Inside Indiana Business: Purdue’s Convergence Design Lab’s AR/VR Future of Work & Training SkillXR System

by | Nov 5, 2020

WEST LAFAYETTE – A Purdue University team has entered into a $5 million cooperative agreement with the National Science Foundation to create an augmented and virtual reality experience prototype called Skill-XR. The university says the technology can be used to train workers and help close the skills gap within the manufacturing industry.

Purdue says some manufacturers are turning to technologies like augmented and virtual reality to train workers on new skills. The university says newly-hired factory workers can wear augmented reality glasses to train them on equipment as well as see graphics overlaid on the machine.

“The skills gap in hands-on trades and emerging technology is real,” said Karthik Ramani, professor in mechanical engineering and principal investigator for the project. “Today, one of the best ways to transfer hands-on skills is through the traditional one-on-one apprenticeship model. However, it is costly and not scalable. You lose both the trainer and trainee. Also, older workers are retiring, and it’s difficult to recruit younger workers to replace them. And when they are hired, it is challenging to transfer those skills and knowledge to the next generation. The skills themselves are also changing, complicating the landscape. Skill-XR is all about boosting that skill transfer in a timely manner and enabling it to happen anywhere at any scale.”

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