous, the application sends them a vibratory alert.
REN is also engaged in other applications, but the use of AR is telling of the potential that such technology has for the electrical worker in many different applications. Furthermore, the same technology may be programmed and built along with virtual reality (VR) to help workers be safe and help train them with specific equipment and workspaces that the worker may be unfamiliar with.
New digital technology is part of an overarching redefinition of the world of work for electrical workers. Since they may be exposed to dangerous conditions, AR and VR are slowly, but surely, becoming a boon to their well-being and to the efficacy and safety of their work.
About The Author
ROMEO is a freelance writer based in Chesapeake, Va. He focuses on business and technology topics. Find him at www.JimRomeo.net.