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AF eyes augmented reality for aircraft maintenance

The Air Force Research Laboratory wants to find out how virtual, augmented and mixed (VAM) reality technologies can be leveraged to improve aircraft maintenance.

In the private sector, VAM tools have been used in training and manufacturing and maintenance industries to reduce quality errors and increase throughput.

Following the lead of advanced manufacturing companies, AFRL wants to move away from printed maintenance instructions and investigate solutions like projecting scaled visualizations of the task onto the machinery being serviced.

But before such technology can be developed, AFRL wants information about four specific areas:

Content development. Cost-effective solutions for creating the magnitude computer-generated visualizations aircraft preventative and remedial maintenance will require innovative crowdsourcing of augmented reality (AR) content development by airmen. The content must be able to be developed by non-programmers and not be dependent on digital models of legacy aircraft systems.

Content approval and management. Solutions for vetting and managing VAM content are needed to ensure that airmen are using the latest technical data.

Open modular enterprise solutions. The Air Force anticipates using AR devices in many, varied uses cases, so any solution should be device agnostic and allow new technical capabilities to be incorporated. Additionally, the device selected for each use case should be the one deemed most able to ensure the physical safety of the maintainer and cybersecurity for Air Force computer networks and data.

VAM business cases. Each VAM use case will need to describe the associated financial impact. First time quality and process throughput are key metrics for establishing a business case for additional implementations of VAM technologies.

Read the full request for information here.

About the Author

Susan Miller is executive editor at GCN.

Over a career spent in tech media, Miller has worked in editorial, print production and online, starting on the copy desk at IDG’s ComputerWorld, moving to print production for Federal Computer Week and later helping launch websites and email newsletter delivery for FCW. After a turn at Virginia’s Center for Innovative Technology, where she worked to promote technology-based economic development, she rejoined what was to become 1105 Media in 2004, eventually managing content and production for all the company's government-focused websites. Miller shifted back to editorial in 2012, when she began working with GCN.

Miller has a BA from West Chester University and an MA in English from the University of Delaware.

Connect with Susan at smiller@gcn.com or @sjaymiller.

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