By Mr. Randy Siniard (RDECOM)October 21, 2010
Everyday people driving down Martin Road see a building with the words "McMorrow Laboratories AMRDEC 5400" across the side of it sitting back off the road, but not many really know all of what happens within its walls.
This building is the home of the Aviation and Missile, Research, Development and Engineering Center part of the Research, Development and Engineering Command. Within all of its buildings the AMRDEC has 1.6 million square feet of laboratory space. There are 1.3 million on Redstone Arsenal with another 80,000 square feet of laboratories at Moffett Field, Calif. and 220,000 square feet of laboratories at Joint Base Langley-Eustis, Va.
One of these labs is called the Visualization Laboratory, better known as the Viz Lab and it is a low-light area.
Some of the 12 employees who work within the lab, making products that are used in visualizations in briefings, demonstrations and supplements to training kits used in the field by the Soldiers prefer the low light. Turning off the florescent lights reduces the glare on the monitors helping the graphics be seen more pristinely, said Jason Hood, Visualization Lab Team Lead, AMRDEC.
Located on the second floor of the Scientific Engineering Laboratory Addition or SELA wing in building 5400, the Viz Lab occupies only a very small percentage of the total square footage of lab space for AMRDEC, but as Cody Flores, Viz Lab Project Lead, Engineering Directorate said, they impact a large number of people with the work they do.
One of their current projects is aimed at informing audiences of a new career field Logistic Engineers.
"We're developing a multimedia marketing tool that will be used to inform the community here at Redstone of the engineering discipline and the impact it will make on the acquisition and sustainment of our aircraft and weapons systems," said Flores.
The project took a total of four and half months to complete.
One morning video cameras were focused upon the south entrance of building 5400 by the Viz Lab technicians, who then filmed people walking in and out of the entrance. This footage was then edited, sped up and worked into the final project. The two hours of video eventually lasted only for a few seconds in the final project. It is this attention to detail that brings customers back to the Viz Lab.
The Viz Lab works with both external and internal organizations.
The Lab averages around 15 projects a year, with short ones taking as little as two or three weeks to complete, but larger ones span a couple of years, said Flores.
Currently, the biggest project that the Viz Lab has is probably the Interactive Electronic Technical Manual Tutorial for Cargo Publications since it's an in-house project, said Flores.
"The tutorial is a flash-based tutorial application that covers relevant information in navigating and interfacing with Interactive Electronic Technical Manual's for the D, F, and G model Chinooks. The application utilizes animation and special effects to illustrate key concepts in how to use the IETMs," said Flores.
"We are also working a lessons learned video for the Shadow Unmanned Aerial Vehicle," said Flores.
Edward Rymut, Reliability Engineer for UAV Shadow, Unmanned Aircraft Systems Project Office said, they decided to use the Viz Lab because they needed a video to illustrate things the maintainer should not do and things he should do. In the past they had used a paper booklet to communicate with the Soldier, but results were poor because booklets were often not read.
"The video is fantastic. It captures exactly what we wanted," said Rymut. "The photograph and graphics and narration are top notch. The video is easy to use, it is concise, it is clear, and it can be viewed in sections with no loss of comprehension."
"Recently the Viz Lab completed an instructional application that outlines the procedure for non-destructive testing of the Black Hawk helicopter tail rotor gearbox output bevel gear. The Non-Destructive Testing Center of Excellence developed the procedure and we worked closely with them to capture it using high definition camcorders and cameras." Flores said.
"The Viz Lab edited and processed the footage to emphasize and reiterated key parts in the procedure and wrapped it up in a flash-based menu-driven application that is easy to navigate, which was burned to a CD or DVD so NDT COE can use the application on a laptop or desktop computer," Flores said.
Robert Seaman, NDT Engineer, AMRDEC said that the NDT procedure for the Black Hawk has not been issued to the field yet, however the Chinook Landing Gear Spindle Utrasonic Inspection video that was recently completed by the Viz Lab was just used at Hunter Army Airfield, Savannah, Georgia, with various Army and contract support personnel. It was very beneficial to the effectiveness of completing the procedure.
"This is the first time we've heard that this video we did for them was effective. It's a great feeling," said Flores.