A novel non-destructive testing training system based on wireless probe tracking
Non-destructive testing (NDT) is essential for ensuring and maintaining the integrity of structures and systems from aircraft to power stations. NDT operators are trained by practising on specimens with real or artificial flaws. These samples can be rare and/or expensive. For training at clients’ premises, NDT trainers must carry samples to the training location. The shear bulk and weight of the samples turns the provision of training into a major logistical exercise, and in some cases makes it impractical.
This project will develop a new system which uses real data to provide an NDT experience indistinguishable from the real one, but without the need for the test sample. The system integrates wireless position sensors, gyroscopic orientation, camera input and load sensing into a hand-held probe. TrainNDT will develop an integrated sensor platform and construct the virtual environment based on real test data from well-defined samples with a range of defects. Software will relate the recorded NDT data to the real-time probe position, orientation, and pressure to output a signal to the trainee as if they were testing the real sample.
The ability to carry out training anywhere in the world without the need for costly transportation of test specimens; availability of a much wider variety of virtual test specimens; and the ability to vary the training programme at short notice simply by downloading a new data set. The system can provide automated checks and feedback on the trainee’s probe movements based on actual movements, adding value to the training experience.
TrainNDT is a result of a research project funded by Innovate UK. Reference no. 103614.