Army Revolutionizes Generator Repairs with Mixed Reality

Army Revolutionizes Generator Repairs with Mixed Reality

The U.S. Army recently shared news about their use of Microsoft’s Mixed Reality headset the HoloLens for generator repairs. The Army’s Command, Control, Communications, Computers, Cyber, Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance Center demonstrated how “mixed-reality technology could revolutionize generator maintenance and training.”

During this demonstration electronics engineers with the Center’s Engineering and Systems Integration Directorate walkthrough how the HoloLens’ Mixed Reality capabilities can help transform the way soldiers conduct preventive maintenance, diagnosis, trouble shooting, and repairs on the Advanced Medium Mobile Power Sources, or AMMPS, a generator fielded extensively across the Army and Marine Corps. The C5ISR Center is an element of the Combat Capabilities Development Command.

To transform how generators are repaired, the army utilized Dynamics 365 Guides along with the HoloLens to turn traditional training and user’s manuals to life. When users don the headset, they are walked through step by step how to conduct inspections for preventive maintenance or how to diagnosis, trouble shooting, and repair the generator. Users are aided with images, videos, and digital twins that provide an x-ray like view to help show where different parts go. The C5ISR Center engineers also utilized machine-learning algorithms developed in the past year to improve diagnostic accuracy and reduce troubleshooting times.

Staff Sgt. Jennifer Woolums, a tactical power generation specialist with 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 3rd Infantry Division, participated in the demonstration. She had this to say about the experience. “Putting on that headset brings me to the right troubleshooting procedures, right away. It gives Soldiers so many resources in one headset that we never had before.” She also pointed out that “It’s going to be easier for a Soldier to troubleshoot, find the initial problem, get the part ordered, and get the piece of equipment up and running in a timely manner. It’ll save hours of time. Being able to maximize a Soldier’s time is the most important thing.”

Thanks to the machine-learning algorithms developed the normal use case with HoloLens and Guides incorporates powerful Ai like technology to “predict with a high degree of certainty the most likely problem and guides users to the appropriate troubleshooting steps.” The predictions are based off large amount of maintenance data collected that is analyzed by the engineering team. As the machine makes recommendations, the Guide(step by step training course) is updated and live for users in a matter of seconds. This is far more efficient and effective compared to traditional methods where paper manuals must be printed and sent to each user.

Last but not least a fully digital twin course was created for users to be able to go through the trainings, inspection, and trouble shooting when they do not have access to the generator. The training can now be done at anytime from anywhere.