Boeing Features Strong Focus on AR and VR Applications

Boeing made a strong impression with a variety of Hololens AR demos as well as a VR demo at I/ITSEC 2016. With Hololens, Boeing must have had 4-5 demos all placed in virtual spaces around its large booth. By putting on the headset, one is able to see these applications at various locations.

For example, in one area, you can go and sit on the couch and see an entire virtual cockpit all around you. In another area, I initiated a Skype call with a remote expert who walked me through the diagnosis and repair of a hydraulic pump (photo). The engineer was able to see my view via the embedded video camera. Another application featured the demonstration of a virtual personal assistant/scheduler.

The VR demo featured the removal and repair of a water pump for an aircraft windshield washer. Arrows and other visual cues guided you through the demonstration. I especially liked the “teleport feature” which looked like a Star Trek transporter tube that you stepped into and it moved you to the next location (from outside the aircraft to inside the cockpit and then back). This was quite clever and effective.

All these activities are being funded by Boeing’s services and R&D group, which supports their commercial and military aircraft operations. The AR developments are ahead of the VR and in 2017, Boeing plans to begin assessing using the technology on real factory design and manufacturing operations. The technology has been developed to the point that they call TRL6, which means it is ready to transition to a Boeing training operational organization. The factory assembly work will be the focus of the Hololens platform, but other mobile devices will be considered as well.

On the VR side, the group is looking for internal or external customers to take this to the next level. – CC