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Daresbury team go through the keyhole with new technology

5 October 2020

Colleagues in the Mechanical, Metrology and Technical Engineering Group (MMTE) at Daresbury Laboratory are usually 'hands on’ designing, testing and building for many large national and international projects which come through Daresbury Laboratory. The COVID-19 pandemic saw everyone working from home initially and now very limited numbers of the team are back on site. This has required new ways of working to ensure that projects don’t grind to a halt.

Last year they were given a demonstration of a small smart headset with huge potential. They could see the potential back then and have revisited it over the last few weeks - discussing their needs with the experts and undergoing group training.

  • The camera allows viewers anywhere in the world to see what the wearer is seeing
  • There is audio capability so that the wearer can chat to the viewers
  • Viewers can draw on the image that they see – this could be used to guide or give instruction to the wearer

Through the keyhole

The team in the Superconducting Radio Frequency (SuRF) Lab recently undertook a trail run of the new headset while all at home. Dave Mason, Lead Mechanical Technician, donned the smart glasses to give a tour of his house to colleagues! As well as going through the keyhole, the exercise allowed them to become familiar with the functionality of the kit before it is used in the lab.

In parallel to this Phil Atkinson, Head of MMTE Group at Daresbury Laboratory has created 3D tours for the Technology Department using a 3D camera and software. The tours can have videos, images and text embedded into them, and even be set to do an ‘auto tour’.

There are a wide range of potential uses for both of these innovations, that include:

  • Interactive training
    • Multiple staff will be able to go virtually into the new  SuRF Lab cleanroom without even being there – with an assigned member of the team showing them how to correctly dress in PPE and entry procedures for the space which has to be kept to strict levels of cleanliness to protect accelerator cavities which are being worked on inside it
  • Support the ESS High Beta Cavity project. Allowing STFC staff and overseas partners to advise staff on the ground – minimising impacts on the schedule caused by the COVID-19 lockdown
  • Project review meetings to show progress – for example within the SuRF Lab
  • Familiarisation tours for emergency response team, new starters etc
  • World wide connections
    • For projects such as ESS and DUNE, the headset will allow the project teams to show colleagues across the world specific elements of the lab during discussions. This will allow real time conversations and actions rather than back and forth via email

Mark Pendleton, SuRF Lab Infrastructure and Process Manager, thinks that these small pieces of technology are a welcome addition for the team: “The COVID-19 situation has made us think again about how the MMTE team can keep projects moving even with limited staff on site. The smart glasses will be great for training and the tours will be useful for inducting new members of the team as well as welcoming back existing ones across the Daresbury Laboratory campus. They will also help us to bring international partners into the lab for real time discussions and hands-on working even though they could be working from home themselves on a completely different continent!”

Find out more about the SuRF Lab at Daresbury Laboratory.

Find out more about STFC’s involvement in DUNE and PIP-II here.

Follow Daresbury Laboratory on Twitter and Facebook for all the latest from the lab.


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Last updated: 08 October 2020

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