National Nuclear Security Administration

Augmented Reality is all science – no fiction

August 19, 2016

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On a recent visit to the Kansas City National Security Campus, NNSA Administrator Gen. Frank Klotz (Ret.), left, tried out the Augmented Reality system. David McMindes, KCNSC's chief technology officer, explained how they work.

Imagine working on a car while wearing a pair of glasses that shows you how to replace your oil and even notifies you if something is placed incorrectly. Today’s technological advances are generating opportunities in manufacturing like never before. Information is presented immediately, right in front of a user’s eyes, to perform almost any task, prevent errors, and improve efficiency.

Engineers at the Kansas City National Security Campus (KCNSC) are applying this Augmented Reality (AR) technology. It’s taking Virtual Reality a step further to incorporate computer data and overlay helpful information directly into a user’s field of view. Applications include work instructions, remote collaboration and real-time data. AR will benefit the KCNSC in numerous ways with its ability to convey information unlike any other means currently in use at the facility.

“Our ultimate goal is to simplify the operator's task of reading work instructions on computer screens or on paper,” said David McMindes, KCNSC’s chief technology officer. “We can do this by using smart technology like tablets and immersion goggles and interactive visual aids to provide real time feedback to an operator.”

With the combination of software and hardware, AR will create a more efficient, hands-free work environment while reducing lengthy training and dependency on historical knowledge. AR has the potential to drive productivity and reduce mistakes by finding new ways to deliver information and validate actions while completing manual tasks.