The aerospace arm of Singapore-based ST Engineering plans to begin trials of the Fountx_AsR wearable assisted technology developed by Australian firm TAE and the CSIRO.
Fountx_AsR comprised a headset that includes a camera, microphone and eye-level display screen powered by a computer inside a backpack. The technology allows a qualified expert to remotely monitor and instruct someone through engineering or maintenance tasks from hundreds, if not thousands, of kilometres away.
The Fountx_AsR technology was recognised with a civil industry national innovation award at the 2017 Avalon Airshow.
ST Aerospace chief operating officer Jeffrey Lam said trials of the Fountx_AsR were part of the company’s efforts to improve its operations.
“As part of our continuous commitment to deliver MRO services with high standards in quality and safety, ST Aerospace been investing in Smart MRO initiatives, including digitising our hangar and shop floor operations,” Lam said in a statement.
“We are happy to work together with technology companies such as Fountx to explore how to enhance our operations with digital solutions.”
ST Aerospace, which has about 9,000 staff around the world, conducts maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO) work for customers that include airlines, air freight operators and in the military, and is one of the first companies to look at introducing Fountx_AsR into their operations.
While the initial use of Fountx_AsR is primarily in aerospace and defence, Fountx general manager Laurence Beraldo says there was also a lot of potential applications across a number of industries such as oil and gas, mining and health.
“Technical teams can access the guidance they need by glancing up to an above-eye display, and they can still clearly see what is right in front of them,” Beraldo said in a statement. “It doesn’t affect their spatial awareness or increase cognitive load, which is a big advantage over virtual or augmented reality technology.
“The time and cost-saving potential of this technology was evident from the start, and we’ve now developed Fountx_AsR to the point where we believe that it is the best system of its kind in the world,” Beraldo added.
TAE chief executive Andrew Sanderson told ADBR stablemate publication Australian Aviation at the Avalon Airshow in February 2017 that the technology would allow engineers to turn a two-day exercise into a one-hour job.
“As people aren’t being trained or they are leaving the aviation industry, you will have less and less certified people,” Sanderson said. “So what this will allow us to do is bring a lot of our knowledge that is sort of locked up at times inside our own facilities and actually have it readily available for people to use or access out in the operational space.
“This way you have a way of projecting one person’s expertise further, like a multiplier.”