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Yes, you read that right. I assert we will need to miniaturize our products’ burden on buildings while having bigger experiences and faster delivery times which requires stronger materials. 

Remember Ironman’s super-cool digital screens inside his ocean-side lair? Well today, thyssenkrupp announced that our service technicians will use HoloLens technology in its elevator service operations worldwide.

There is no getting around it. If your building is two stories or hundreds of feet, you are going to need an elevator. You have to meet the American Disabilities Act codes but what you don’t need is a complicated elevator system to travel just a few feet.

The term “smart city” can be open to interpretation. Here are a few prerequisites established a few years ago.  A smart city uses technologies to be more intelligent and efficient when using resources.

thyssenkrupp is currently putting the finishing touches on the installation of 30 elevators and 2 escalators that will serve 52 floors at River Point, a new office tower located on a prime piece of property overlooking the Chicago River.


What do football, front doors and elevator have in common? Augmented reality. If you have watched a football game in the past two decades, you probably have noticed two lines that seem to be painted on the field, but they move as the game progresses, constantly informing the viewer of the offense’s progress.

Photo Credit: http://illiniboard.com/2015/10/04/what-happened-on-that-play/

But how? The science is really pretty complicated and is commonly referred to as augmented reality.  The cameras work with the known geometry of the field to coordinate the placement of the lines dynamically, which means even as the frame of reference of the camera changes the lines relative position is constant.  This requires the geometry of the field to be known before the game even starts and that is obtained by taking a 3D ‘picture’ or scan.  A sophisticated computer algorithm then aligns the field geometry with what the tv cameras are recording and overlays the lines for you and I to enjoy.You may say, “Big whoop, science plus football equal an interesting application, but what about the hours I’m not parked in front of the big game?” 

This technology can help our customers learn about elevators so they can make informed choices about which type to use. For example, thyssenkrupp used the technology in marketing literature for the endura MRL. Users simply download an app on their device, point the device’s camera at the marketing literature which initializes the augmentation and a 3D rendering of our elevator will appear to protrude from the page. At our Research Innovation Center, we have also been thinking that another application of this technology may one day help customers through the elevator modernization process. They could use augmented reality to preview how new components will fit in the elevator hoistway and machine rooms. And it will simplify the design process when customers update their interior elevator cabs.This process is much like updating a home. There are many finish choices and configurations and augmented reality gives you a chance to experience a final design before the process starts. 

By the way, I downloaded the app that allowed a virtual overlay onto real world objects...like a new front door for my house. It was simple. I pointed my camera at my current front door, picked out a potential replacement and experienced a realistic view of what the new door would look like.

Augmented reality is just one new technology we are investigating to meet customer demands. At thyssenkrupp we use technology to efficiently handle daily commutes and gather business intelligence that will vastly improve our maintenance services. Who knows what the future holds – stay tuned to find out.    

Michael Bray is the senior field innovation manager, RIC Atlanta. Email him at michael.bray@thyssenkrupp.com



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