New reality possible for Navy training

A new augmented reality platform has the potential to take some Navy training out of the classroom and into a hands-on combined physical and augmented environment.

CAPTION: Chief of Navy Vice Admiral Michael Noonan participates in a medical virtual reality demonstration with Lieutenant Commander Irene Navay at the Navy’s Centre for Innovation in Sydney. Photo by Able Seaman Leo Dafonte Fernandez.

The technology being trialled by Navy’s Centre for Innovation (CFI) could also transform the way Navy people conduct maintenance and repair tasks.

Warfare Innovation Navy has trialled software called Manifest which connects handheld devices and digital goggles (Microsoft HoloLens II) to overlay virtual information on top of physical equipment like a control room or an engine.

Deputy Director Navy Innovation Commander Steve Thompson said the augmented reality (AR) technology was like having an instructor beside you in real-world situations.

“If you’ve ever taken a training course for a job-related task, chances are you’ve forgotten a few steps by the time you need to apply what you learned,” Commander Thompson said.

“With AR googles you can troubleshoot maintenance and repair issues in real time.

“For example, you can view a virtual engine right next to a real engine and see how everything is supposed to fit together.

“You can work hands-free without needing to refer to a manual.

“A trial on this was run last year on the LM2500 engines.

“Even a total novice like me could put on the headset and actually see how the job’s done from an expert’s perspective.

“This has the potential to change the way we do training, making it more efficient, effective and enjoyable.”

Last month, 10 sailors and officers from different training authorities were invited to the CFI.

They spent two days learning to use the intuitive software and had two weeks to build real-world use cases.

By the end of the event, the participants in just a few hours were building training and maintenance scenarios for practical tasks like electrical power isolation, fibre optic maintenance, 3D metals printing, and machinery maintenance.

One participant built a virtual operations room console and an entire ops room to test warfare manoeuvres, and other scenarios developed included medical situations and small-arms weapons training.





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