Washington, D.C., September 14, 2023 – HaptX Inc., the leading provider of lifelike touch feedback technology, announces a Memorandum of Understanding with Consolidated Nuclear Security (CNS), to collaboratively advance virtual reality technology and speed its use to support U.S. Government training missions. The announcement is happening today in Washington, D.C., when HaptX co-founder, Professor Robert Crockett, presents to U.S. government representatives at the Augmented and Virtual Reality Policy Conference.
CNS manages and operates the Y-12 National Security Complex in support of the National Nuclear Security Administration. Y‑12 helps ensure a safe and effective U.S. nuclear weapons deterrent. Site personnel also retrieve and store nuclear materials, fuel the nation’s naval reactors, and perform complementary work for government and private-sector entities.
Y‑12 has evolved to become the complex the nation looks to for support in protecting America’s future, developing innovative solutions in manufacturing technologies, prototyping, safeguards and security, technical computing, and environmental stewardship.
The newly constructed Oak Ridge Enhanced Technology and Training Center (ORETTC) in Tennessee trains those responsible for safeguarding nuclear and radioactive material as well as first responders and other experts in nuclear operations, safeguards, cyber, and emergency response. ORETTC is leading Y-12’s efforts in augmented (AR), virtual (VR), and extended reality (XR).
Y-12 is integrating HaptX Gloves to enhance the sense of immersion in VR. In addition, HaptX engineers will collaborate with Y-12 staff to support ongoing improvement of virtual training environments and application features. Y-12 selected HaptX Gloves to enable natural interaction and true-contact haptics, which are vital for enterprise-scale training environments involving complex, precise procedures.
“This collaborative approach brings together government and industry to research AR, VR, and XR technologies that will expand the scope and speed of technology development,” said Ashley Stowe, ORETTC director.
The first collaborative Y-12 HaptX prototype is a virtual glovebox simulator—a first-responder training system using haptics to demonstrate high-hazard, low-occurrence response scenarios. Glovebox containment units allow workers wearing protective, arm-length gloves to manipulate hazardous materials in a controlled environment. Learning glovebox skills and techniques is critically important, and a success factor for training is replicating the realism of the strain without the danger.
“It has been a truly collaborative journey working with HaptX to develop the glovebox trainer,” Stowe said. “Working in a glovebox is not familiar to most new hires. Incorporating the HaptX gloves enhances the training experience to prepare trainees to work with hazardous materials with restricted mobility without introducing the hazard to the trainee.
“This partnership is a game-changer as we build the nuclear workforce of tomorrow,” continued Stowe. “The multiuser haptics functionality allows us to train crews of engineers, scientists, and operators to work together to complete manufacturing tasks.”
To replicate realistic touch, Y-12 instructional designers implemented the HaptX Gloves DK2 Development Kit. They are among the first to deploy the new multiuser haptics feature in the HaptX Software Development Kit, which allows multiple users to work in the same virtual environment and feel the same objects, regardless of physical location.
“We are proud and inspired to collaborate with Y-12 to develop a safer way to help nuclear engineers and scientists become even more effective in their operations,” said Professor Robert Crockett, co-founder of HaptX. “They are taking bold steps toward deploying touch simulation in systems that help build real muscle memory, physical dexterity, and situational awareness.”
HaptX will demonstrate the Y-12 glovebox training simulator at today’s ARVR Policy Conference in Washington, D.C., and at upcoming exhibitions. Contact [email protected] or visit haptx.com for info or to request a demo.
About Consolidated Nuclear Security
Consolidated Nuclear Security, LLC operates the Y-12 National Security Complex, located in Oak Ridge, Tennessee, and the Pantex Plant, located in Amarillo, Texas, for the U.S. National Nuclear Security Administration. Bechtel National, Inc. is the lead member of CNS; minority members include Leidos, Inc.; ATK Launch Systems, LLC; and SOC LLC. Y-12 and Pantex are key facilities in the U.S. Nuclear Security Enterprise, and CNS performs its work with a focus on performance excellence and the imperatives of safety, security, zero defects, and delivery as promised.
HaptX builds technology that simulates touch sensation with unprecedented realism for use in enterprise, industrial, and academic virtual reality and robotics. HaptX leverage advances in materials science and manufacturing techniques to deliver haptic gloves that fit like conventional work gloves. A venture-backed startup, HaptX is headquartered in Redmond, WA, with offices in San Luis Obispo, CA.