SAN FRANCISCO, CA — Scope AR today announced that it has joined the Siemens Digital Industries Software Partner Program, enabling Siemens’ Teamcenter® customers to integrate directly with WorkLink, an enterprise-class augmented reality (AR) platform. Scope AR currently operates its WorkLink platform globally.
“We are ecstatic to offer this leading PLM technology integration to our current and future customers,” said Scott Montgomerie, Co-founder and CEO. “Streamlining the creation of AR experiences from PLM systems is an integral part of the digital thread. With the connection between Teamcenter and WorkLink, that vision is now a reality. We launched WorkLink Create to give the world the fastest AR authoring and publishing experience possible. That experience is now seamlessly connected to the world’s most widely used PLM system, and this integration unlocks limitless use cases for our shared customers.”
From its founding, Scope AR has improved the way people work with technology that accelerates the sharing of specific knowledge. In 2010, Scope AR’s founders saw the power augmented reality had to make anyone an expert, regardless of how complex the task. To harness that power, they developed WorkLink, a platform that transforms the way enterprises manufacture, inspect, test and train their workforce through step-by-step 3D visual guidance. WorkLink enables higher workforce productivity with better training, less rework, and higher compliance.
WorkLink has been proven transformational in hundreds of use cases and industries, and makes it easy for leading organizations like Johnson & Johnson, Mitsubishi, Lockheed Martin, Northrop Grumman, Honeywell and others to create and distribute powerful AR content in minutes across a wide array of devices. In addition to Siemens Digital Industries, Scope AR partners with technology leaders such as Microsoft, Google, Amazon, ServiceMax, Unity, NTT Data and more.
The company is based in San Francisco with offices in Tel Aviv, Israel and Edmonton, Canada.
Prior to our WorkLink Create launch, I sat down with the fine folks on camera at Click Bond, our customer that develops innovative fastening solutions for aerospace, marine, and land transportation. You can watch the 3-minute testimonial video here, but there was so much great discussion we realized it needed its own blog. This interview doesn’t focus on Scope AR particularly, rather a deep dive into how humans learn, how creativity is harnessed and shared, and where mixed reality solutions could play a key role. So I give you Karl Hutter — the CEO and President of Click Bond, a die-hard pilot, innovator, and a brilliant, expansive thinker.
Scope AR (Interviewer): Alright. So state your name and what it is you do for Click Bond.
Karl Hutter: I’m Karl Hutter, President and CEO of Click Bond.
Scope AR (Interviewer): Awesome. And in just a few sentences, what does Click Bond produce?
Karl Hutter: What does Click Bond produce? (laughs) Click Bond produces new possibilities. Click Bond’s in the business of supporting those who design, build and maintain, I would call high performance platforms around the world. Now that’s predominantly in aerospace, but also things that swim, things that roll, and it’s not just things with wings, but that’s really where kind of our core and our history and our heart has been. And really, I think that as our company has evolved over the last 32 years, we’ve recognized something super important (I certainly have as CEO for the last five) that it’s about people.
So, when we give tools to people that you might call our products, it really allows them to do work in new and imaginative ways and takes away constraints. And the way that we predominantly do that is by eliminating the need to drill holes in perfectly good materials, and instead, use that intersection between adhesives and mechanical fastening to allow new possibilities by assembling aircraft and other platforms in new ways.
Scope AR (Interviewer): Awesome. Things with wings.
Karl Hutter: Things with wings, but not just. [laughter]
Scope AR (Interviewer): In your view, how has technology transformed knowledge in your company in the last 30 years?
Karl Hutter: So there’s two phases to how technology has transformed knowledge and its deployment over that period of time. Internally, we’ve had tremendous focus on how we really tap the experience, the creativity, the passion of every Click Bonder. We’ve used technology as the sort of enabling tool to bring people closer together — to be able to get more people’s ideas on the page as it were. It has stimulated better processes, new product ideas, creative application ideas that we then can take outside and use our technology to transform. Again, the way that other people do their work at our, say prime contractor customers or sub-contractors, and in turn, then those folks really can enable some missions of consequences, I like to call them. So whether that’s returning to the moon, whether that’s understanding our planet better, whether it’s getting the good guys home safe or getting grandma and the presents here for Christmas. We really look at how we can take technology, again, to bring out talent and get creativity capably deployed.
Scope AR (Interviewer): Do you think knowledge has value without creativity?
Karl Hutter: Yeah, but I think it’s pretty static though. The challenge is that if you program the robot as it were to execute perfectly and capably every time, you’re going to do a good job of getting exactly the same thing for a long time to come. As I think this year has shown us the world’s a pretty dynamic place though. If we’re going to continue to, as we say at Click Bond, expand the possible, which is a key tenet of our mission, and we put ourselves there by the way, because we recognize that the world rewards taking on challenging, seemingly impossible things and proving otherwise that that’s how kind of the possibilities curve, the frontier moves forward. We need to direct our attention at that. When you are in a place where the world is changing, where the problem set is very dynamic, I think it’s really critical that you harness the creativity of people so that you can continue to evolve those solutions. Now, whether that’s to keep your company competitive, your country competitive, or simply to keep the focus on the problems of consequence in the world as it changes, I think that the creativity of human beings and the ability to really not only empower them to deploy that, but to give them the tools and the confidence to do that easily and fluidly is absolutely essential.
Scope AR (Interviewer): I totally agree. So when I think about technologies around knowledge, the most obvious one is like going from paper to the Internet. Do you remember what that was like here?
Karl Hutter: Yeah. Well, I am from the right bandwidth of experience to have typed the term paper on Microsoft Word or Word Perfect, but even Word Star. So all of my experience in knowledge, capture and deployment in school was on a computer for the deploy part, but it was almost all in the library on paper, microfiche on the capture side of things. And of course it’s a completely different world now, and the ability to absorb information in more efficient ways is a huge unlock to the acceleration we’ve seen in the last couple decades. But it also has, I think met the human beings in a different place, I.e., where they are, and at the same time transformed how humans need to, or prefer to take in knowledge.
Scope AR (Interviewer): Would you say there’s an analogy maybe of like, how has that experience been going from… So the microfiche to the internet and Word Perfect to now Google Drive and Google Docs?
Karl Hutter: I don’t know if I’m that advanced, but…[chuckle]
Scope AR (Interviewer): Like PDF instruction manuals, service installation instructions to augmented reality?
Karl Hutter: Yeah. So this is where we have a huge opportunity for an unlock. Today’s digital information, whether it’s the approach I fly with in the airplane, or whether it’s the instruction manual for a technical piece of equipment, by and large they all are still PDFs, in some organizational system on a drive. We cling to the familiar, especially in places where there’s a lot of process control and regulation. We cling to these outdated archetypes of how information should be presented and they’re comfy and familiar, but they’re naturally limiting.
I think the ability to access information from any dimension that is useful to you at that moment with your experience, with your preferences for learning, is really key.
So as you move from the static paper, whether it’s dusty pages and stacks of binders, or whether it’s digital versions, you move from those to something like augmented reality work instructions. You’ve gone from 2D to 3D, and you’ve gone from a script to sort of a limitless world.
What I think is super important is that there is a transition of generations in the workforce to technical people who are digital natives. And for them, you need to meet them where they are.
The way that they now learn comes from problem solving in a very dynamic real-time space, whether that’s playing Halo or whether that’s managing complex social relationships in real-time on Periscope. It’s a different way of taking things in. What I would suggest is that when we speak from our industry of the airmen working on an F-35, or a new mechanic on the line at Boeing Seattle, that the way that they’re going to capably learn technically complex, sophisticated information is not going to be from someone growling at them to go read the binders off the big bookshelf.
It’s going to be by presenting information to them in a way to them… In a way that is inherently comfortable and familiar. When we see tools like augmented reality and other digital connected systems open the door for those new people, I would say that that’s super critical to harness the wisdom and the experience of the outgoing generation.
Scope AR (Interviewer): This point’s excellent, by the way. I think the genesis, the creation point, that’s super important.
Karl Hutter: Yeah. Well, also there’s a piece that speaks to expert capture here. There’s much said about the Apollo generation that got us to the moon the first time— that is not with us as much anymore. Did we capture what they know? We need to be doing that capture every single day. And that’s an exciting place because we can figure out through grabbing that wisdom, how can we then dynamically update and manage technical learning and processes and evolve them creatively and keep them very dynamic and at the same time, have the sort of process control for the released production version that’s necessary to keep the sort of law and order that’s required by safety-critical and mission-critical things?
Scope AR (Interviewer): Do you think that the interface itself is going to be more critical for that outgoing generation? Do do they transplant their task and knowledge into the box? Are there things that can be done to prove that particular use case?
Karl Hutter: If I’m imagining what the perfect interface for this would be, and I would say this is really for all users, but particularly for folks who are not inherently digital savvy or don’t use a computer every day. I feel that the AR tools, as I’ve seen them now, already take you past that clumsy interface. It’s participating in a world. I think that the ideal interface for capturing that knowledge is one where you can live out the operation physically and in real time. For example… for the last 30 years or for the last 30 days, I have reached around here and into there, tried not to skin my arm on that and then gotten some help to do this, and then have somebody try to write that down, and then somebody else code it and somebody else say like this. What if we could actually just climb into the world together and do the operation on the digital twin?
Now, what if when you did that, the computer was in real time editing the process and the work instruction and remembering when you backed up and when you tried something different? I think if you could make that the interface, you could do some incredibly powerful things very quickly and get people on-ramped in a way that I think is engaging and collaborative and fun, and I don’t know. I think that’s all within reach.
Scope AR (Interviewer): It’s like knowledge transfer by participation and replication.
Karl Hutter: Yeah. I think as human beings are at our best and our most engaged and therefore most creative when we’re having fun and we’re actually working with other people. I grew up learning all about airplanes and the problems that are faced in designing and building and maintaining them by climbing around in airplanes, going on customer visits with my dad, working on the airplanes here, and really understanding it first-hand. So what was that? That’s experiential learning. That participatory learning and teaching, that sharing of information and the mutual discovery of something new, I think is enabled even in the time when it was always impractical to literally, you know, go to the plant floor and climb around in the airplane. That was always a treat.
Scope AR (Interviewer): Do you feel that Augmented Reality is going to keep growing and expanding? What technologies do you foresee will threaten that growth?
Karl Hutter: Yeah. I think in a very real way, where some people have a richer and deeper experience set with what we call immersive or 3D… Even just 3D visualizations. I think there is a long runway for what humans have yet to explore and be enabled by when it comes to immersive visual world, let’s put it that way.
I’m not worried about the obsolescence of this… that visual portal, that visual sensor is the most compelling one that our brains have provided for us, our bodies have provided for us. In flight simulation, it’s regarded as far more powerful to have wide field of vision on the… Wide field of view on the visual presentation than it is to actually have five access hydraulic motion, which one’s cheaper?
I’m just going to give you an aside here, I’ve been playing flight simulator since 1981, Microsoft Flight Simulator, CGA on an IBM PC. Joystick was like this, one little button. I’ve had a chance to expose my daughter Marley to Microsoft FS 2020 [chuckle] as running a modern rig as hard as it can, but she’s participating in that through an HTC-Vive headset. She says, “Dad, this is like… ” As she very competently grabs the yoke and flies around central Idaho, she’s like, “This is like being in the real airplane.” And the thing that is crazy is it’s the nuances. When you put on that headset and you go into the VR version of Flight Simulator, which today is increasingly gorgeous and perfect, it’s the things that to a pilot are natural that made the flight simulators of the past just useless. Where is the runway? “Oh, it should be over my left shoulder.” When you put someone in the world that they are either trying to hone or demonstrate their craft within, it all becomes very natural.
We can transport folks from whatever their physical reality is and augment them to a place where “The unseen becomes visible.” I might not be able to go climb around on the airplane. Instead, let’s bring the digital twin of the airplane or the relevant part from my need-to-know basis. I think that that ability to bring the reality to the participant and do that simultaneously all around the world is an incredibly powerful and compelling possibility. And I think what it does is perhaps to the joy of some and the consternation and worry of others is, it really makes the ability to deploy creative problem-solving talent possible from anywhere in the world.
So now, just because I didn’t grow up in Puget Sound or Wichita or Toulouse or a number of limited places, I can participate. And that means that the best minds from Central Africa to the Mongolian step now could participate in these types of creative problem solving. I think that’s a very powerful force, and that probably extends not just to the business of design and problem solving, but to manufacturing as well, so if we can solve some of the challenges of additive manufacturing, repeatably and with quality and the authentication of what was made…
I live in a business where the digital product is as important as the physical product itself. When blockchain, additive manufacturing and collaborative digital design enabled by XR, all meet, now we’re really cooking because now we’re designing, now we’re manufacturing and probably now we’re also maintaining and training again, anywhere in the world.
Click Bond is a solutions company, so we’re very concerned with not just creating a great product with great value and perfect quality, putting it in a box, sending it out, on time of course, and getting it into the customer’s hands. It’s everything that comes before that and after that. So we’re very involved in the applications engineering stage, helping the customer to understand the problem and helping us to understand the problem, coming up with a novel solution, whether it’s from the standard product set or something new, coming up with something that will really address that, and then on the back side, doing all of the necessary training and handholding to ensure success.
We all saw how Apollo 13 was solved: One transmission at a time. One experiment at a time. Playing with bits of surplus and models. Imagine what we can do when we’re on our way to Mars and things are even sportier (and help is further away) if we can truly all jump back into the engineering model together? Astronaut, engineer, mechanic, and really solve those problems. So I think that we’re just seeing the beginning of where tools like this are going to find their way.
Scope AR (interviewer): Do you feel that complexity threatens that? As in, the sort of proliferation where compared to 20 years ago we way did things has now been miniaturized, and the parts are way more specific to their use case, way more unique and optimized to its particular configuration. Does that threaten the sort of ability to acquire creative solutions?
Karl Hutter: You mentioned miniaturization and you mentioned specialization. So with regard to miniaturization, just to see that for a second, the ability of tools to allow more people to get inside the circuit, let’s say of the micro-electronics, to get inside the molecule of pharmaceutical, ride with it inside the human body, these are things that expand the ability of more people, where not just a certain small set or even potentially only a computer to “get their heads around”, and I think that in that axis, again, the power of visualization to make the unseen seen, in this case because it’s so small or maybe it’s so unfathomably large it’s so hard to comprehend, makes us a powerful tool to combat that.
When it comes to really esoteric knowledge, I think that this is even more relevant. The idea that you can step into an environment where you are learning while you do and doing while you learn is amazing. Why burden the human being with memorizing, or being able to interpret, or even taking the time to look up things that don’t require the human spirit to do, okay?
For Augmented Reality .. let’s present whatever is necessary and relevant in a very clean visual language, in a way that basically says, “Don’t go here. Go over there. Trust that. It should look like this. Does it? Yes, it does. Boom, okay, now go focus on the human problem, which is, how are we going to solve this problem, or what’s wrong in a way that really reduces the problem set and then provides you very dynamic knowledge as you go.” I think that it is a wonderful way to continue to harness the best of what makes the human necessary, even in an increasingly esoteric, or complex, or unfathomable scale in the things that we work on. Remember, our intent was to make it easier and more mistake proof to build and maintain aircraft.
Scope AR (Interviewer): Isn’t that the same way that we learn in the first place? We like some interesting thing, and we go and check it out.
Karl Hutter: Yeah, you play with it. And maybe it burns you, or it shocks you, or maybe it tastes good. Right? [chuckle] But those are deep-rooted human instincts. And the ability to reengage, or deepen people’s engagement in lifetime learning, lifelong learning is really key. And I really have a vision that isn’t necessarily specifically tied to AR, but certainly includes it. And it’s come up, particularly in the last year here at Click Bond, where we’ve recognized that there are folks who have abundant access to digital information, and there are folks who live in this information desert. And it tends to be the folks on our shop floor. They don’t sit at a workstation that tends to have a computer right now, there’s a lot of conveying information verbally, there is not the access to the dialogue that’s going on. Most folks there don’t have email accounts in that setting. And I don’t think the answer is email accounts.
What’s exciting is if you envision a portal for every Click Bond-er, and what can I get through that interface, through that screen, what will I see through the glasses? And being able to provide all the information, teach people how to interpret it, certainly, decide and understand what’s useful, but then let them go make decisions based on that information, and have access to all that they might want, and let their curiosity drive the investigation, I think, will be incredibly powerful. We’re looking forward to starting to pilot some of that, even here in the next year. And that ties together everything from work instructions in digital and immersive formats, to IoT concepts and being able to look across that floor and see which machine needs help and which one’s doing just fine, and so much more.
Scope AR (Interviewer): Yeah, well, I can tell you that as your partner (Scope AR), we’re super thrilled to see what you do. What has the partnership experience has been like for you?
Karl Hutter: Well, I have been excited about the possibilities of bringing together a lifelong interest in immersive worlds and simulation with what we actually do here at Click Bond. And it is just amazing to be at a point in my career and in our journey where the needs of our industry, the use case, if you will, overlap and intersect with the availability of the right technology, and more important than either of those two, the right partner. And Scope AR has been an amazing partner in the short time of just a year that we’ve been working together in terms of diving right in with matching that enthusiasm, that capability, and I will really say that agility. It was hard to understand where to go first, and I found myself kind of poking around and searching and following a couple of paths. I will say that there are other players out there who we spoke with, and it was hard.
Scope AR (Interviewer): Why?
Karl Hutter: There wasn’t an excitement about jumping in and getting shoulder to shoulder and playing, all right? And experimenting and together discovering the value prop, discovering the killer app. Because we didn’t know where it was, or if it was… we just needed to get going. And I think that’s what you guys at Scope AR have done so well, [You’ve] joined us in the journey, had faith in the investment and working with us, and we just together have gotten after it. And I think that even in that short time we have engaged with common customers, I think inspired some excitement there, and I really think it’s just the tip of the iceberg in terms of where we can take this. But the importance of having somebody who has the knowledge, has the experience, but is willing to play at the level of agility and let’s see what happens next-ed-ness’ that we do, that’s not for everybody, and it’s better to be with somebody who you really see things eye to eye with.
Scope AR (Interviewer): Thank you so much. We really appreciate that.
Read the original article by Jennifer Langston here.
When workers for Lockheed Martin began assembling the crew seats for a spacecraft designed to return astronauts to the moon and pave the way for human exploration to Mars, they had no need for paper instructions or tablet screens to work from.
Everything they needed to see — from animations of how pieces fit together to engineering drawings to torque values for tightening bolts — was visible in HoloLens 2 devices that they wore.
The mixed reality headsets left their hands free to manipulate hardware. Voice commands guided them through every step, with holographic instructions overlaid on the relevant parts of the four seats that will be installed inside the crew module of the Orion spacecraft, which Lockheed Martin is building to support NASA’s Artemis program to carry humans to the moon and beyond.
“They didn’t have to refer back to a computer screen or paper drawings during that entire activity,” said Shelley Peterson, Lockheed Martin principal investigator for augmented and mixed reality. “Out on the shop floor they can put on the HoloLens 2 device, power it up, and it has all the content that they need to figure out how to do that task overlaid right there on the structure.”
Building a spacecraft requires millions of tasks, each with zero room for error, from attaching electrical cables in the correct pathways to lubricating joints and precisely locating thousands of tiny devices that measure how the craft performs under stress.
Lockheed Martin, the prime contractor building Orion, has employed HoloLens 2 on a variety of assembly tasks for the spacecraft that will be used in NASA’s Artemis II mission, the first to carry a crew of astronauts aboard Orion.
For some jobs that require lots of precise measuring by hand — such as marking locations for hundreds of fasteners on Orion’s spacecraft adapter jettison fairings — technicians using holographic instructions have finished those repetitive tasks 90 percent faster. The mixed reality headsets have also all but eliminated assembly mistakes, Peterson said. Lockheed Martin has experienced zero errors or rework requests on tasks in which workers were assisted by HoloLens headsets, which the company first deployed at the end of 2017, she said.
“The fact that we haven’t had any errors across all of these activities is phenomenal,” said Peterson, who oversees the company’s mixed reality initiatives.
“Usually when we’re considering new technologies we’re asking if there’s improved quality, if it’s faster or if it’s less expensive, and most people say you can only get two out of the three because there are always tradeoffs. What we’re finding with the HoloLens 2 is that we can hit all three, which is pretty unique,” Peterson said.
At its Ignite conference on Sept. 22, Microsoft announced it is expanding the global availability of HoloLens 2, which is now available for purchase in Italy, Netherlands, Switzerland, Spain, Austria, Sweden, Finland, Norway, Denmark, Belgium, Portugal, Poland, Singapore, Hong Kong and Taiwan.
“We are super inspired to see what people are doing in the wild with HoloLens, and we are very excited that we have enough supply worldwide to bring it to this next set of regions,” said Microsoft Technical Fellow Alex Kipman.
The company also announced the private preview of a new mixed reality service called Azure Object Anchors. It allows HoloLens devices to recognize an object in the real world and map relevant instructions or visuals onto it without requiring any expert knowledge or barcodes to line those things up.
If an automaker wants to help a car owner do a simple repair job at their house using mixed reality, for instance, it’s more helpful for the owner to put on a headset and see an arrow pointing right to the oil pan gasket that needs to be removed, rather than asking a novice car mechanic to locate the gasket among all the other engine parts and then start following instructions, Kipman said.
“It’s a very hard computer vision problem, but the ability to recognize an object in the real world and then graft and map holograms onto it adds a tremendous amount of value,” he said.
Since HoloLens 2 began shipping to customers last November, Microsoft has continued to see demand for the device and Azure mixed reality services, Kipman said, especially in a time when remote collaboration is essential to help limit the spread of COVID-19.
Microsoft Dynamics 365 Remote Assist, for instance, allows people in two different physical locations to collaborate and solve problems in a shared mixed reality environment. If a firstline worker assembling a spacecraft, airplane or truck finds an obstruction where the next piece of hardware needs be installed, an engineer in another room or city can see through the worker’s HoloLens 2 exactly what the problem is and offer advice on how to adjust.
Health care providers treating COVID-19 patients at the Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust in England are using HoloLens 2, Remote Assist and Microsoft Teams to minimize potential exposure to the virus. One doctor wearing a mixed reality headset can treat the patient in person, while the device sends a secure live video feed to a computer screen in a neighboring room. That allows other members of the healthcare team to see everything that doctor sees while remaining at a safe distance.
“In some industries, we’ve seen companies become willing to take the leap much faster,” Kipman said. “In a socially distanced time where travel can be risky, it’s much easier to just teleport there and see things through the eyes of the operators. Before that sounded kind of cool, like something out of a science fiction novel, but now it’s really a necessity.”1 of 5Lockheed Martin technicians at the NASA Michoud Assembly Facility use HoloLens 2 to assemble Orion’s crew seats for the Artemis II mission. This image, captured with a HoloLens 2 headset, shows the holographic instructions overlaid on the crew seats. Image courtesy of Lockheed Martin.2 of 5Shelley Peterson, Lockheed Martin principal investigator for augmented and mixed reality. Photo by Rachel Woolf Photography.3 of 5HoloLens 2 devices assisted technicians during the manufacturing process for the Artemis II heat shield. One of the most critical elements of Orion, it protects the capsule and crew during reentry through Earth’s atmosphere. Image courtesy of NASA.4 of 5Eric Nolan, a technician working at the Kennedy Space Center, wears a HoloLens 2 as he works on the heat shield for the crew module for NASA’s Artemis II mission. Image courtesy of NASA.5 of 5The Orion spacecraft is being designed to take the first woman and the next man to the moon by 2023, and to prepare the way for human missions to Mars. Image courtesy of NASA.
Lockheed Martin officials said the ability to collaborate remotely using HoloLens 2 has helped employees maintain social distance during the pandemic. It helps workers avoid passing paper or tablets back and forth, and it also allows people to problem solve without having to get on a plane or look over someone’s shoulder.
“Travel is really difficult right now, and if we can avoid just one troubleshooting trip, that HoloLens is worth it,” said Colin Sipe, an Orion and Human Landing Systems senior manager for Lockheed Martin.
The company also began seeing significant time and cost savings when technicians no longer had to break from their tasks to look at manuals or type on a computer screen, which may require crawling through tight spaces or taking off clean room gear. For a critical job like assembling the heat shield that keeps astronauts safe as they re-enter Earth’s atmosphere, written instructions are so complex that they can add up to 30 pounds’ worth of paperwork, Sipe said.
“Typically, it turns out that about half of their time is spent reviewing drawings, reviewing steps and entering data into the computer, and only about half of their time is spent turning wrenches and putting parts together,” he said. “With HoloLens, we’ve been able to reduce the amount of time that they spend dealing with or processing that data overhead by about 90 percent.”
For instance, as part of critical verification processes, technicians often have to put down their tools and walk back to a computer workstation and type in information about the step they’ve just completed. With the HoloLens 2, they can use a simple voice command to have the headset take a picture or record a video — which can be used for validation, quality assurance or training purposes — without having to break their flow.
The people who build the spacecraft also enjoy using the HoloLens 2, which allows them to focus on the work they really like to do, Sipe said. Some have even delayed retirements to spend more time working on Orion.
“They don’t particularly like digging through technical documents to find out what kind of primer to put on this particular part. They like to build stuff and work with their hands, and with the HoloLens 2 they’re able to spend almost all day doing just that,” he said. “They really feel like they’re working on a spacecraft of the future.”
Top image: Technicians used HoloLens 2 devices to assemble the crew module seats, similar to these seats in a mockup of the Orion spacecraft, for the first Orion mission to carry astronauts into space. Image courtesy of NASA.
Originally published by Tyler Gallagher on Thrive Globalhere.
There is power in diversity. In the space industry, we are often faced with unique challenges to solve. Having diverse approaches and diverse skills and abilities continually proves to enable more rapid solutions for these challenges. Diversity enables a broader range of creative solutions… just what we need when trying to solve new challenges.
I had the pleasure of interviewing Shelley Peterson, Lockheed Martin.
Shelley Peterson has supported Lockheed Martin pursuits, diving into the rapidly evolving augmented reality and wearables market to integrate emerging technologies into solutions for Lockheed Martin Space applications.
Early in her professional career, Shelley founded a business focused on emerging technology solutions, including military aircraft distributed mission training and multi-spectral imaging monoculars.
Thank you so much for doing this with us! Before we dig in, our readers would like to get to know you. Can you tell us a bit about how you grew up?
Sure! I grew up in a small town of about 800 people in west Texas. At that time, our judge was also the barber. It was a great experience… like one big family. My mother was an English teacher and librarian, and my father was the county commissioner. They both encouraged me to pursue my interests, which included math, music, and sports. I had a love for aircraft, and anything related to airplanes. My older brother loved to assemble models, so of course, I had to do that too. The first model I built was an SR-71 Blackbird, and the more I learned about it, the more curious I became in aerospace.
Is there a particular life lesson that made a significant impact on you? Can you share a story or explain why it resonated with you so much?
One of the lessons I have used throughout my career is one that a mentor in college passed along. If we think of a “bullseye” target with rings, and we place “Self” in the center circle, and then “Team”, in next circle out, and fill each expanding circle with “Project”, “Program”, “Company”, “Customer”, etc., it provides a map for decisions and strategic discussions. Quite often if we disagree with colleagues on a topic, it is highly likely that we are both “right”. We are just focused on a different level within this decision map.
For example, a colleague might be focused on a solution that is best for the “Team”, while we are focused on what works best for the “Program”. If we can view through this lens and understand what’s driving the interests, we can often get on the same page with a solution that fits well and accomplishes the objectives. I have used this lesson on almost a weekly basis throughout my 23-year professional career and have been able to navigate challenging situations much more effectively with positive outcomes. I love passing it along to others who may find it useful.
Is there a particular story that inspired you to pursue a career in the space industry? We’d love to hear it.
My Uncle Cecil was an Air Force Pilot. He and three of his brothers served during WWII and would tell stories of piloting bomber and tanker aircraft. I was amazed by his stories and studied the history of flight. Of course, studying the timeline for flight led to spacecraft, and by high school I dreamed of being involved in space pursuits.
Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you began this fascinating career?
In 2018, my team traveled to Kennedy Space Center to support with augmented reality shop aids for a manufacturing activity. We crawled inside the Orion spacecraft to assist with the effort, which took about six hours to complete. It was just an absolutely amazing feeling to have the opportunity to be inside a spacecraft design that astronauts will soon be in, but from space. That was a career highlight!
Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?
Oh my. It was a busy day for my leadership team on my first day of work at my first job out of college. They handed me a printed list of Unix commands and asked me to experiment with them and figure out what they do. I was making my way through the list of commands, successfully figuring out the result of the commands. Halfway down the list was a variation of an “rm *” command. I typed it. Then some interesting things started scrolling by… I had deleted the entire library of data! It took about a day for the experts to recover the library and the team’s work for that day had been lost. It was quite embarrassing… (and led to nicknames).
None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story about that?
There are SO many who have helped to shape my career along the way, it is difficult to triangulate on just one. Early in my career I had the opportunity to work with a fantastic manager who taught me to look at our work efforts on multiple levels and from various perspectives. This has been very useful throughout my career, and I appreciate the patience, the insight, and the willing to carve time out of a very busy schedule to work with a young engineer.
Are you working on any exciting new projects now? How do you think that will help people?
I lead our OptimEyez Team, which builds augmented reality capabilities to help our teams at Lockheed Martin build spacecraft. We are finding that we can reduce the time it takes for some activities by 90% ! There are thousands of fasteners and sensors on a spacecraft. When a technician puts on augmented reality glasses, like the Microsoft Hololens, and views the work instructions in augmented and mixed reality (created using Scope AR’s WorkLink platform), they can complete an 8-shift activity in 6 hours. They have completed an 8-hour activity in 45 minutes. We have repeated this at multiple sites on numerous programs since 2017. It’s exciting to see, and fun to be a part of!
Can you imagine traveling to deep space? What an incredible experience that must be! It will offer new opportunities to explore and learn on so many levels. It is pursuit for true pioneers!
I’m also excited about advances in manufacturing. What happens when we can complete a 10-hour task in one hour? We are using augmented reality to provide a higher quality product in a shorter time at lower cost. (The rumor is that you can only accomplish two out of three of “better/faster/cheaper”. We are breaking the rules and accomplishing all three.)
And to see a woman travel to the moon…. That’s exciting!
Are you currently satisfied with the status quo regarding women in STEM? What specific changes do you think are needed to change the status quo?
There are always areas for improvement, and we all need to do our part in making STEM accessible to all and promoting STEM concepts to all. It takes a village… or at least it works much more effectively when we have that village.
What are the “myths” that you would like to dispel about being a woman in STEM or Tech, or the space industry. Can you explain what you mean?
There are enormous opportunities for women in the space industry! For example, at Lockheed Martin it has been such a pleasure to work for our CEO, Marillyn Hewson, who just retired last month. I think all of the employees at Lockheed Martin Space are empowered to pursue their career goals and to play important roles in our space pursuits.
What are your “5 Leadership Lessons I Learned From My Experience as a Woman in STEM or Tech” and why. (Please share a story or example for each.)
There is power in diversity. In the space industry, we are often faced with unique challenges to solve. Having diverse approaches and diverse skills and abilities continually proves to enable more rapid solutions for these challenges. Diversity enables a broader range of creative solutions… just what we need when trying to solve new challenges.
You are a person of enormous influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂
I also serve on the Barbara Bush Foundation’s Technology Advisory Council, and I think that improvements in literacy could have a significant impact broadly. What if we could diagnose barriers to literacy and education (like dyslexia, ADHD, etc) at an earlier age? What if we could use eye tracking from today’s augmented and virtual reality devices to make that testing more accessible and lower cost to administer? What if we had better tools to gauge literacy levels, as well as improvements in literacy? Today’s literacy tests are fairly similar to those we have used for decades. You read a paragraph and answer some questions. What if we could use eye tracking in head mounted displays to more accurately assess literacy and comprehension? And what if we could use that same technology to assess improvements? We could optimize literacy instruction, and could reach more effective solutions on an accelerated timeline.
We are very blessed that very prominent leaders read this column. Is there a person in the world, or in the US with whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch with, and why? He or she might just see this if we tag them 🙂
Peggy Whitson! And it would also be just absolutely amazing to have a chat with Buzz Aldrin! I’m a fan. Buzz rocks!
Automated Reality Glasses Reduces Time for Complex Engineering Tasks by a Factor of 12
When it comes to a mission to space, any technology that can significantly reduce the time it takes to perform complex tasks is highly prized. Augmented reality glasses have proven to be indispensable for difficult and complex projects on key NASA missions. And the content for these glasses is created exclusively by ScopeAR. Linda Harridge’s article for NASA provides all the details in regards to how this works and how AR fits into building space-ready ships.
One of NASA’s contractor’s, Lockheed Martin, is leveraging augmented technology glasses to enhance its engineering teams’ ability to create a spacecraft for the Artemis II program, which will be sending astronauts to Orion. One of the technicians who works with Lockeed Martin wears augmented reality glasses in order to help other engineers understand where to install key parts of the spacecraft. These glasses are extremely adept at helping shed light on the complex task of assembling difficult hardware. In legacy processes, engineers would have to figure out what to do from simply reading books or looking at video screens — but with augmented reality glasses, the instructions appear as actual, fully dimensional images sprayed across the surface where the work actually needs to be done. It’s like a living guide to assembling the spacecraft!
The time savings is immeasurable. Previously, it took at least a week to assemble the complex software using the old style of instructions; with the augmented reality glasses, the same work can be done in roughly 10% of the time. Engineers use the glasses to see precisely where to put objects on the spacecraft, at what angle, and what reference number to use with them, which makes for an extremely fluid and speedy process. Nor is the use of the goggles expected to go away anytime soon. Rather, Lockeed Martin has been using augmented reality glasses for several years already, and they are looking to continue heavy usage in order to ensure that spacecrafts are ready for their voyage. Another example cited is the use of click bonds, which help secure the wiring harnesses to the spacecraft; such harnesses can be miles in length. Augmented reality glasses helped the crew locate the click bonds in record time, saving weeks of time. Goggles will also be used to put several important modules on the spacecraft, as well as to put together the actual seats for the crew.
Augmented Reality Glasses Enable Nasa Moon Missions
The bottom line is that the augmented reality glasses allow engineers to completely grasp the nature of the task that needs to be performed, and they don’t have to guess at what needs to be done. Lockheed builds the content for the glasses using ScopeAR’s WorkLink, an augmented reality software program. It gives NASA’s engineers the confidence to complete complex tasks quickly, and will even enable them to land the first woman on the moon shortly!
Lockheed Martin has leveraged augmented reality in manufacturing to reduce touch labor for the Orion spacecraft.
George Leopold, writing for EE Times, follows up his earlier reporting in regards to how Lockeed Martin is embracing augmented reality in manufacturing. Specifically, he explains how Scope AR’s content and the Microsoft HoloLens platform are working in tandem to drive major efficiencies in how engineers are preparing spacecrafts for critical missions.
In essence, Lockheed Martin is able to dramatically improve its manufacturing efforts through augmented reality by using ScopeAR’s virtual training manuals to assist in the creation of key spacecraft modules. For example, engineers are able to very quickly build modules such as fasteners, heat shields, and specialized meters. This has reduced the amount of labor required by engineers by more than a factor of 8!
In addition, the ability to put together and communicate information regarding workflow has been dramatically increased as a result of augmented reality in manufacturing. For example, the VR glasses can help a technician understand exactly where to fix a particular ship module, without having to interpret arcane and hard-to-read 2D and printed instructions. Rather, the correct location appears in the glasses — impossible to get wrong!
Lockheed Martin isn’t alone in its adoption of augmented reality in manufacturing. Other enterprises in the same ecosystem have recognized the potential benefits and ROI of streamlining tasks and enhancing training through the content provided by ScopeAR’s Worklink product. In fact, the scope of initiatives covered by AR continue to increase – PriceWaterhouseCooper reported that design and development may be the most popular use case, but it’s followed closely behind by workforce development, safety, and the operation of machinery. On some level, augmented reality in manufacturing can be seen as an extension of manufacturing strategy — sharing space in the same arsenal of tools such as robots and IoT, as well as three-dimensional printing.
Augmented Reality in Manufacturing and NASA is a Perfect Fit
The article concludes by unveiling some truly astounding stats with respect to what augmented reality in manufacturing has been able to produce for Lockheed Martin. There has been a fifty percent cut in the time needed to finish critical functions. A spokesperson for the enterprise says that important activities are able to be finished in half the time — and it’s all because AR, and the kind of content provided by ScopeAR, is not just science fiction; it’s being used by real people, and real companies, to drive critical business results and operations in the modern era.
The Aerospace industry sits on the cutting edge of technology. The components and products developed in this industry must withstand great temperatures, pressures, and forces, all while ensuring the safety of the eventual cargo, especially human passengers. Aerospace manufacturing, therefore, demands extremely accurate build and assembly processes, resulting in equally extreme manufacturing costs and complexity performed by highly trained technicians.
It’s that combination of high complexity, high cost, and need for accuracy that’s brought Augmented Reality technology and applications into the Aerospace industry. Augmented Reality in Aerospace is helping manufacturing teams work smarter, transfer training knowledge faster and more effectively, and increase the speed and accuracy of Aerospace manufacturing. These Augmented Reality solutions are driving time and cost savings that reach into the 90% range — and higher!
For example, Lockheed Martin is using our Augmented Reality in Aerospace vehicles, which can contain thousands of miles of electrical and communication wiring. This then requires hundreds or thousands of fasteners and clips, all with precise attachment points. The process for simply marking the location of these attachment points can take weeks, not to mention the prerequisite training.
We have reduced an eight hour activity to 45 min. An eight shift activity was completed in 6 hours. And with multiple shop floor activities since 2017, would you believe that not a single error has occurred while AR has been in use!?
Shelley Peterson, Lockheed Martin Space
Lockheed Martin is using our Augmented Reality technology to enable both faster and more accurate location of the attachment points. The result? A process that originally required 8 shifts and 2 technicians was reduced, using AR, to just 2.5 hours and a single technician. That’s a touch labor savings of 93%.
Augmented Reality in Aerospace is also reducing the training time for technicians. In a specific drilling application, Augmented Reality lessened ramp-up times by 85%. In another application, our Augmented Reality platform is enabling Aerospace technicians to determine if wiring harnesses are positioned correctly, even after the engine is installed on the aircraft wing. Our Augmented Reality software is also helping speed knowledge transfer and reduce work interruptions by putting contextual information in the technician’s field of view. In an actual scenario, the time to complete an Aerospace torque application process was reduced from 6 weeks to 2 weeks for an ultimate touch labor savings of 50%.
Augmented Reality in Aerospace is helping speed manufacturing processes, even in highly complex applications that used to require extensive ramp-up times. By placing the required information on work surfaces or overlayed on components, technicians can be more efficient and more accurate even with less training. This increased accuracy of Augmented Reality applications then reduces risk, increases safety, and lowers the overall cost of production.
The complexity inherent in Aerospace manufacturing is ideally suited for Augmented Reality solutions, and Scope AR is ideally suited for your Aerospace applications.