Teesside University is working with a Tees Valley company to develop cutting-edge augmented reality technology which will improve efficiency and safety in the operations and maintenance of engineering facilities.

The University is working with Orema, a company that specialises in industrial wearable technology, to develop Smart Helmet technology.

The Smart Helmets combine a hard hat with a visual display unit and overlay visual information onto whatever the wearer is seeing.

This augmented reality means that maintenance crews can, for example, see exactly which parts need replacing in an industrial asset or even where pipes or electric wires may be hidden underneath different surfaces.

Data concerning the different assets can also be streamed on the display unit giving the technician an instant readout of relevant information.

Orema has teamed up with academics from the Schools of Computing, Media & the Arts and also the School of Science, Engineering & Design to trial the technology on the University’s distillation column.

Darren Abbott, Principal Lecturer for Enterprise and Business Engagement in School of Computing, Media & the Arts, said: “A lot of heavy industry is still very traditional in the way in which it tackles problems.

“This technology has been developed in the computer games industry but is now being transferred to an industrial setting and effectively replaces the need for clipboard, allowing engineers to work much more efficiently and safely.”

Dr Adam Adgar, a Principal Lecturer in the School of Science, Engineering & Design, added: “This is an innovative project which combines knowledge from two different disciplines – computing and engineering.

“It is fascinating to work collaboratively with Orema to develop state-of-the-art solutions to real-world issues.”

Orema was founded by Teesside University Chemical Engineering graduate Simon Clarke and is moving to Fusion Hive, a business and innovation centre managed by Teesside University on Stockton’s Northshore.

Simon said: “At the moment, the Smart Helmet technology is focussed on the process sector, but there are many potential applications.

“We’re interested in hearing from all sorts of different businesses, from SMEs to major companies, who are interested in working with us.

“It’s great that we can work alongside these companies and the University to find different ways in which we can help them.”