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Pakko De La Torre // Creative Director

Augmented Reality (AR) in COVID times – A game changer

Augmented Reality (AR) in COVID times – A game changer

What is Augmented Reality (AR)

Augmented Reality (AR) is a highly visual, interactive method of presenting relevant digital information in the context of the physical environment. Enterprise AR can be used to connect employees and improve business outcomes. Industrial AR offers a better way to create and deliver easily consumable work instructions by overlaying digital content onto real-world work environments.

Comparison with Virtual Reality (VR)

Virtual Reality (VR) is a computer-generated environment with scenes and objects that appear to be real, making the user feel they are immersed in their surroundings. VR allows us to immerse ourselves in video games as if we were one of the characters, learn how to perform heart surgery or improve the quality of sports training to maximise performance.

Restricting the spread of COVID-19

A key capability of AR is the ability to superimpose a digital virtual user interface on physical equipment that may have a limited or non-existent user interface. AR enables no-touch product interaction via virtual interfaces which would help to reduce the spread of COVID-19 .

The user is able to, depending upon the technology used, select actions by tapping on the screen of the device or, alternatively, use hand gestures or verbal commands to interact with the equipment via the AR-rendered “proxy” user interface. The provision of such abstracted interactions is key to reducing the amount of touching required by physical objects that may be used by numerous people.

The BBC has reported one such application that helps reduce the amount of physical contact between doctor and patient, while still enabling them to communicate with colleagues outside of the COVID-19 treatment area. A doctor wearing a Mixed Reality headset is able to interact with medical content such as x-rays, scans or test results using hand gestures while others are able to participate in the consultation from a safe location.

This way of working also reduces the need for Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) as colleagues are able to participate from a safe distance.

“We took the heavy lifting and put it in the operating system and now the developer can focus on their passions – the board game, the space app and so on.”

Tim Cook, CEO, Apple Inc

How AR is Benefitting Enterprises

A key use case of Enterprise AR is in the realm of remote assistance. 

AR-enhanced remote assistance provides a live video-sharing experience between two or more people. This differs from traditional videoconferencing in that such tools use computer vision technology to “track” the movements of the device’s camera across the scene.

This enables the participants to add annotations (such as redlining or other simple graphics) that “stick” onto elements in the scene and therefore remain in the same place in the physical world as viewed by the users.

Such applications support highly effective collaboration, for example, a person attending a faulty machine and a remote expert, who may be working from home. This use case helps mitigate impacts of travel reduction, reduced staffing and of course social distancing.

But it could also open up a pandora’s box going forward.

“There are a lot of issues that it opens up like for example who is allowed to place an augmented reality object where. Can someone from Burger King walk into a McDonald’s and place a Burger King ad there? What are the rules? It’s a whole new kind of field of consideration.”

 Scott Belsky, Author & Entrepreneur

About the FutureSkills PRIME Programme

Under the FutureSkills PRIME (Re-skilling/ Up-skilling of IT Manpower for Employability) Programme, a joint venture between MEITY and NASSCOM, various C-DAC centres are involved as the Lead Resource Centre for institutionalizing blended learning mechanisms in specific emerging technologies.

The CDAC courses are classified into three sub-categories-

Bridge courses

Courses about various tools, programming platforms, hardware which will help to enhance skills. Learners will become future ready for the opportunities in AR & VR. Graduate/Postgraduate in any discipline of Engineering & from any technical background can appear for this course.

Training of Government officials (GOT)

Under this program, Government officials will be trained on emerging technologies like AR/ VR & AI, which will help them do their work done in a totally different manner like creating new methods for documentation. In the near future this would help officials to work on new government & IT projects guided by the exposure to futuristic technologies.

Training of Trainers (ToT)

The CDAC/NIELIT resource centres and SSC NASSCOM will train faculty spread across the country and provide technical exposure to all Trainers who are part of this initiative. This course can help trainers to use technology effectively for teaching and defining new methods of teaching. It can also open opportunities in Government sectors as well as IT industry.

Written by CDAC Resource Centre

This content was originally published here.