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Call for Innodriver III Edition of Regione Lombardia: the “Hot Stuff” project

WE TECH S.R.L. for the realization of the “Hot Stuff” Project has selected the QuESTIO-accredited Research and Technology Transfer Center (CRTT) Vigevano Web srl, which takes its cue from the research and development program “Fixapp”, which – developed by the Lombard company Ifortech and admitted to funding (with Determination D.O. n. 118 of October 7, 2019) by the Lombardy Region and Unioncamere Lombardia relying on the “Bando SI4. 0 Development of innovative solutions” – had as its object the creation of an “Augmented Reality tool aimed at remote control and assistance for the resolution of technical problems, for the setup of technical equipment, for the maintenance of machinery, for the monitoring of personnel off-site, for the training of staff etc.

The project consisted in the experimentation phase of the “Fixapp” solution applied to the We tech use case, in the completion of the demonstration in the relevant environment and in the complete demonstration in the operational environment.

The output of the project is therefore an implementation of “Fixapp” ready to be used for the company We tech (in addition to an experience of complete and qualified adaptation of the solution as a pilot protocol for further implementations by Ifortech).

The project was divided into the following phases, in relation to each of which we specify objectives and results:

  1. general analysis, implementation and monitoring of the data flow managed by the platform in the use case of “Fixapp” applied to We tech: the objective of reaching a complete tool ready for large-scale experimentation has been achieved; the result is a ready operability of the new solution that can be applied first in test mode and then become fully operational;
  2. validation in a relevant environment (simulation of assistance interventions in a statistical set of cases of interest): the objective of verifying (and possibly amending) all the “Fixapp” procedures in application to typical cases of We tech assistance processes was achieved; the result is a solution ready for mass use;
  3. validation in an operating environment: the objective of introducing the new solution to a significant sample of technicians was achieved; the result is a technological upgrade ready for definitive application;
  4. documentation and manuals: the objective of providing technical support for the solution has been achieved, both for internal use within the company and as a pilot case for future horizontal applications of Ifortech; the result is a complete and exhaustive kit for the application.

In particular, “the augmented reality functions allow to establish a link between the technical assistance center, located at the headquarters of the company, and a technician located at a remote plant for carrying out an assistance intervention. The link takes place through the use of a video channel activated by the remote operator through a mobile device, framing the machinery or the instrument on which to operate; then, the technician on site is able to see the footage of the remote operator and to insert on the video elements of augmented reality with the possibility of guiding the remote operator step by step in the operations of maintenance, repair, technical assistance etc.. The device then becomes an “eye in the field” of the technical support operator on site, who can provide instructions in a detailed and, possibly, interactive way, for example by drawing or highlighting objects on the screen”.

The application, structured in User Interface (it uses the user’s smartphone/tablet camera to send real-time video footage of the scene of the on-site technician in order to be able to be followed in the resolution of a problem) and Operator Interface (it allows the management of user support requests with real-time viewing of the video transmitted by the latter) facilitates the interaction between technician and operator.

The innovative elements of the application to the case of We tech of “Fixapp” are therefore the following ones:

  1. elevation of the overall degree of technological maturity (from TRL 6 to TRL 8, an element of absolute innovativeness);
  2. implementation of “Fixapp” in a typical and relevant case, particularly significant for replications in other sectors and product categories (element of absolute innovativeness);
  3. full availability of a new system for the management of remote assistance to customers, capable of significantly improving the overall organization of the company (an element of innovation of a relative nature).

The “Hot Stuff” project has been admitted to a contribution from Regione Lombardia under the Call for proposals INNODRIVER -S3 – Edition 2019 – Measure A