According to a recent article in the MIT Technology Review, engineers at Lockheed Martin are wearing augmented reality (AR) headsets to help build the Orion crew capsule.
Lockheed Martin is one of the contractors building the joint US-European Orion spacecraft. To help engineers prepare for their tasks or better understand perform certain process, such as drilling holes, they use virtual models that are displayed as holograms in their AR headsets.
As one engineer remarked, “At the start of the day, I put on the device to get accustomed to what we will be doing in the morning” and then proceeds with the day’s tasks once it has been learned and instructions confirmed.
According to Lockheed Martin in an article in the Wall Street Journal, the use of AR headsets has allowed technicians to increase their productivity and efficiency. The time it takes for a technician to understand the drilling processes has been reduced from eight hours to 45 minutes using AR headsets. Augmented reality has also helped technicians improve the defect rate since following instructions is simplified.
Based on the way the headsets are used, it may even be possible to expand their use into space. For example, augmented reality could help astronauts with spacecraft maintenance even while outside of earth’s atmosphere.
According to analysts, the use of augmented reality in manufacturing is expected to increase dramatically in the next few years. Forrester Research estimates that 14.4 million workers in the United States will use ‘smart glasses’ by 2025 compared with 400,000 this year.
Augmented reality applications rely on such components as screens, processors, motion sensors, gyroscopes, cameras and images which are linked to hardware such as headsets. IEC experts are responsible for producing International Standards that make the hardware and software used in these technologies possible.
The Joint Technical Committee of IEC and ISO, ISO/IEC JTC 1, provides standardization in information technology. Specifically, ISO/IEC JTC 1/SC 24 develops Standards relating to image processing, computer graphics and virtual reality. IEC TC 47 and IEC SC 47F are responsible for the standardization of sensors and microelectromechanical systems. IEC TC 100 produces Standards which contribute to the quality and performance of audio, video and multimedia systems and equipment while IEC TC 110 covers electronic display devices including touchscreens.
The IEC has recently set up a Systems Committee (SyC) to coordinate and guide the development of International Standards necessary for smart manufacturing (SyC SM). In addition, you can download an IEC white paper that assesses the potential global needs, beneﬁts, concepts and pre-conditions for the factory of the future.
(Picture from Lockheed Martin via MIT Technology Review)