Hardly any job description has changed as quickly in recent decades as that of technical specialists: In the 1980s, the introduction of factory automation triggered completely new disciplines, which necessitated new job profiles. Today, with the shift toward the smart factory with ever-increasing complexity of new types of automation solutions, similar challenges lie ahead, so that teaching content is becoming increasingly complex. Well-trained specialists are the basis for securing prosperity in Germany as a business location. Modern AR and VR technology interacting with humans can help to adapt the required training to the rapid changes in production processes, machines and operating concepts as one of the central tasks of the future.
Existing training courses (in-house training courses as well as in basic and advanced training) have serious didactic-methodological disadvantages, especially with regard to the interaction of people (plant operators) and the existing plant training courses (Fig. 2):
- Insufficient interactive interaction with the learning object: If the plant is already in operation, (new) employees cannot be trained directly on it. However, this prevents important interactive learning opportunities, such as "learning by doing".
- Limited interaction: Certain training scenarios, e.g. emergency situations, cannot be carried out on the real plant as part of a training course.
- Insufficient support for interactive learning processes: Real production facilities have a high potential for injury. Important opportunities for interactive learning, such as viewing the interior or production in slow motion, as well as the independent analysis and correction of error patterns, are thus not made possible.
- Insufficient opportunities for individual interaction: existing machines and equipment can only be used directly by one trainee at a time in combination with an instructor. However, classes typically comprise 15-25 people, so individual training is not economically feasible.
The goal of the project is a novel hybrid interaction concept for the training of technical specialists by means of a "Mixed Reality in the Loop" simulation (MRiLS). For this purpose, the end-to-end simulation model shown in Fig.1 is being researched, which automatically creates customer-specific Mixed Reality in the Loop simulation models, including individual training documents and scenarios, from simulation models of virtual commissioning already existing in engineering. Through the combination of real hardware and virtual simulation model as well as the realistic, virtual "response" of the object by means of MR, dynamic processes can be better communicated. By means of visual and spatial representations, as well as supplementary teaching content (e.g. audio comments, explanations, "X-ray view" into the interior, etc.), different interactive learning processes are supported.
Project webseite: https://mrils.de/