Experimentation with smart glasses: wearable technology that allows you to inspect a wind turbine in the heart of Greece while sitting in an office in Spain or Italy
What would you do with a pair of glasses that could allow you to see anywhere on Earth without leaving your office?
You could look someone in India in the face while sitting at your desk in Spain, admire the Great Wall of China while in the shadow of the Colosseum in Rome, or visit the Louvre Museum while waiting for your train in New York’s Grand Central Station.
Science fiction? No, it’s the future. But it’s already very present and within reach. You only need an ally, a travel companion (or, a viewing companion) that, in one place, can wear a pair of smart glasses and share what he has in front of him with you.
With “Superman” Glasses
In the era of high-tech wearable devices, “Superman” glasses exist, and Enel Green Power has already started to experiment with them.
The eyes of a person wearing smart glasses become the eyes of whoever is connected to the network with a high-tech device.
They work like a camera that films live, from a subjective viewpoint, and transmits the images to the monitor of anyone connected, anywhere in the world. In a fraction of a second, thousands of kilometres of distance are eliminated.
“Smart glasses allow for a collective vision 2.0 that we have started to use for maintenance on wind systems.”
At first glance, the Enel Green Power Hellas technician who, on 25 May 2016, climbed to the top of aerogenerator number 15 at the Monastiri II wind farm in Greece may have seemed to be doing a routine inspection alone. Actually, he was doing something very unusual and was accompanied by ten other people that no one could see.
In front of his eyes were the inner workings, systems and devices inside the nacelle – the heart of the aerogenerator, located at the top of the tower. With the smart glasses on, his view arrived immediately in our offices in Madrid and Rome, virtually transporting technicians and specialists sitting in EGP offices in Spain and Italy to his side.
“Thanks to the integrated camera in the smart glasses, EGP’s Greek technician worked on top of the generator, talking live with 4 Spanish and 5 Italian colleagues.”
More Efficiency and More Safety
There’s a common phrase used when speaking of attention: “Four eyes see more than two”. For the 25 May inspection, our colleague’s two hands in the field were guided by 18 eyes, fixed on a live, direct feed from the Monastiri II blade.
“Smart glasses can revolutionise activities of Operation and Maintenance by improving multiple aspects: from the effectiveness of actions to the safety of our workers, from the use of resources to cost reduction.”
The technology of augmented reality made available by smart glasses and the possibility of remotely following works occurring on other continents make smart glasses a synthesis of optimisation.
Working “live” with colleagues on the other side of the world without leaving one’s office means avoiding travel, speeding up training of personnel, making data and information available in real time, improving working times and the speed of maintenance.
Managing operational plants in the best way is fundamental to ensuring the competiveness of renewables. “Superman glasses” may become a key instrument to win this challenge and allow us to look to the future of our work in a completely new way: even more effective and faster, more shared and smarter.