U.S. Army Purchases SGI and VRSim Immersive Virtual Reality Welding Trainer Systems
Safe, Cost-Effective, No Waste Environment Will Speed Welder Training
ORLANDO, Fla. I/ITSEC 2005, Booth 101, (Nov. 30, 2005)—Silicon Graphics (OTC: SGID) today announced the sale of six SGI® and VRSim™ turn-key Virtual Reality Welding Trainers to the U.S. Army Ordinance Center and School at Aberdeen Proving Grounds, Maryland, to train soldiers and Marines for battlefield repairs, parts repairs and maintenance on armored and other vehicles. The immersive, Virtual Reality Welding Trainer is based on SGI visualization hardware and VRSim simulation software; the Welding Trainer was announced at the American Welding Society Show in Dallas earlier this year.
Designed and integrated by SGI Professional Services specifically for the U.S. Army/Marine Corps as a time and cost-saving productivity tool for Gas Metal Arc Welding (GMAW) and Shielded Metal Arc Welding (SMAW), the simulators are for novice and experienced welders alike. The six welding bays are linked to a central console for instructors to monitor trainee performance and store weld information for future training analysis.
The U.S. Army/Marine Corps has contracted SGI and VRSim to deliver GMAW and SMAW welding in flat, vertical, horizontal and overhead welding positions. A follow-on project to add Gas Tungsten Arc Welding (GTAW) and OXY/Fuel processes is under consideration. The Welding Trainer incorporates an actual welding gun with haptic feedback and a custom headset through which the trainee experiences a realistic motion-tracked 3D welding environment. The instructor console monitors all of the end-user stations allowing the instructor to select one, two or as many of the virtual welding bay stations as desired. From either the central console or at each individual bay, the instructor can view the real-time training exercise and monitor the graphical performance metrics, which can be displayed during and after each pass.
“VRSim’s Welding Trainer represents the first commercial effort to combine haptic (or touch) simulation technology with real-time computer interaction to provide fast, efficient skills transfer for welders,” said Matthew Wallace, Chief Executive Officer, VRSim. “Whether novice or expert, each welder can learn better welding techniques, faster and with less waste. We are proud to present this new generation of training technology to the U.S. Army.”
Key benefits of the Virtual Reality Welding Trainer include:
* Improved workmanship and productivity: Muscle memory and hands-on experience play a critical role in complex and critical welds. The Virtual Reality Welding Trainer promotes faster learning as trainees can complete more practice welds within a fixed amount of training time when compared to conventional training. Instant feedback from each weld pass allows the trainee to hone the specific skills that need improvement until the full technique of laying a quality weld is achieved.
* Increase training retention and improve trainee/worker safety: Welders learn new techniques or practice their skills in a safe environment without risk of injury.
* Reduce training costs: Reduced expenditures in training materials, waste disposal and unavailable welders due to injury all result in cost savings.
* Environmental concerns: Harmful emissions and/or waste materials are eliminated in a virtual environment.
The Silicon Graphics Prism™ Deskside system powers the VRSim Welding Trainer visualization with a proven 64-bit Linux® environment with the SGI scalable, shared-memory architecture based on the same high-performance system architecture as the record-setting SGI® Altix® servers and supercomputers. The Silicon Graphics Prism Deskside is the only system of its kind driven by dual Intel® Itanium® 2 processors and ATI® FireGL™ graphics processors, delivering unparalleled price/performance.
“The power of Intel Itanium 2 processors and SGI visualization technology delivers realistic welding in real time, enhancing the learning experience,” said Melissa Laird, general manager of Intel’s Developer Relations Division. “The SGI and VRSim Welding Trainer is a unique product that takes great advantage of Intel’s platform.”
VRSim’s Sim Welder Software leverages SGI OpenGL Performer™ technology to deliver the ultimate realism for a virtual training environment. The virtual environment can be tailored to display real-world scenarios such as a vehicle repair on a battlefield or an industrial manufacturing setting during the training exercise. VRSim’s IO software provides the middleware to manage the complex array of peripheral devices required to make the turn-key training solution complete.
“The Virtual Reality Welding Trainer provides a cost-effective solution that decreases overall training expenditures while increasing safety, training productivity, and the overall quality of workmanship,” said James Hooks, global sales manager for welding trainers, SGI. “With the acquisition of virtual welding technology, the U.S. Army and Marine Corps will now have a powerful new tool to quickly and safely train personnel. SGI has a long history of providing robust, turn-key visualization solutions to both government and commercial industries, and we are excited to apply state-of-the-art visualization technology to provide this new leap forward in welder training productivity.”
VRSim, Inc. is a rapidly growing technology company located in New Britain, CT. VRSim provides a platform independent software suite and integration capabilities that that provide easy to use immersive capabilities for digital design, maintenance and training for the heavy industry and government users. VRSim can be found on the web at www.VRSim.com.
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SGI, also known as Silicon Graphics, Inc. (OTC: SGID), is a leader in high-performance computing, visualization and storage. SGI’s vision is to provide technology that enables the most significant scientific and creative breakthroughs of the 21st century. Whether it’s sharing images to aid in brain surgery, finding oil more efficiently, studying global climate, providing technologies for homeland security and defense, or enabling the transition from analog to digital broadcasting, SGI is dedicated to addressing the next class of challenges for scientific, engineering and creative users. With offices worldwide, the company is headquartered in Mountain View, Calif., and can be found on the Web at www.sgi.com.
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