Thursday, 23 July 2015 19:31

CSIRO wearable tech playing part in aerospace industry Featured

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 A CSIRO researcher demonstrating the GMR system A CSIRO researcher demonstrating the GMR system

Australian aerospace company TAE is to commercialise the CSIRO’s Guardian Mentor Remote (GMR) wearable technology system making it available to the global aerospace industry.

TAE says commercial, regional and defence aircraft operators will be able to reduce aircraft down-time and maintenance costs, using the new wearable technology that can remotely connect technicians with aviation experts from around the world.

GMR is hands-free technology that uses a headset and glasses to connect experts with onsite operators so they can provide real-time assistance, allowing them to undertake aircraft and engine repairs and maintenance without having to fly in specialist engineers or mechanics.

According to Andrew Sanderson, Managing Director of TAE, the technology has huge potential to bring down maintenance costs for airlines, particularly those in regional locations.

“In the aerospace industry, costs associated with aircraft downtime are a critical issue.

“If a plane’s not operational, it can cost a company up to $12,000 per hour. Therefore, any technology that makes maintenance easier, and helps bring down repair times is a valuable investment.

“Using the GMR system, it is just like the expert is in the room with you, even if they’re in another state or even another country.

"That means there is no more waiting days to get aircraft back up and running.”

The GMR system consists of a helper station and an operator station, which both use a wearable computer with a helmet-mounted camera and a near-eye display which provides a shared visual space, allowing the off-site expert to demonstrate what needs to be done using a pair of virtual hands.

According to Dr Marcel Bick from CSIRO’s Manufacturing Flagship, it’s technologies like GMR that are helping Australian companies create more intelligent industrial environments.

“Robotic and digital solutions are improving operating safety and efficiency for Australian industry. As we have increased access to high-speed broadband, this makes the possibilities even more exciting.

“The GMR prototype has already been trialed by Boeing and Aviation Australia. With TAE commercialising the technology, from later this year it will be available to aerospace companies around the world.”

Dr Bick says that as well as boosting efficiency in the aerospace industry, GMR could also be used for a range of other applications.

“We see huge potential for GMR in a number of settings including the general manufacturing, mining, automotive, paper and pulp and rail industries.

“It could even be used to provide remote medical assistance for field health workers and emergency scenarios.”

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Peter Dinham is a co-founder of iTWire and a 35-year veteran journalist and corporate communications consultant. He has worked as a journalist in all forms of media – newspapers/magazines, radio, television, press agency and now, online – including with the Canberra Times, The Examiner (Tasmania), the ABC and AAP-Reuters. As a freelance journalist he also had articles published in Australian and overseas magazines. He worked in the corporate communications/public relations sector, in-house with an airline, and as a senior executive in Australia of the world’s largest communications consultancy, Burson-Marsteller. He also ran his own communications consultancy and was a co-founder in Australia of the global photographic agency, the Image Bank (now Getty Images).

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