No. But it is often the best approach. QR codes are a type of a barcode that is a machine-readable optical label which contains information. They are commonly used with augmented reality work instruction solutions for two primary reasons. First, they can act as a unique ID for a specific piece of equipment so that relevant information and procedures can be associated with the equipment and so that a specific work history can be tracked for the piece of equipment. Secondly, QR codes are used as fiducial markers so that augmented reality content, such as leader lines, step markers and other 3D elements that augment step-by-step procedures, can be spatially anchored to a specific location on a physical piece of equipment. When AR content is created, authors need a reference point to use so that content can be placed and used consistently and similarly across a family of equipment. So QR codes are often affixed to a specific place on every piece of equipment so when it is scanned, the work instruction solutions will properly display 3D content in the correct location.
QR codes are widely used by augmented reality work instructions but there are other methods to achieve the above-described use cases. Circular codes are used by some solutions. Standard 1D barcodes are sometimes used but they do not contain enough information for spatially anchoring 3D content. Virtual QR codes are often used when physical QR codes cannot be used. But using a virtual QR code requires providing guidance to users about specifically where to place the virtual code. Often a photo is used to provide this guidance. Finally, an emerging method is to use object recognition where the solution uses computer vision recognition to identify the specific physical object and then automatically anchor the content appropriately. Often, this approach requires digital 3D models of each object to work well.
So, while not required, a QR code physically fixed on an object provide the most pragmatic and consistently accurate approach for using an augmented reality work instruction solution.
Do I have to use a QR code with Manifest – I can’t put anything on my equipment? JohnT
No. There is a virtual option that doesn’t require affixing anything on the physical objects. For a detailed explanation of QR codes and different approaches, please review this blog post. QR Codes or ” fiducial markers” are necessary for Manifest to orient and position the 3D elements that describe procedures. The placement of the code in the same place on every similar family of equipment or vehicle of place is fundamental for the system to work. In cases where it is not possible to use a QR code the best practice is to choose an easy location on the physical object to manually and virtually place that tag and then create an ” Alignment Template”. for that Manifest Asset Class (class of equipment). With the Alignment Template, visual cues or instructions can be used to help the user easily drag and drop the virtual QR code into the correct location. Typically, a photo of the location where it should be placed is used.