The Fiber Optic Augmented Reality System (FOARS) enhances the user-friendliness of NASA’s award-winning Fiber Optic Sensing System (FOSS) by vividly displaying the strain experienced by the object being monitored. FOARS is a mobile data visualization application that receives FOSS data via wifi and then creates a three-dimensional (3D) augmented version, superimposed over the actual fibers using a target image.
An Important Advance:
FOARS successfully addresses the visual disassociation between the FOSS-monitored object and what users see on their computer screens. To understand the significance of FOARS, one must understand FOSS.
FOSS is a revolutionary system that rapidly and accurately measures strain to calculate a variety of critical parameters (e.g., shape, stress, temperature, bending). FOSS involves bonding lightweight optical fibers directly onto the object. When the object experiences strain, FOSS measures that strain and visually displays it in real time. This computer representation of the optical fibers appears by itself, without an image of the object.
FOARS overlays the FOSS strain data as a 3D model on top of a visualization of the object, significantly improving user understanding.
How FOARS Works:
Using a data file, including sensors’ xyz locations in 3D space, the FOARS software applies mathematical algorithms to the three-axis mapping data, creating a 3D model of the fibers. FOARS then displays this virtual version of the fibers on top of an augmented reality version of the actual fibers on the actual object.
When the fibers move during contraction and expansion of the object, FOARS wirelessly receives the FOSS-measured strain data. As FOARS processes these strain data, the virtual sensors on the virtual fibers change color in real time. Because the 3D model appears on top of the augmented reality object, the user can clearly recognize where strain is occurring.
A Novel Solution:
FOARS uniquely combines two cutting-edge innovations to achieve a dramatic improvement in the FOSS user experience: (1) FOSS offers sensing at unprecedented resolution and speed, enabling real-time analysis of precise measurements. (2) The use of augmented reality to visualize data in engineering is rare, making this an unusual application of the interactive technology.
FOARS can be applied successfully to any situation where FOSS can be used to monitor a wide range of critical parameters:
– Aerospace: Aircraft, launch vehicles, satellites, etc.
– Energy: Drilling and exploration, fuel storage tanks, nuclear power plants, etc.
– Transportation/Infrastructure: Buildings, bridges, truck/automobile frames, tankers and other naval vessels, etc.
– Medical: Endoscopy, catherization, robotic surgery, biosensing, etc.
In addition, the development team is working on automating this 3D modeling process, further expanding FOARS’s capabilities to include complex surfaces.
The FOARS software is easy to implement. It uses User Datagram Protocol (UDP)—a simple, connectionless communications model ideal for real-time systems such as FOSS—to receive the wireless transmission of strain data.
To see a simple demonstration of how FOARS works, see https://www.facebook.com/nasaarmstrong/videos/1811963958863976/ (Facebook login is not required to view video; simply choose “Not Now” when prompted.)