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Morehead State’s Engineering Technology program uses augmented and virtual reality to improve advanced manufacturing training

Faculty and students in Morehead State’s Department of Engineering and Technology Management are developing augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) programs to improve advanced manufacturing training programs.  

Last year, Dr. Kouroush Jenab and Dr. Jorge Ortega-Moody, both assistant professors of engineering and technology management at MSU, received $500,000 from a collaborative grant from the Kentucky National Science Foundation’s (NSF) Established Program to Stimulate Competitive Research (EPSCoR) initiative’s Kentucky Advanced Partnership for Enhanced Robotics and Structures. The funds are being used to develop MSU’s laboratory for training in condition-based maintenance (CBM), sustainable advanced manufacturing (SAM) and industrial controls. The laboratory is housed in the 21st Century Center for Manufacturing Systems at MSU.   

The research team includes one post-doctorate candidate, two graduate assistants and two Undergraduate Research Fellows. They are developing algorithms for failure prediction and condition-based maintenance data and the augmented virtual and physical laboratories (AVRL) for workforce training in advanced condition-based maintenance, robotics, and industrial infrastructure control.   

“The main focus of using AR and VR, first of all, is safety,” Ortega-Moody said in a video produced by KyEPSCoR. “A lot of jobs, for example, welding and automation, or driving, like forklift driving, have a lot of safety issues and we can reduce those issues.” He added using AR and VR in the lab allows them to stretch limited resources and reduce maintenance costs.   

The researchers have created virtual reality and augmented reality programs designed to train workers in automation training, welding, farming and more. Students are also researching using artificial intelligence vision systems for quality control and incorporating other senses into virtual and augmented reality environments using a scent generator. Students learn mechanical and electrical design skills and programming through creating AR and VR scenarios. Ortega-Moody said the lab would one day provide automation training for regional businesses, which will create even more career opportunities for graduates.   

“They have the need to train people in automation, especially the companies that are small. They want to do automation to produce more. And the people that have a lot of automation want even more automation, so it’s a field that’s going to keep growing and growing.”  

For information about MSU’s engineering and technology management programs, visit, email or call 606-783-2418.