Luna Innovations has developed a revolutionary system for real-time localization, collection, and visualization of NDE data. This technology leverages Luna’s fiber-optic 3-D shape sensing technology to provide a precise position of the NDE tool in space, and has a novel augmented-reality visualization interface to show NDE results in real time overlaid on the surface being analyzed. This system will reduce the complexity of scanning intricate structures by providing real-time feedback on areas of concern, which will allow those areas to be immediately scanned in more detail. In addition, the detailed position information and automatic registration of NDE data to precise locations on the structure will improve the accuracy of results, increase comparability of data from one scan to another, and enable automated or robotically assisted inspection processes. During Phase I, Luna developed an initial prototype of the system and demonstrated its functionality with both 2D and 3D scans of test articles, including a composite helicopter tail rotor and an impact damaged metal plate. Visual representations of the scanned articles, including the ability to show simulated and actual damage, were presented in both an interactive 3D view and in augmented reality. During Phase II Luna will build several development systems which will be adapted to receive and integrate data from various standard NDE sensor technologies. These combined systems will be validated in extensive field testing on representative test articles with partners at the Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI). In addition to collecting data from these NDE sensors and mapping the data to a standard coordinate system, a powerful augmented reality visualization application will be developed which will allow for real-time display of results in a mixed/augmented reality view, showing the data overlaid with the actual object being scanned and/or a solid model of the object.
The proposed NDE visualization tool will enable faster, more accurate scanning of surfaces, and will provide real time results to users during the scanning process, facilitating quicker decision making based on reliable NDE data. Better data registration will improve NDE data resolution and accuracy, which will facilitate Digital Twin efforts. This new NDE damage visualization and localization capability will help NASA achieve its 100% inspected mission directive for programs such as Orion and will also benefit programs such as SLS and Artemis.
Better NDE data registration and visualization tools will benefit a large group of commercial companies that perform detailed NDE analyses across a wide range of industries. This new technology will particularly benefit Aerospace, Automotive and Manufacturing NDE efforts by providing higher quality results with less cost and complexity, ultimately leading to safer more reliable products.