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Military Sector Testing AR Screens to Boost Production

Military Sector Testing AR Screens to Boost Production
Military industry testing AR screens to increase production

As part of a recent industrial technology study, Australian military soldiers examined head-mounted displays using augmented reality.

The research was part of a project called Accelerating the Uptake and Diffusion of Innovative Manufacturing Technologies in Australian Shipbuilding and Supply Chain: The Human Factors, which was funded by the Innovative Manufacturing Cooperative Research Centre.

The project was funded in conjunction with BAE Systems Maritime Australia by the Department of Industry, Science, Energy, and Resources (Innovative Manufacturing CRC). It took place at the Osborne Naval Shipyard, thanks to industry partner BAE Systems Maritime Australia.

According to a statement from Flinders University about the study, future generations of shipbuilders and other high-tech factory workers will rely on Industry 4.0 technology, such as augmented reality head-mounted display modules (AR-HMD), for workflow management and remote troubleshooting.

According to Dr. Valerie O’Keeffe, the first author and senior human factors researcher at Flinders University, augmented reality head-mounted displays may help users complete professional tasks by supplying them with digital information immediately.

In a traditional, complicated, and critical sector, the Australian Navy Hunter Class Frigate Programme provides an opportunity to expedite technology adoption and boost productivity and labour capabilities. Australia has been slow to adopt Industry 4.0 technology, despite its promotion as a method of increasing industrial flexibility and competitiveness.

The research case study focused on the AR-HMD Hololens 2 in a simulated manufacturing process to better understand shipbuilders’ workloads and user experiences. This required the use of a collaborative robot outfitted with a visual inspection camera to perform a variety of tasks, including electrical assembly, inspection, and quality assurance.

Trials of such AR-HMD technologies will improve software, tracking, and other promising features of such devices, increasing productivity by reducing and correcting errors in advanced manufacturing and assembly, according to the online article “Forming a view: a human factors case study of augmented reality collaboration in assembly” (2024), published in the journal Ergonomics.

According to O’Keeffe, the study demonstrates how AR-HMDs may be utilised to include cutting-edge technologies, increasing utility while minimising end-user burden.

This is useful for accelerating learning and improving skill levels in a workforce when trained labour is in limited supply, she said.

The most probable impediments to AR-HMD acceptance were interface design, monitoring, pointing, and device resilience, all of which need to be addressed for successful deployment in operations.The findings, however, suggest to high levels of technological enthusiasm and acceptance in work environments, which may boost productivity and knowledge. As one researcher put it, the results may help with technological adoption as well as knowledge transfer to heavy sectors other than shipbuilding.

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