Virtual Reality image of two Booms interacting inside the JET torus

A Virtual Reality 3-D graphical software (VR) system is used by the JET Remote Handling group in two different ways, namely offline and online.

The VR software is used offline during task preparation. In this mode models of all the robots are moved around within an accurate 3-D model of the environment. In this purely virtual world almost 80 per cent of a given task can be developed, including teachfile creation, feasibility studies and task logistics.
Since no hardware (other than computers) are involved at this stage, more than 10 operations engineers can derive new task procedures at the same time.
Furthermore operators can be trained in executing a task without any risk to real hardware.

The VR software is used online during task execution, both in the mockup facility and in the real torus. In this mode the joint positions of all robots are continuously measured and fed back to the VR simulation in real-time by the robot control systems. All the robots are now visualised at their actual positions within the 3-D model of the environment. The tip of the 10 meter long boom is typically displayed within less than 10 millimeters of its actual position in the torus.

Remote operations require an accurate perception of a dynamic environment. The aim is to give the operators the same unrestricted knowledge of the task scene as would be available if they were located in the remote environment. In fact, the VR system can give an overview over the entire scene which is better than being present at the workplace. In addition the VR offers automatic collision avoidance algorithms.