What a great idea that will vastly improve instruction manuals, especially for fixing or changing large, complex machines like cars, and for assembly instructions of large and small machines. Thanks, Beth.
@WilliamK: While I have to agree poorly written product directions translated to another platform are just another set of poorly written product directions, I think we're missing the bigger picture here. The idea is substituting the poorly written text, which is often translated from foreign text and done horribly at best, with highly graphical visual elements, frequently animated instructions. Remember the saying, a picture is worth a thousands words. It might make things far clearer if you could see an exploded image of the parts, with animations that depict how things actually fit together.
It may be harder to lose online instructions, but it would be a challnge to find them 2 or 3 years from now, even if they were saved on the ipad. Not to mention the number of times that I have accidentally dropped instructions. Dropping an ipad can be costly.
I do agree that poorly written instructions are a large source of customer frustration, but it is not clear how poorly written 3d animated instructions will be any better. To the contrary, those instructions will be more expensive to correct, so revisions will probably not happen. There is no substitute for accuracy and completeness in instructions.
Of course the "cool" factor will sella lot of products, but once again, slick production gimmicks are no substitute for being correct and complete. Of course, it is a nice way to provide "product differentiation" as a substitute for that more expensive "product quality" that is so very rare these days.
Yes, Lego is really on the ball about partnering with industry. I think one masterful partnership is their one with CopaData. CopaData offers a free "zenon Science Pack", which includes a version of their soft PLC and HMI/SCADA software that works with Lego Mindstorms NXT 2.0.
So not only do people get to have a lot of fun controlling their Mindstorms projects, but they get to see the software in action, and work with it much more closely than one could in a class or demo, before deciding whether they want to use it to run their plants.
That makes sense, Beth. The iPad tie-in also makes sense, especially when it comes to the maintenance and repair of any system, factory or aircraft. The iPad is a portability improvement over the laptop. In plants, maintenance folks like the iPad because they don't have to balance it on their knee like a laptop when they're out looking at the line.
I can see a fantastic use for this as assembly instructions. I have had to read (and write) many assembly instructions both for home and work and trying to read a document that has been translated from German to Mandarin then to English, well you get the picture. If the assembly instructions are put on the web using visualization software that you could read with your iPad or any smart device then this would make assembly so much easier plus reduce the amount of translation required.
During assembly you could run the sequence then pause it any time while you catch up with the video then run it again. If there are options then you could interactively drag in those options and the sequence would be modified to suite. Also if you have pieces that need to be manipulated into place, perhaps ones that may have collisions with other parts one could do this on the screen to see how to orient them.
It's a smart pairing. Grab the kids and get their parents at the same time. Also does a lot to expose future generations of scientists, builders, and engineers to the tools that will help them do their jobs.
I have also assembled Lego's for a long time with my kids. Some of the bigger kits can be more challenging. My sons and I have also used some of the robotics technology and some of the designer software. This seems to be a big step forward from that.
For industrial control applications, or even a simple assembly line, that machine can go almost 24/7 without a break. But what happens when the task is a little more complex? That’s where the “smart” machine would come in. The smart machine is one that has some simple (or complex in some cases) processing capability to be able to adapt to changing conditions. Such machines are suited for a host of applications, including automotive, aerospace, defense, medical, computers and electronics, telecommunications, consumer goods, and so on. This discussion will examine what’s possible with smart machines, and what tradeoffs need to be made to implement such a solution.