Scope AR’s Worklink Goes Handsfree With Hololens Support

Last year, Scope AR launched Worklink, an augmented reality utility that aids in manufacturing and on-site repairs of industrial equipment. When the software launched, Scope AR targeted handheld devices with augmented reality capability (such as iOS and Android devices) and industrial smart glass devices. Now, the company is shifting its focus towards Microsoft’s Hololens mixed reality HMD.

Scope AR’s Worklink software helps cut down manufacturing and industrial repair costs. The software adds 3D overlays to real-world objects to help workers repair or assemble complex machinery. Manufacturers can create visual instructions based on their CAD materials.

Worklink works well on handheld mobile devices, and those devices are basically ubiquitous these days, but now that Microsoft’s Hololens is starting to pick up momentum, and Microsoft is jumping feet first into its Window Mixed Reality platform this year, Scope AR is ready to embrace the Hololens platform.

Note that Scope AR stopped short of supporting the full Window MR experience. We had a chance to speak briefly with Scott Montgomerie, Scope AR’s CEO, and he explained that his company’s clients aren’t interested in the tethered MR HMDs that Microsoft’s partners are preparing for launch. The industrial clients need the freedom to move to the job site. You can’t bring industrial equipment into the computer lab, after all. Scope AR may look at VR when untethered systems become popular, but for now, the Hololens’ augmented reality capability is what the company’s client are after.

“Through its built-in depth camera and sophisticated tracking technology, HoloLens is one of the best wearable devices for hands-free use of the MR applications so many organizations are seeking,” said Scott Montgomerie, CEO of Scope AR. “With WorkLink now supporting the device, enterprises finally have a simple and easy way to digitize visual instructions at scale -- empowering all workers to become their own expert -- and begin to realize the full potential of MR.”

Montgomerie told us that porting Worklink instructions to Hololens couldn’t be simpler. Scope AR worked with Microsoft for several months to ensure that the mobile version and the Hololens version would work seamlessly together. If you have a workforce with Hololens and smartphone devices, everyone can use the same instructions to achieve the same goals. The Hololens users will simply have their hands free to work while they see the overlay.

When you use Worklink on a smart device, the software relies on fiducial markers to track real objects and overlay the digital versions. With the Hololens version, fiducial markers still work, but Scope AR also leverages the tracking and depth mapping systems in Microsoft’s Hololens. The Hololens automatically maps out the environment you’re in, which allows you to work with larger objects without needing an array of markers.

Anyone Can Make Instructions

Scope AR put a lot of effort into ensuring that it’s easy to create training material for Worklink. Manufacturers must insert the CAD drawings of the device they wish to make training material for. Once the CAD drawing is loaded into the utility, you simply identify the components you wish to animate and add text annotations where needed. You don’t need to be proficient in 3D animation to build a repair guide for Worklink, according to Scope AR.

Enterprise-class instructional content is one of the most impactful use cases across MR today,” said Brandon Bray from Microsoft. "By providing a platform for anyone to customize their content easily for MR integration, Scope AR is making it easy for users to take advantage of the benefits of mixed reality using Microsoft HoloLens."

Scope AR’s Worklink for Hololens is available now, and if you own a license for the smart device version, you automatically have a license for the Hololens version.

Update, 5/12/2017, 8:46am PT: Corrected misspelling of executive's name.

 Kevin Carbotte is a contributing writer for Tom's Hardware who primarily covers VR and AR hardware. He has been writing for us for more than four years.