ARM institute to develop VR prototype for robotic credential assessment in manufacturing

ARM institute to develop VR prototype for robotic credential assessment in manufacturing

The ARM (Advanced Robotics for Manufacturing) Institute yesterday announced that it had chosen a project team tasked with the development of a virtual reality (VR) prototype for assessing and credentialing advanced manufacturing workers. The stated aim of the ARM project is to demonstrate how VR and similar technology can be used to provide incumbent manufacturing workers with the ability to earn credentials based upon the knowledge, skill, and abilities (KSAs) gained through on-the-job training in a manufacturing facility incorporating robotics and automation, in a process which is often referred to as Industry 4.0. 

Based in Pittsburgh, PA since 2017, the ARM Institute’s mission statement claims that it is leading the way to a future where people & robots work together to respond to the nation’s greatest challenges and to produce the world’s most desired products. The ARM revealed that funding for this project was obtained through the Office of the Secretary of Defense (OSD) Manufacturing Technology (ManTech) Program and has been designed to leverage the investment made by ManTech in the Open EdX learning platform.  

The organizations highlighted below are set to work with the ARM Institute to develop a Robotic Technician assessment test to be delivered via VR and/or similar simulation capabilities incorporating Artificial Intelligence (AI) with a view to optimizing the assessment capabilities in future versions.  

  • SimInsights Inc. have been chosen to provide the virtual reality environment creation and assessment creation for the project. 
  • APT Manufacturing Solutions, Inc. are set to provide the real-world environment for creation in a virtual world in addition to subject-matter expertise in creating the assessment within their environment. 
  • IBL Education were selected to provide integration capabilities for the solution which is due to be hosted on the Open EdX platform. 

Linda Wood, ARM Institute Senior Certification Manager, expressed her excitement at the potential of the project, saying “Many potential and current manufacturing technicians have prior KSAs that can easily be upskilled for robotics and automation. Providing a low-cost testing mechanism to validate competency level achievement in potential and current robotic and automation manufacturing employees will shorten the time to productivity for employers. I am excited by the caliber of expertise collaborating with the ARM Institute as we attempt to push the limits of virtual reality to include its use for manufacturing competency assessment.”   

Rajesh Jha, Founder/CEO of SimInsights Inc. welcomed the news that his company had been chosen to supply the virtual reality environment for the project, declaring  “It is a privilege to collaborate with the ARM Institute on this innovative project as it is aligned with our mission of teaching and assessing skills using technology. We are excited about leveraging our National Science Foundation supported R&D on HyperSkill, a virtual and augmented reality-based simulation platform for personalized manufacturing training.”  

Miguel Amigot II, CTO of IBL Education, also expressed his company’s satisfaction at being included in the project, stating  “IBL Education is thrilled to partner with the ARM Institute and the Department of Defense by providing its learning ecosystem with AI and VR at scale.” 

The Institute also availed of the press conference to announce that the prototype, along with documentation on lessons learned, will be available to all ARM members in the Fall of 2022.