From next month, engineers working out on the tracks of the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority have got a new tool to help them in their job… smart glasses. Keolis Commuter Services, which has operated the MBTA since 2014 will be deploying the glasses, similar to Google Glass, which use “augmented reality lite” and aim to increase the pace of maintenance and reduce costs. These glasses will link staff working in the field, with technicians at the maintenance headquarters. Images will be transmitted from the glasses back to base and the idea is that the office-based colleagues can offer advice without having to travel to the site of the problem, saving time and money for the company and stopping possible delays for passengers.
The glasses have been developed by AMA XPertEye ( @ ), a Massachusetts based start-up, spun off from a French parent company, AMA, that already deploys its eyewear across a number of different areas including industry, medicine and emergency services. The glasses will be used in three locations, near the main MBTA Commuter rail maintenance centre, a smaller one in a Boston neighbourhood plus one at the end of the line.
This deployment, first covered by MIT Technology Review, quotes Yann Veslin, Operating Planning and Performance Improvement Manager of Keolis who says that if problems prove to be too complex they usually have to send maintenance workers out from a main facility to troubleshoot, and by using the glass “we hope to save time.”
Anne Fleur Andrle ( @ ) CEO of AMA XPertEye, also quoted in the MIT Technology Review doesn’t describe their glasses as offering augmented reality but instead “augmented vision” or “augmented reality lite.” The futuristic technology helps cut costs, she added, but it also helps the environment by cutting down on unnecessary travel.
Veslin said the company will test the technology out for a month, and then decide whether to deploy the glasses more widely. “We’ll be asking everyone [who tries XpertEye], ‘Was it easy to use?’ and ‘Did we save time?’” he says. “If they say yes, it’s a good investment.”
For more on this development visit: Commuter Rail Workers in Boston Are About to Get Bionic Eyes
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David Block-Schachter, Chief Technology Officer, MBTA is a confirmed speaker at SmartTransit USA 2016 where you can learn about all the latest projects, investments & challenges of keeping rail at the heart of smart cities.