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Mixed reality technology to ‘disrupt’ shipbuilding and maintenance

A Norwegian start-up, Fostech, part funded by government-backed Innovation Norway, is in the final stages of developing a new ‘mixed reality’ technology with far-reaching implications for ship construction and through-life maintenance and repairs.

Using Microsoft Hololens technology, the combination of virtual and augmented realities will radically transform conventional shipbuilding processes and maintenance undertaken by ships’ crews during routine ship operation, according to ceo and founder Havard Notøy who reveals that a key announcement is likely to be made at SMM in September.

Hololens enables sight of both reality as well as a layer of digital information and makes it possible to move around on board a ship, talk to people on the phone, and cooperate with colleagues whilst also viewing digital information inside the headpiece. Contacts can view exactly the same thing at the same time in different parts of the world. As a result, says Notøy, working practices can be made more efficient and businesses will save time and money.

As shipping’s digitalisation process and vessel automation gather speed, the technology will become increasingly important. Pricing is likely to be based on a charge for hardware, plus a price for the 3D models incorporated into the headpiece.

The company is already working closely with Kleven, a local shipbuilder recently acquired in its entirety by Norwegian coastal ferry and expedition cruise operator, Hurtigruten. And it is also cooperating with Sperre, a Norwegian compressor manufacturer. Other target sectors include healthcare, security and safety.

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