The Royal Canadian Navy (RCN) is now testing augmented reality glasses to facilitate maintenance and repair work aboard warships.
The system, which RCN calls Mixed Reality Remote Assistant Support (MIRRAS), is based on Kognitiv Spark software for Microsoft HoloLens, a standard augmented reality (AR) device. According to Kognitiv, the software integrates artificial intelligence and augmented reality to make ship repairs, maintenance and knowledge transfer more efficient. It will be used by RCN naval technicians and current weapons engineering technicians.
For remote maintenance, a shore expert can see what the HoloLens wearer is seeing from anywhere in the world. The expert can provide guidance using real-time voice and video, interactive 3D holograms and content, and live IoT data. The technician can also use the data stored locally when a remote expert is not available.
“Innovation and technological advancement are essential to the future of the Royal Canadian Navy,” said RAdm Casper Donovan, Director General Future Ship Capability for the RCN. “The Mixed Reality Remote Assistance System is an exciting tool because it can offer our sailors the opportunity to explore a new and potentially much more efficient way of performing maintenance on board. “
According to Duncan McSporran, former military officer and co-founder and COO of Kognitiv Spark, 3D content is more easily interpreted than paper textbooks, and therefore reduces mental fatigue. Independent studies in manufacturing environments have shown that using 3D work instructions results in faster delivery times and higher efficiency than when using equivalent 2D drawings.
In one notable application, Boeing has deployed a similar AR device to provide work guidance for assembling complex wire harnesses, improving productivity and reducing confusion.