FINN talks to Holovis about the role of virtual and mixed reality in aerospace and defence training.

Holovis is an experiential design company specialising in the creation of immersive and mixed-reality solutions. It was named as one of the London Stock Exchange’s 1,000 companies to inspire Britain.

Holovis works in the entertainment space – comprising motion-based attractions, media and real-time gaming applications, and gamification technology for theme parks and other tourism experiences – as well as developing enterprise solutions, including for the aerospace and defence industry.

Andy Biller, Systems Architect, Holovis, said: “Technologies we develop in the entertainment space, we can bring to enterprise, and technologies we develop in the enterprise space, we can take back into entertainment. It’s a really good cross-fertilisation.”

Training CAVE

For example, virtual reality plays a key role in BAE Systems’ Aerospace Academy to provide training for apprentices and graduates, as well as further education and development for long-term employees.

Holovis provides a training ‘cave’. The BAE CAVE is a four-sided structure where all walls feature volumetric projection and the user wears a head-tracked device to immerse them into the world, with it moving to their true perspective. This allows groups to all share the same virtual space and examine specific details, without the constrictions of a headset.

Training in the CAVE includes everything from wiring an aircraft to the design of major infrastructure. Users feel like they are truly in the simulated space and interact with the parts and machinery in a real-time, 1:1 scale world.

Get ahead

Biller explained: “Virtual reality training can take you to places that you wouldn’t be able to go otherwise, and you can basically get ahead.

“For example, you can train on a virtual representation of an aircraft before the actual aircraft is even in production.  One of the big advantages of that, as well as the cost-saving, is that you can have your staff trained and ready to go the moment that the aircraft hits the runways.”

He added that another increasingly common use of virtual reality in aerospace and defence is for companies to check against CAD plans whether they built what they set out to.

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