Washington Patent of the Month – November 2020

Training is very important in any job, for instance, writing, cooking, and especially piloting aircrafts. Pilots fly multimillion dollar aircrafts and are responsible for the health and safety of 400+ people, depending on the type of plane. So, it’s very important they are accurately trained before they jet off into the skies. Simulators and GPS devices, alongside 2D images and videos, are often used in training; but 2D images lack the perspective of looking out an aircraft window, where pilots can visually locate airports or landmarks. In recent years, virtual reality (VR) has been used. However, sometimes the graphics aren’t accurate, so pilots struggle to translate this training to the real world. Seattle Avionics, Inc. has developed an augmented reality (AR) device, which combines real images and videos with VR to create a more realistic simulation, for use in training.

Seattle Avionics’ AR system uses inexpensive equipment, such as smartphones and tablets, which haven’t yet been used for aviation. The devices are not in a fixed position in AR glasses, but instead are secured along the axes of pitch (i.e. up and down), yaw (i.e. turning left and right), and roll (i.e. rolling clockwise or anticlockwise). While these terms may not mean much to you and I, the axes are commonly used in flight terminology, meaning the AR  simulates a real life in-flight environment. Sensors within the device (as well as some sensors on other devices) allow the pilot to be positioned in a realistic simulation. And real time video and images are overlaid with aviation objects from a database, such as airports, airways, and flight-course information. From the comfort of their training facilities, these pilots will feel like they’re in the air, leading to safe air travel for all… whenever we can travel again.

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