Friday, October 5, 2012
Augmented Reality for Precision Welding
I finally got a solar auto-dimming welding helmet last year. I never found that with proper technique these were absolutely necessary for quality welding, but they do make it possible to make all tack welds and finish welds without ever lifting your helmet. I hate welding helmets in general, and it is important to get the best ones and maintain them, because the cheap ones are just shit and make welding a pain in the ass. The automatic helmets have some drawbacks though. You have to manually adjust the light blocking and sensitivity to the environment and type of welding. If the photovoltaic cell is obscured by something, which is often the case when working in tight places like under cars etc, the auto-dimming doesn't work, and you end up effectively looking at an arc through a #3-4 shade, when you should be protected by a #10. More expensive helmets, which I would recommend for anyone who welds daily, have auto-sensing filter controllers for ambient light settings, arc amperage, arc time display, other nice stuff. Most of the welding helmets don't have integrated air filters. Welding fumes are toxic, sometimes deadly (galvanized plating will kill you). The automatic helmets are a pretty recent development. The next generation is coming though, and will be a significant improvement over the previous glass filters. These provide a real time HDR projection directly to the eye using video and real time HDR processing: By processing multiple video streams at different dynamic ranges and combining the optimal visible light into an optimal stream, you get complete detail of the weld area, molten metal puddle and arc without the extreme contrast that a #10 shade provides.