Guest Post from Bryan Pierson, intern at NovoPLM

The Internet of Things is all about making the world a more connected place.  Devices, vehicles, buildings, and more will all soon talk to one another to make everyday life simpler, safer, and more convenient.  When you hear about smart, connected things, you probably think about self-driving cars, intelligent thermostats, or other high-tech gadgetry.  However, the Internet of Things can be applied to anything, even something that most people probably never think of as needing smart capabilities.

During my internship, I was tasked with ideating the pressure washer of the future.  Using Creo and ThingWorx, I was able to model a pressure washer and simulate connecting it to the Internet of Things.  Basic statistics like water pressure, flow rate, and oil level are easy to measure and monitor, but I wanted to take my pressure washer one step further.  I wanted one that could intelligently identify what surface it was washing and how far away the nozzle was from the surface, then adjust its settings accordingly so that I get the perfect clean in as little time as possible without damaging anything.  It took me a few weeks to get accustomed to ThingWorx, but once I was familiar, creating a connected product was easier than I had ever thought possible.

In addition to the Internet of Things, ThingWorx also specializes in creating Augmented Reality (AR) experiences.  It let me take my 3D model and import it into the studio so that I could publish and view it in real-space.  Once ThingWorx had processed my model, I could look through the camera of my smartphone and see my creation sitting on my desk.  It is still hard to believe that a smartphone and a piece of paper is all it takes to see models in AR but the result is pretty neat.  This technology can be used to help design new products, better market them, and maintain them once they are sold.  I was even able to integrate my AR experience with the Internet of Things and see all of my pressure washer’s information as a digital overlay on a real product.

This whole process was interesting and informative.  I learned more about pressure washers than I ever thought I would, but also learned how the Internet of Things and Augmented Reality can be applied to just about everything.  The part that surprised me the most was just how simple all of this is.  Once I had my 3D model, I just uploaded it to ThingWorx, imported some sensor data, and published it to the cloud.  There was no programming or special equipment required.  The process is also very fast; a simple AR experience can be made in minutes by anyone.

Look around and you'll find that everything is becoming smarter and more connected.  This change is inevitable but it is also very exciting.  After seeing just a glimpse of what the Internet of Things and Augmented Reality can do, I can say that the future is looking bright.

NovoPLM is a PTC Platinum Reseller. We offer PTC’s cutting edge technology solutions that transform the way you create and service products; cutting costs, reducing risk, and driving growth. With in-depth industry-based experience, NovoPLM acts as the bridge between original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) and the supply chain to help keep your company running smoothly.