The term Augmented Reality (AR) refers to technology that adds to your field of vision or hearing in a context relevant way, but doesn’t obscure what you can see and hear. It is extensively used in both entertainment, educational and training.

One very topical example of AR during the COVID-19 pandemic is from Trinity College spin-off company Surewash. Their handwashing app allows users to follow instructions on how to wash their hands properly. The interactive app uses the camera in a person’s phone to monitor their performance and gives timely advice and feedback. This advice and feedback on performance speeds up the learning curve by enhancing the user’s muscle memory.

 

The cultural experience of tourists can also be enhanced through AR. In Dublin, visitors can hear from famous public figures by swiping their smart phones on AR enabled statues. The project launched by Talking Statues Dublin, allows users to hear from figures like James Joyce, Wolf Tone, Cu Chulainn etc. (all voiced by actors), and adds to what the visitor can see and read for themselves.

 

In manufacturing, training of new personnel and also training current personnel on new work practices or new machinery can be lengthy and expensive. However with AR, assembly and maintenance personnel can take advantage of what is essentially Just-In-Time training. A person’s AR enabled visor can itself see the part of the machine that is being focused on and immediately bring up the relevant training material on screen.

This technology can also be used to bring expert advice from a human expert to a medic or maintenance engineer operating in the field. For example a paramedic wearing an AR enabled visor can call for expert opinion. Using the images picked up from the AR enabled visor, specialists back in the hospital can ask the paramedic to manipulate the patient so they can essentially examine the patient for themselves and offer relevant advice.

In St Mary’s Hospital in London, surgeon’s were able to model a patient’s actual leg including the vascular anatomy, thus enabling them to perform complex surgery without perforating any veins or arteries.


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