Tuesday, January 19, 2010

The Augmented Future of Technical Documentation?

For those of us who have written, or write, technical documentation for hardware, and engineering products, this video of a BMW research project perhaps gives a glimpse of the future.

And BMW are not alone, a quick search online produced videos of several different prototypes of using Augmented Reality for maintenance, service and repair procedures.

This type of development, once again reinforces my message that technical writers need to step up and become technical communicators comfortable with developing content that can be delivered in any media.

Technical documentation is not just about the written word, it is about the communication of ideas and knowledge.


Unknown said...

In the words of Jed Clampett: "Well doggies!"

That video is very, very impressive. I have to confess, though, that a part of my technical-writer self was busy compiling a list of all the reasons that could never work. Too hard to program the goggles with all of the various makes and models. Too much ambient noise in the garage. But do you know what? If there's truly a market for this kind of documentation, some smart person will find around every problem. The question I have to ask myself: Do I want to try and be that person, or do I want to sit on the sidelines shaking my head and watching the world pass me by?

Mandus said...

Why would each individual need to be knowledgeable in all areas? Where would one stop?

I think there will be a future for both experts in tech. writing, experts tech. video communication and some with a more general knowledge within the field as a whole.

There is usually not only ONE way to do things.

Alan J. Porter said...

Hi Larry -

Thanks for the comment. You raise a couple of good points. I'm guessing that the various make/model/task configurations would be stored on a central server and only the specific tasks downloaded to the googles on an as needed basis.

I noticed the glasses had inbuilt ear-buds which I guess would help cancel out some of the ambient noise.

I think even if you don't want to be an expert in this type of documentation, that we should all be aware of where things are going.

Alan J. Porter said...

I'm not suggesting that one individual become expert in every media, just that those involved in the process become aware of the needs of the other techniques and the overall capabilities of the delivery platform.

I've long been a vocal advocate of getting video, animation, graphic, voice experts to be active members of of the technical communication community.

Unknown said...

Golly gee, Alan, you made me write a blog post.

Watching this video triggered a memory. The result - my response to you - is here: