Satcom Technicians to Use Augmented Reality at Sea


By The Maritime Executive 10-09-2017 05:53:48

Technology company Cobham SATCOM is working with Osterhout Design Group (ODG) and custom software house Kanda to build an augmented reality wearable solution for maritime service technicians. 

With augmented reality already established as an efficiency-enhancing tool for business and industrial applications, the project is a proof of concept that will show its potential to support professionals installing and servicing equipment on ships.

ODG’s R-7 smartglasses have been given to installation technicians in the field who are tasked with in-situ conversions of Sailor VSAT antennas from Ku to Ka-band. The smartglasses provide step-by-step guidance to their wearer, making paper manuals obsolete and greatly speeding up and simplifying the process.

The technician wearing the glasses receive all the information required in their line of sight; ensuring that strict quality and technical guidelines are followed. By making sure the antennas are installed correctly during the conversion process, the satellite service provider and the end-user can be sure that the antenna will perform more reliably so that the vessel gets the best connection to the satellites and therefore the most reliable broadband and voice services, says Cobham SATCOM.

ODG smartglasses have been used by specialized customers since 2011, and ODG has seen rapidly growing demand from a broad base of industries, including those involving hazardous working conditions. The smartglasses are fully self-contained, computerized glasses with photo-realistic, transparent, 3D displays. All ODG models are fully integrated, small, light and sleek. They feature on board GPS/IMU-based navigation, giving users the ability to experience telepresence, tele-maintenance and telerepair everywhere, including ships navigating the oceans.

While durable hardware is obviously essential for smartglasses to become a success in the maritime world, the software is equally important. Developing the software required a flexible collaboration between the external partners and Cobham SATCOM’s own engineers. 

Casper Jensen, Senior Vice President, Cobham SATCOM, said: “Augmented reality has the potential to revolutionize a multitude of industrial and business applications, and we are confident that together with Creuna, ODG, and Kanda, we will enable satcom technicians to work smarter, faster and more accurately in the field.” 

Cobham SATCOM also released a 3D catalog app this September which enables its products to be viewed in augmented reality on Apple and Android devices.