3D Infotech Releases Enhancements to Spotlight AR++ for Projecting Design Data Onto Real Objects

September 19, 2023 by Seth Price

3D Infotech expands the utility of its AR++ offering with new features and updates

What Augmented Reality Is … Truly

Much like the heads-up display in automotive and aerospace applications, Augmented Reality (AR) projects an image or graphical data onto a surface. However, instead of the imagery or data being projected onto the lenses of “smart” glasses, it's projected onto the object itself. 

For example, a technician is tasked to troubleshoot a motor. Rather than opening a troubleshooting guide on his laptop, he simply puts on a set of AR goggles that overlay color codes on important components. Then, a scripted procedure walks the technician through troubleshooting routines, highlighting each component along the way. 


AR and Design Development

In design, AR can be used to place computer-generated models and much more over existing machines, structures, components, and systems. For example, data analytics can generate stress models, project them onto a component, and display potential failure points given different loading conditions.

Imagine a large satellite, booster, or command module reentering Earth’s atmosphere. Whatever the physical object, it will experience tremendous dynamic loads, stress, and thermal loading. With the right data and analytics, stress loading and thermal loading can be projected as a color or heat map, revealing areas of maximum stress under load. 

Equipped with such dynamic data engineers are able to refine the reliability and capabilities of their designs and proofs of concepts without having to resort to extensive, time-consuming destructive testing and prototyping analysis. This saves on time, effort, and development expenses.


Illuminating Design: Spotlight AR++

Rather than AR goggles, 3D infotech’s Spotlight AR++ employs standard projection technology to overlay images onto physical objects. According to the company, the real advantage of this approach is to enhance collaboration and information sharing. 

With goggles, each engineer must have a pair. Second, even if all present have the same goggles, and all function correctly, pointing to components and having everyone see the same thing at the same time is challenging. With Spotlight AR++ projecting the data or display onto the actual object, every person in the room shares the same view. Because the system uses standard video projectors, accessing the technology is more affordable and faster to implement effectively. To support and enhance this collaboration, 3D Infotech recently announced the release of AR++ V2.4 with new features and updates.


Spotlight AR++ projects important points onto a section of an aircraft fuselage panel.

Spotlight AR++ projects important points onto a section of an aircraft fuselage panel. Image used courtesy of 3D Infotech


Spotlight AR++, V2.4 features an auto-align routine that decreases projection setup time. According to 3D Infotech, It aligns the cameras and projectors up to five times faster than the previous version, and with greater accuracy than ever before. For current and new users 3D Infotech AR++ V2.4 offers updates including improved:

  • Support of 4K resolution
  • Time flow in Presentation Mode
  • Support message size for different resolutions
  • Messages of disconnection and inappropriate setup in Display Wizard.
  • Icons resolution
  • Performance of thousands of Features in Presentation Mode

3D Infotech’s newest version now offers “floating licenses,” which adds flexibility to its licensing protocols. Floating licenses notes the company, allow users access to the applications anywhere, any time, and in three languages (English, Spanish, and Chinese). 


Projecting Better Engineering and Design Collaboration

AR is a developing field and its full potential is yet to be fully realized. Tools like Spotlight AR++ provide a new entry point for engineers looking to innovate with AR without too much pain or complexity. The ability to project ideas into 3D, real space before prototyping is a huge advantage over the old methods of prototyping and testing. It also represents a straightforward format for engineering and design collaboration. Projecting what is possible with this technology, 3D Infotech’s simplified approach offers a great way to access its potential to accelerate design and development.