Press releases and extensive news coverage provoked some thinking about the Metaverse and its assorted technologies—Augmented Reality (AR), Virtual Reality (VR), eXtended Reality (XR), and Mixed Reality (MR). It’s enough to distort in one’s mind just what is reality. Some psychologists and philosophers think there is no reality outside of what’s in your head. At this rate, they may be right. I even devoted a podcast to thoughts about this.
Mostly I’ve been exploring AR usually in the form of glasses that project the digital over the physical or VR usually in the form of an eye covering totally immersing you in the digital world. I’ve controlled machines while wearing glasses such as Microsoft’s HoloLens and seen training demos in VR. But VR can be on a flat panel, too. My wife the other day was holding her iPhone up and pointing at the walls of her “reading room.” She was visualizing a piece of furniture.
But I am here today to talk about constraints and overcoming them.
Dijam Panigrahi, COO and co-founder of GridRaster, talked with me the other day.
We started with constraints. Even AR requires a lot of compute power. And memory. And networking/communication bandwidth. Not to mention an electric power source. It’s hard to fit all that into an acceptable form factor. Rumors were that Apple was about to release its long awaited AR and VR products. The rumors pointed to the need for the wearer to have a battery pack clipped on their belt with a cable to the device. (For those who don’t wear pants with belts, well, I have no idea what you would have had to do.)
Panigrahi told me they started from a different point. They saw the power of the cloud plus the power of new communications networks such as 5G. Add to this advances in 3D CAD. Why, they asked, should designers try to put everything into the wearable device. Why not host the data in the cloud and use advanced networking to communicate with the device.
GridRaster does not design and sell end user devices. It works with any device and cloud service. It has what they call a unified and shared software infrastructure that enables enterprise customers to run AR, VR, XR, and MR applications.
Here are some underlying ideas and technologies:
Ultra-low latency high fidelity remote rendering using distributed GPUs for graphics heavy computing for high-fidelity rendering without time-consuming polygon reduction, and wirelessly streaming the solution to headsets, mobile phones, and tablets.
Millimeter precision 3D AI based spatial mapping achieving accurate 3D spatial mapping with high fidelity 3D scene reconstruction, scene segmentation, and 3D object recognition using 3D computer vision and deep learning-based AI running on discrete GPUs on the server.
Auto scaling and deployment using DevSecOps applying gaming tools and concepts in a cloud native environment that allows for agile, secure, and rapid development, deployment, and operations on the cloud/on-premises. GridRaster uses Kubernetes for deployment and scaling. It follows a CI/CD pipeline for deployment of its services into the cluster following the best practices and CNCF graduated projects. This enables loosely coupled systems that are resilient, manageable, and observable, and future proof.
Easy API-based integration open architecture approach enables a frictionless onboarding and seamless integration with existing content formats and provides future proof cross-platform support. This also allows the platform to integrate with other systems to share data and allow for interoperability.
And some use cases:
DESIGN & ENGINEERING
Enables Real-time Collaboration for Rapid Prototyping
Enables quick iteration on the ideas and concepts
Clearer communication among team members
Precise overlays of virtual models on real-world on any commercially available mobile devices, HMDs, smartglasses and PCs in real-time.
REMOTE MAINTENANCE, REPAIR AND TRAINING
Enables photo-realistic visualization and remote collaboration.
Create a virtual environment close to real world settings, along with photo-realistic product visualization and real-time collaboration, so that the most effective environment can be created for remote maintenance, repair and training.
Futurist, X-Prize guy, longevity researcher Peter Diamandis appears in my email inbox regularly. This email about emails caught my attention. I receive about a hundred a day. Many are from PR professionals seeking attention for their client.
Evidently they all went to the same school and bought the same template. The subject line seldom tempts me. The opening paragraph attempts to set a context with a trend or recent news item. Then there are a couple of filler paragraphs containing generic marketing words. If I have stuck with it this long, by the fourth paragraph or so, they discuss a little of the product or solution with an invitation for me to publish a guest article (which I don’t do) or an interview that, if I’m lucky, contains five possible topics.
I know several things from this.
They have no personal relationship with me
They have not looked at my blog
They do not know what I write about
They do not know if I’ve covered the topic previously
They cannot come to the point
Therefore, I offer this summary of Diamandis’s post on emails. Visit his site for deeper analysis.
Keep it under five lines
Make the subject line unique, meaningful, and searchable
Use easy-to-read formatting
Put your specific action request in the first line
Make the ask really simple—make it hard to say “no”
If something is really urgent, don’t email—call or send a text
Engineers solve problems. Isn’t that what engineering school is all about in the end? Some classes push knowledge. Most of the classes are about solving problems. Most of those involve math.
In this week’s (January 11, 2023) Akimbo podcast entitled More or Less, Seth Godin discusses the paradox of more or less. If we search more on Ecosia, we cause more trees to be planted that will offset the carbon dioxide we pump into the air when we drive to work. As engineers working in manufacturing and production, we are encouraged to help produce more. But also with less waste. We know that some waste, say methane leaks around the facility, also contribute to climate change.
As Seth “rants” on the subject, his logic points toward “better.” Maybe in my life I don’t need more of something or to make do with less of something else. Maybe I need to pursue better. And better is not always more expensive. I like a good wine. Sometimes I’ve had some excellent wines that were very expensive. We like a wine imported from Spain that I buy on sale from my local beverage store for $9.00. It is great with our dinner or for sipping.
Let us consider that concept of better.
Are we solving the better class of problems? Or, maybe just more of the easier problems that might gain us a little recognition? Or, fewer problems because we are “quiet quitting”?
I suggest that we work on the big problems. The problems that matter. The better problems.
And if you are not listening to Seth Godin each week, you are missing stimulation for your brain.
How to organize my time and improve productivity comprised a false trail to success for me since the time I was introduced to the topic and presented my very own set of DayTimers. I’ve gone the Getting Things Done with David Allen. This blog reflected some of my thinking for a period of time several years ago.
The Zen teacher Kosho Uchiyama once wrote: “Life completely unhindered by anything manifests as pure activity.” Orient yourself to the world in this way, and the question is no longer “How can I get myself to do things?”, with its implicit and unwelcome answer: “By putting in more effort, you lazy jerk!” Instead, the question is something a bit more like “What’s seeking to be done through me, right now?” And then, whatever the response, all you really have to do is to allow it to happen.
Have you experienced bosses who prized activity over results? I have. Drove me crazy.
Break up your day. Figure out the best times for different tasks. Find a way to devote about three hours to that “what is seeking to be done through me” task. Break. Block off a shorter period of time for discrete tasks—email, meetings, calls. Another shorter period for “urgent” to-dos.
My Yoga training has conditioned me to “go with the flow.” Find that thing seeking to be done through me and go with the flow. Accomplish meaningful work.
What does it take to be better at work? Even for someone like me who works alone?
One of my few go-to news sources is called Axios. They use a technique called smart brevity. What I like. Short and to the point. I wrote to them about too many adjectives, but in reality they minimize those extraneous and emotion-laden words. (Did you notice what I just wrote?) I’ve always tried that here.
They have a daily newsletter called Finish Line that ponders personal issues. They ran a series where they asked readers from different generations to send their thoughts on work. I appreciated how similar the thoughts were. Founder Jim VandeHei summarized all the comments in a column called the 10 Commandments of Work Success.
Click the link to read them all. My picks from the litter include:
Serve others: If it’s only about you, you will do the wrong things for the wrong reasons. Life is empty alone.
Work morally: Honesty, grace, humility, hard work and honor are the core values of a work-life well-lived.
Work smart: Working hard on the wrong or nonessential things is time wasted.
Study deeply: Master the tiny details and panoramic context of your profession.
Study thyself: Be clear-eyed about your gifts and flaws. It’s the only path to betterment.
Fortify thyself: Optimal work performance is impossible without healthy relationships, diet and exercise, and spirituality and mindfulness outside of it.
The bottom line: When the clock stops, smile confidently — knowing you did it right and well.
The go-to book for manufacturing operations management for a generation has been The Goal by Jeff Cox and Eliyahu Goldratt. The book tells about transforming a failing plant using the Theory of Constraints and examples from life such as a Boy Scout hike.
Steel Toes and Stilettos: A True Story of Women Manufacturing Leaders and Lean Transformation Success by Shannon Karels and Kathy Miller captures my nomination for the manufacturing operations management story for the new generation. This first person account (told in sections by each of the authors) tells the story of how they assembled and led teams of three divisional automotive parts plants through a Lean transformation. The plants became clean, profitable, enthusiastic examples of how manufacturing can be done better.
Noticing, perhaps, that the authors are women, they use shoes as a metaphor for the journey and for the outline of the book. They also played with the metaphor of walking a mile in someone’s shoes. Part of the book discusses some of the work and planning involved from convincing people to try new ideas into having those same people (mostly) become creative participants in turning the plants around. Like all good stories, there are several levels. Another part of the story is how they managed to blend home life with the time consuming travel and meetings a turnaround requires. Still another part touches on some unique challenges women face in an overwhelmingly male culture.
Oh, and I think many grapes were killed in the making of this story. You’ll have to read the book to catch the meaning.
Note: I link to bookshop.org rather than to Amazon. This website supports your local independent bookstore. Just as I’m a fan of local coffee houses that provide direct trade coffee, I also support local bookstores.