SRI International has partnered with Kawada Technologies and Kawada Industries to introduce weld visualization technology and a 3D welding helmet.
SRI says it is collaborating with Kawada Technologies and Kawada Industries to develop Xtreme Dynamic Range (XDR) weld visualization technology that uses image processing to safely visualize live weld details to the welder. XDR has been further applied to a next-generation, 3D-welding helmet that SRI says will enhance training of new welders and improve the productivity of current welders by presenting a live high dynamic range scene and welding data safely to the welder’s eyes.
XDR manages shutter speed and the time at which images are captured with microsecond resolutions to acquire images to perform real-time XDR Fusion. These captured frames with different exposure conditions are image-processed by a wearable battery-operated GPU to synthesize the frames in real-time into one 3D stereo vision stream for visualization within the helmet.
As a result, instead of the limited commercial camera dynamic ranges of 60-70 dB, the dynamic range of the visualized scene using commercial cameras in the XDR welding helmet, is expanded up to 150 dB without the need for special image sensors. In addition, using commercially available devices allows the welding helmet to benefit from high volume costing and proven component reliabilities.
The 3D welding helmet equipped with XDR acquires and synthesizes images as a stereo camera unit. These images are displayed with minimal delay inside the helmet on a head-mounted display (HMD) as a stereo image. This helmet system runs on wearable hot-swappable batteries and therefore can be used indefinitely in environments that have no external power source.
SRI says that a welder wearing the helmet will be able to weld more reliably due to the ability to view weld beads, the welded items and the working environment, which are collectively difficult to see using traditional welding helmets. The helmet also includes display and recording functions of various real-time welding status parameters related to welding (temperature, voltage, current, etc.). This allows welders to collect and check useful information to ensure a high-quality weld, which in turn accelerates the learning curve. Finally, the welder’s eyes are completely protected from arcs because the weld is viewed indirectly through the screen in the helmet.
The 3D welding helmet will be improved over the next year and will be utilized to teach technical welding skills at Kawada Industries. The KTI Kawada group is expected to gain insights that can be applied to support new technological and product developments.