The high tech tool that could help your commute

BOSTON (WHDH) - Locomotive Shop Superintendent Kevin Mullin is troubleshooting a problem on a train using smart eyeglasses.

The technology is designed to help train drives make emergency repairs on the spot while passengers are still on board.

Keolis Rail Services, the company that operates the commuter rail for the MBTA, gave 7News an exclusive look at the testing of a new pilot program.

The idea is to use high tech eyewear to give locomotive engineers immediate access to experts anywhere in the world…and it’s all in real time.

It’s a tool that allows train drivers to make emergency repairs with passengers still on board.
Kevin Amaral, the Assistant Superintendent for the Mechanical Help Desk, knows how important it is to have a clear picture of the problem.

“It’s actually nice to see what others are seeing,” he says. “Sometimes there’s a communication breakdown from what I’m thinking and what he’s actually seeing.”

Here’s how the glasses work: Once the train engineer detects a problem he puts on the smart glasses and connects them to a cell phone using the software from AMA ExpertEyes.

“It can basically enable a field technician or any employee that needs help solving a problem from an expert in real time,” says Lauren Bellis, Operations Manager for the Cambridge startup company.

Wearing the glasses the engineer is able to take pictures and stream video, which gets transmitted to a maintenance expert on the other end of the line.

The expert sees the problem and can help engineers in the field make repairs remotely.

The train drivers can fix anything from a broken door, a loudspeaker, or even a heating or air conditioning system without taking the train out of service and moving it to a railyard for repair.

Even if the problem is not immediately fixable, Keolis believes diagnosing the problem will save time and money.
And so far, employees testing the glasses are giving it a thumbs up.

“That’s five hundred people who are able to get home to their kids, or to their dentist appointment, or wherever it is,” says Superintendent Mullin. “So, yeah, it’s extremely valuable.”

Keolis says the pilot program runs through September.

If it is successful, the commuter rail company says it would look to implement the high tech glasses system wide.

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