More Than an Assistant

30 November 2023

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NARA may support varied maintenance training tasks such learning the intricacies of a soldering machine (one above). | Source/credit: Halldale Group/Marty Kauchak   

It’s Day 3 at 2023 I/ITSEC. Some S&T community trends at this year’s event are crystal clear. Two on the author’s short list include the expanding presence of AR/MR/VR/XR in military enterprises and the fast-paced “cross pollination” of materiel offered to high-risk training enterprises in and beyond defense.

In one stretch of free time the author had to simply browse the exhibition floor, Nakamir AR Assistant (NARA) was sighted at a booth and attracted interest for a look and demonstration.

Dr. Christoph Leuze, CEO, noted the product learns from expert interactions to guide users through complicated procedures. In essence, the Menlo Park, California-based company innovatively creates a 3-D AR recording of a subject matter expert and the environment, allowing creation of maintenance instruction as easy as taking a video – mirroring one representative scenario viewed at the company booth.

NARA is in use at an automotive parts manufacturer to help instruct the workforce to use machines. The learning assistant “is not a replacement for the real instructor who provides the best way to learn,” the CEO then said. And in an effort to respond to the author’s query about ROIs gained from this use case, he pointed out learners may not remember all the details from a notional, representative instructional session of say 30 minutes. “For a procedure, you may have to explain several times before ‘they get it.’ With this technology you really have to explain the procedures just once. The assistant can explain further, or again, how to do the steps. The workers themselves can concentrate on their own task and the productivity may increase by about five-fold.”

Dr. Christoph Leuze, CEO, Nakamir  |Source/credit: Halldale Group/Marty Kauchak

Other ongoing NARA use cases include one with Defense Health Agency, with other possible customers residing in the wider defense enterprise, commercial aviation and elsewhere.

A very basic question some readers may have: why use AR, and not VR or another application to create this assistant. “I’m not sure this is an either-or question. VR is the first stage, when you are in the virtual world you cannot break anything and you can play with your objects without any danger. Once we go to the real world and we want to interact with real-world engagement, then AR place the important role,” he replied and concluded, “Now we suddenly have our instructors telling us this is how you interact with the real world. This is where we come in. There’s a lot of synergy. It’s not an either-or.”

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