Augmented Reality at CERN - The Personal Safety System

Wintersemester 2011/12 

Executive Summary

Project Description & Problem Definition

Due to maintenance work at the ATLAS-Experiment, one of the six large particle detectors at the European Organization of Nuclear Research (CERN) in Meyrin, a shutdown is necessary in order to accomplish maintenance tasks.

During this shutdown, the detector is going to be completely opened and specialized workforces have to enter the facility in order to perform complex work procedures. As there are radiation hazards and other dangerous environmental inluences, the working time inside the detector must be reduced to a minimum in order to guarantee a high safety level for the workforce.

Therefore, the ATLAS-Experiment develops a new personal safety system based on augmented reality technologies that enables real time guidance and monitoring of the worker. Moreover, a supervisor who must not be personally present in the danger zones monitors the work steps. The value added for customer stems from time and resource savings through improved eficiency, work quality and safety for personnel.

As the technology and the success of the development are dependent on public funding and partners, the aim of this project is to find potential fields of application for this technology, to identify the most promising markets and to analyze them regarding market and competitor structure.

Identified Beneits and Fields of Application

To achieve these goals, the beneits of the technology have been identified with the help of several expert interviews and empirical research in a first step. Hence, three main beneits have been identified:

• Step-by-step guidance for complex tasks in real time,
• monitoring of external inluences and
• accurate short distance position tracking in unclear environments.

In a next step, another round of expert interviews was carried out and several user communities were contacted. According to these data, 17 fields of application proved to have market potential for the new technology. Out of these 17 fields, nine fields could be validated adequately and showed great potential. After consultation with CERN, the two most promising fields of application, factory fire brigades and nuclear power plants, have been chosen for further research. Therefore, market- and competitor analyses as well as a SWOT analysis have been carried out for these two potential markets.

Detailed analysis of the most promising fields

In both markets, the competitor analyses showed that no direct competitive products exist as there are no fully developed marketable augmented reality technologies so far. Consequently, regarding competitors, the personal safety system has great market potential, but the high barriers of entry would induce a strategic cooperation to be preferable.

The market analyses showed a similar picture. The estimated market potential for professional and factory ire departments was estimated to be somewhere between 250–350 Mio. Euro per year. Furthermore, as this is still an emerging and very new market, a growth forecast of 5–7% per year is expected.

In the field of nuclear power plants, an estimated market potential of 200 Mio. Euro per year has been calculated. Especially the dismantling and maintenance work is of special interest in this context.

Cooperation Partner 

  • European Organization for Nuclear Research
    CERN CH-1211
    Genève 23

  • Ansprechpartner
    Dr. (FH) Heinz Pernegger
    Tel: +41 76 487 2923

Student Team

  • Josef Mayer
    Doris Mühlbacher
    Andreas Steinbichl
    Karin Schmid