New augmented and virtual technologies bring MAHEPA Panthera aircraft to life

New information and communication technologies are emerging so fast in today’s time that it is hard to keep track and even harder to absorb all the novelties. Technologies, such as HoloLens and VR glasses are bringing new exciting realities, from augmented to virtual. They enable users to see and experience virtual objects placed in an environment currently out of reach. Streets of Rio de Janeiro or afternoon walks on the moon are easily achievable from your living room, simply by wearing a pair of glasses.

Modern information technologies are also announcing a new era of showcasing concepts, ideas and products in a clearer, more effective and faster manner than ever before. Augmented reality (AR) is proving itself to be a very useful tool as it brings elements of the virtual world into real life, offering users a deep sense of reality. Unlike virtual reality (VR), which requires to inhabit an entirely virtual environment, augmented reality uses an existing natural environment and simply overlays virtual objects and information on top of it.  

Virtual technologies, such as HoloLens glasses, made it possible to reveal the new hybrid-electric powertrain of Panthera hybrid aircraft to public. Instead of the real aircraft under development within project MAHEPA, a virtual replica of it was created to demonstrate new hybrid propulsion system, using Microsoft HoloLens and Unity 3D Game engine, a powerful tool for creating augmented reality environments. The developed tool enabled thousands of users to experience virtual Panthera hybrid aircraft using HoloLens glasses, which is explanatory enough to understand the concept of aircraft hybrid propulsion and still easy enough to use. With HoloLens glasses users  can browse through the propulsion system and get general technical information of its components, such as electric motor, inverter system, power generation system, energy storage, etc. As the virtual aircraft is fully interactive, users get to explore the entire propulsion system inside out. To make the interaction even more interesting, the user has the full control over the aircraft. When putting on the HoloLens glasses, the user is confronted with the virtual aircraft and, in order to advance to the detailed look, layers of the aircraft can be removed. This can be done easily, either by voice control or hand gestures. By removing several layers of aircraft platform, the user gets a detailed look inside the propulsion system, discovering its components with rotation, moving and zooming option. Interactively, the user is given a choice on how much and how thoroughly he or she wants to discover the MAHEPA hybrid propulsion system.

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