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Communications of the ACM

ACM TechNews

From a Distance: New Technique For Repair Work

Saarland University's Thorsten Herfet developed a platform experts can use to fix problems remotely.

A new platform aimed at multinational companies allows local engineers to collaborate with experts abroad, in real time.

Credit: Oliver Dietze

Companies that operate globally could use a new platform developed at Saarland University to enable local engineers to collaborate with experts abroad in real time to address any issues with production.

The system offers live broadcasting over a computer, making it easier for designers of complex production facilities in other countries to do maintenance or repair work from their local office.

The researchers say the approach is comparatively inexpensive, considering the equipment used includes a three-dimensional (3D) camera, a Webcam, and a computer. The camera can capture a machine in need of repair work, enabling the platform to provide several views in parallel on the screen, including a 3D model, which users in both locations can operate interactively.

The system also can provide key sensor data, such as temperature or pressure, that can offer clues about the cause of a problem. The locations can be easily connected for videoconferencing via the company network. "We connect sensor and environmental data, video signals and computer graphics within just one application," says the Intel Visual Computing Institute's Thorsten Herfet.

From Saarland University
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