AR in Wood working – Introducing W.A.G.S

I have many ideas of how we could adapt and improvise the current technology to apply to different industries and areas other than gaming. One of my ideas has been brought about due to my Dad, well actually many of my ideas are brought about due to my Dad, but there is not enough room here to discuss each one sufficiently.
Anyways, in my eyes my Dad is a master craftsman when it comes to word working and wood-turning, and even if I am slightly biased, I know one thing for sure, Dad’s work is truly out of the ordinary.

Coffee table made whilst in P.N.G

One of my greatest disappointments is that I don’t have the same skill with my hands as my Dad and brother do. To be able to create something, fashion it, craft it out of your hands must be an awesome gift and skill to have. Sure I have the skills to make things out of my hands, my career in landscaping and then operating my own handyman business proved that but I still could never be as accurate, as delicate and as precise as my brother and Dad are.

Crafting something from raw material, how wonderful that would be.

Not that I am downgrading my skills or talents, whatsoever they may be. Each to their own but it still would be wonderful to have those skills as well.



A very very small sample of the word turning produced over 40 years.

My Dad longs to pass on the wisdom, the experience and knowledge but unfortunately my brothers and sister have forged our own paths and rarely have the time.

Now this got me thinking about, one, how could I learn to do wood-turning? Two, how could AR or VR apply?

My first step was to do some googling to see what, if anything was already out there, and this is what I discovered:
According to the Woodworking Network and their article Augmented Reality in Woodworking 6th October 2015. Manufacturing applications for “augmented reality” is getting closer to the factory floor. The technology is no longer in the development and prototype stage but ready to be applied to the manufacturing industry itself.

Vortek System

At the Woodworking Machinery & Supply Expo in Toronto, 2015 two new systems were presented showing how the technology can be applied.

The two systems were the Mimbus Wood-Ed training system, and the Vortek Experience 3D Design Presentation System. The Mimbus is a training system that provides a safe but realistic approximation of woodworking machinery for training new users. The Vortek system allows the user to view rooms and with a variety of gestures can change colours and finishes, cabinet configuration and a host of other design features.

Wood Ed System Video

Wired online publication in their Ingenious Power Tools Uses Machine Vision to make Perfect Cuts describes how Shapers Origin tool places the skill and precision woodcutter.PNGof cutting wood into the hands of just about anybody through the use of a touch screen. Any pattern can be uploaded and all the user has to do is guide the tool with their fingers.
Cutting complex shapes out of wood are now made easier by the system’s ability to correct a new users unsteady hands as they trace their fingers along the screen.
The tool is one part augmented reality and one part robot which tracks its position in the room through the use of removable tape. If the user veers of the templates path, it stops itself. The unit is about the size of a toaster and is much cheaper than most CNC machines and a user can be trained to cut out basic shapes within a few minutes.

Shapers Origin Wood Cutting Tool Video

Another interesting find was the Hope Hollowing Rig which is designed by Simon Hope. What I love about this system is that he has designed a simple AR system to help guide the user when hollowing out the inside of a piece of timber. Through the use of tech already available such as a laser pointer, or a camera, screen and marking pen,  the user is able to hollow out the timber with remarkable accuracy. The sheer simplicity and genius of it all is what really impresses me and is an AR system on its own albeit primitive but hella effective!
This was one of the closest systems I have found that I am trying to design and apply but other than this system,I could not find that much more about actual tools supplemented by AR, there were many applications for training simulations as well as many to do with design in the construction industry, but these were all pretty much VR applications. Any AR applications were not specifically what I was thinking of or looking for.

whatdoesthatmeantomequestionThis means a great deal, as there are still so many applications that can be developed and applied.
Going back to my second question, where could I apply AR or VR?
As it is a desire of mine to have the time to spend time with Dad learning how to do wood-turning, I was thinking of a few ideas where I could apply AR tech and came up with the following:

Wood-turning Assistance Guidance System – W.A.G.S

The system would be housed in a face shield configuration head-gear with noise cancelling headphones. This would be a practical solution for a clear field of view as well protecting against possible eye and face damage as well as hearing protection.

The display would cover:
Accuracy – red lines show the shape and how much needs to be removed at this stage of the project. The guide lines will be determined by a template and then the AR would detect the timber and display the guide lines appropriately. The guide lines would not change even when the wearer looks at the timber from another angle or direction.
Efficiency – The blue lines will show the wearer what angle the chisel’s cutting edge should be facing and at what angle it needs to be held against the timber. It will also determine the depth of the cut through the blue line getting darker as the chisel cuts in deeper or lighter as the chisel cuts less. When looking at the chisels the AR system will recognize each chisel’s unique cutting edge and display the appropriate guide lines when using.

Chisel heads and cutting edges detected by AR system.

Safety – The listing of information such as the timber type and the rpm the timber is turning, are visual reminders of what the wearer is working with. Different timbers have different strengths, weaknesses, hardness and softness, brittleness, etc etc. This will remind the wearer of how they should turn this particular piece of timber. The visual reminder of the machine being on is also another feature to remind the wearer of a possible hazard. The yellow lines also point out the actual metal or machine parts that are to be avoided as well.

Hollowing out timber: To hollow out a piece of timber does require experience and skill combined with touch so you can feel your way through the timber. Wood-turners who are not as experienced are prone to make many mistakes, this will eliminate that and the W.A.G.S will assist even the most experienced wood-turners.

W.A.G.S making hollowing out a much easier and safer task.

This is just the first discussion on this bit of AR tech application and I am sure that there is a whole lot more features and aspects that could be implemented. This simple design came about through discussions with my Dad and asking what is important, what would help and how would that help be displayed? This is a system I really would like to explore more as it could also apply to other manufacturing, design and construction areas.
If you have any ideas or contributions of what could also be implemented please feel free to leave a comment. I come from the position of being a novice and learner, so any assistance from the experienced, the knowledgeable and the wise would be appreciated.

That’s all for now. Thank you so much for your time and company, hope to see you again soon. Until then….

God’s blessings upon you


Happy Easter!

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