Modernizing Maintenance Operations and Training
Navy SBIR 2019.2 - Topic N192-134
ONR - Ms. Lore-Anne Ponirakis -
Opens: May 31, 2019 - Closes: July 1, 2019 (8:00 PM ET)


TITLE: Modernizing Maintenance Operations and Training


TECHNOLOGY AREA(S): Human Systems, Information Systems, Materials/Processes ACQUISITION PROGRAM: PM TRASYS

OBJECTIVE: Develop best practices guidelines, and a software infrastructure with commercially available hardware, that leverages advances in augmented reality technologies to support remote maintenance operations within a connected or disconnected environment, and utilizes content and analysis collected from the remote maintenance operations to support training activities and learning.


DESCRIPTION: Maintenance operations are critical to ensure the readiness of platforms, and are necessary for supporting key National Defense Strategy objectives (e.g., Sustaining Joint Force military advantages). However, maintenance technicians are not always resourced with all necessary reference documents or are inexperienced in the specific repair/maintenance required, which may result in maintenance delays or reduced readiness. This SBIR topic seeks to identify innovative solutions and develop best practices to address maintenance operations and training for technicians that cut across traditional training paradigms (e.g., classroom based) by leveraging emerging augmented reality software and hardware technologies to provide a capability that supports remote/on-demand maintenance operations and training activities for continuous/career learning and collaboration. Proposals should leverage emerging commercial technologies, while addressing the technical challenges associated with supporting and scaling to distributed military environments and training.


The current state of the art is just beginning to leverage augmented reality technology for distributed maintenance operations. While some existing commercial software provides on-demand remote assistance between technician and experts using commercially available augmented reality hardware technologies, there is not yet a workflow / pipeline to guide and support maintainer training activities. This effort seeks to apply commercially available augmented reality hardware and software to aid technicians to supplement maintenance activities (e.g., when manuals or in-depth knowledge required for the task are not available onsite). Furthermore, the key innovation sought from this SBIR topic is to collect content associated with the supplemental activities and provide the capability to record, store, categorize, and analyze them to support training activities within a schoolhouse and beyond. As the content for training maintainers exists generally, though in less-than-optimal format (.ppt, hard copy, for example), we expect that content developed for this use case will follow the same classification and cyber security standard applied to classroom and maintenance publication (this is generally ‘unclassified’ and/or ‘Distro A’, but will be handled on a case by case basis as content is developed). As such, the technical and scientific challenge is to leverage existing commercially available augmented reality technologies to create an organic training content pipeline (e.g., does not require contracted personnel to develop materials) that leverages and guides training activities based on real-world examples to accelerate and tailor learning— not to develop a better augmented maintenance trainer.


PHASE I: Alpha prototypes of software on commercially available AR devices that can provide the best augmented- reality support to military on-site maintainers. Determine best methods and prototype / mockups and associated workflow for collecting, storing, categorizing, analyzing, and providing content to support training and education.


Produce the following deliverables: (1) requirements for the system components; (2) methods to efficiently collect, store, categorize, analyze, and provide augmented reality content to learning centers for future use in training/education; (3) learning sciences approach for delivery of content; and (4) overview of the system and plans for Phase II, which should include key component technological milestones and plans for at least one operational test and evaluation, to include user testing.

PHASE II: Develop a prototype system, and conduct a hands-on demonstration with Marines (coordination aided by ONR) in a designated field of maintenance (e.g., HVAC, motor transport, armor, weapons). Construct a survey to provide feedback from subject maintainers participating in field test/demonstration and subject matter experts who would generally oversee novice technicians (assistance in determining relevant population and coordinating for demonstration/field test by ONR). Specifically, collect impressions of usability, time to repair (vs. Training and Readiness manual standard), and cost estimate of potential time-savings given anticipated decrease in repair time.

Perform all appropriate engineering tests and reviews, including a critical design review to finalize the system design.


Produce the following deliverables: (1) a working prototype of the system that is able to interact with existing system specifications; and (2) evaluation of system capabilities to determine/demonstrate improvement to maintainer capability as measured by time-to-diagnose, repair/replace, and complete system process testing.


PHASE III DUAL USE APPLICATIONS: Support the Marine Corps in transitioning the technology for Marine Corps use. Develop the software to allow for integration of augmented reality-aided maintenance videos into existing Marine Corps training and education systems (e.g., MCTIMS, Marine Online, College of Distance Education and Training). Provide a method to track improvements in effectiveness resulting from reduced time to repair and reduction of the need for follow-on repair at a given echelon of maintenance. Support the Marine Corps with certifying and qualifying the system for Marine Corps use. As appropriate, focus on broadening capabilities and commercialization plans to use augmented reality hardware and software for training to, and repair of, systems (HVAC, automotive, etc.) by existing corporate entities.



1.   Feiner, Steven, and Henderson, Steven. “Exploring the Benefits of Augmented Reality Documentation for Maintenance and Repair.” IEEE Transactions on Visualization and Computer Graphics, Volume 17, Issue 10 (October 2011), pp. 1355-1368.


2.   Palmarini, Ricardo; Erkoyuncu, Ahmet, John; Rajkumar, Roy; and Torabmostaedi, Hosein. “A systematic review of augmented reality applications in maintenance.” Robotics and Computer-Integrated Manufacturing, Volume 49 (February 2018), pp. 215-228.


3.   Erkoyuncu, John Ahmet; Fernandez del Amo, Inigo; Dalle Mura, Michela; Rajkumar, Roy; and Dini, Gino. “Improving efficiency of industrial maintenance with context aware adaptive authoring in augmented reality.” CIRP Annals, Volume 66 Issue 1 (2017), pp. 465-468. 21379&pid=1-s2.0-S0007850617300069-main.pdf


KEYWORDS: Augmented Reality; Maintenance; Education; Training; Visualization; Context Capture



Peter Squire




Travis Carlson




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These Navy Topics are part of the overall DoD 2019.2 SBIR BAA. The DoD issued its 2019.2 BAA SBIR pre-release on May 2, 2019, which opens to receive proposals on May 31, 2019, and closes July 1, 2019 at 8:00 PM ET.

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