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MR Glasses for Flight line Maintenance Tested by AF

Mixed reality (MR) glasses are coming to the aid of flight crews and flight-line maintenance personnel with the Air Force‘s 7th Bomb Wing B-1. It is helping them perform their duties in a more safe and productive way.

ThirdEye Gen, a manufacturer of mixed reality and augmented reality solutions, and has supplied the X2 MR Glasses for the project. The software has been provided by 3D Media, a developer specialising in virtual and augmented reality solutions. The glasses are now being tested by the unit to evaluate how it’s technology can be used for maintenance procedures. They are being seen as potential replacements for hefty manuals usually carried by crew members. These glasses can relay guidance instruction about the machines, project images, showcase PDFs, and let personnel support others remotely by sharing the view of the wearers.

According to ThirdEye founder Nick Cherukuriteh time-saving benefits of the system, along with improvements to safety and process efficiency. It makes use of a proprietary simultaneous localization and mapping (SLAM) tracking edition. This technology facilitates computer-powered and system-based overlays and design modelling. Using this, stepwise technical instructions and drawn images can be projected onto the display of the MR glasses. These glasses are also capable of taking screenshots and making images larger to aid better visibility. Voice commands let users launch and view documents when they are performing maintenance actions with their hands.

Mixed reality glasses will be available for flight line maintenance.

Cherukuri spoke in greater detail about the capabilities of the MR system. According to him, using SLAM let’s personnel leave overlaid instructions onto mainframes or machines with near-perfect precision. He elaborated, explaining that SLAM has an understanding of one’s environs, and instructions that are overlaid stay in their places. Anyone can put on the glasses, observe the machine, and leave the space, only to come back and see that the instructions are affixed to the same place.

Virtual reality eliminates the view of the real world and replaced it with a virtual environment. Alternatively, AR displays added information in the real world before users. Mixed reality uses SLAM technology and AR to let users interact with their surrounding environment. As an example of this, users can exhibit a hologram and go around it, as the glasses can contemplate the user’s position within a particular space.

In a recent statement, Daryl Roy, CEO of 3D Media, expressed his belief that the most expansive scope for augmented reality to prove its mettle, is in the domain of human performance as it is an area without much room for error.

Revealing the technical aspects of the glasses, Cherukuri said that tehy run on Android OS, require a stable Internet connection to function, and also feature 5G offerings that will come to the fore when the technology develops.

A $1 million valued Small Business Innovation Research contract was awarded to 3D Media by AFWERX, the innovation initiative of the Air Force, for the purpose of developing AR systems to enhance training. A month-long pilot program has seen service personnel using about a dozen of the MR glasses, with more to be sent over soon.

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