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HoloLens uncovers the challenges of a disaster zone

By on 28 November, 2018

A global defence company’s latest collaboration is using the Microsoft HoloLens platform and augmented reality to help civilians understand the role of field hospitals in natural disasters.

Designed by the Australian arm of global company Saab, Augmented Relief is a collaboration with the University of South Australia to explore sophisticated medical technologies in disaster zones.

The exhibit is on display at UniSA’s hi-tech Museum of Discovery (MOD) where visitors don HoloLens goggles to take tour a virtual field hospital and experience real emergency scenarios.

The experience will feature as part of the upcoming Waging Peace showcase at MOD, which opens on the 27 November and runs until April 2019.

MOD opened in May and has been designed to challenge the standard museum experience, with spaces built for interactivity and immersion.

Inside UniSA’s Museum of Discovery (MOD).

Director Dr Kristin Alford says the demonstration will give people a direct experience of how AR technologies can inspire the cutting-edge advancements required to innovate local industries.

“The innovations pioneered by the defence sector are much broader than people imagine and often underpin civilian applications that enhance our capacity to deliver health care, emergency assistance and other much needed human services,” she says.

Dr Alford’s sentiments directly reflect Saab Australia’s intentions of developing hi-tech industry applications for the Microsoft HoloLens.

In 2016, the company detailed intentions to produce sophisticated applications on the platform, taking advantage of the technology’s revolutionary potential.

These plans have culminated in multiple innovations, including a defence application tailored for the Australian Air Force.

Managing Director of Saab Australia Andy Keough says the Augmented Relief exhibit will give people a better grasp of the unique adaptability and practicality of AR technologies.

“Using this technology, we can see what works and in what circumstances, so it means we are able to design more efficient medical facilities for the field,” says Keough.

“We can then test those designs and refine our work so that deployable hospitals and the medical technologies they contain are fit for all circumstances.”

The exhibit builds on a joint agreement signed in 2017 by Saab Australia and the University of South Australia to establish the Saab Australia-UniSA Defence Technologies Institute.

The institute aims to foster the creation of a defence skilled workforce through collaborative research and teaching opportunities.

The partnership also includes support for the ongoing development and refinement of AR technologies, which Keough says opened the door for the latest collaboration.

“We are delighted to be a part of the Waging Peace exhibition because it poses important questions about the social, environmental and human factors that influence peace, and understanding how technologies can actively support peaceful societies is a vital element of that story.”

The UniSA Museum of Discovery exhibition will offer a variety of experiences, with showcases from artists, universities and other entities helping to challenge how the world pursues peace.

This article was originally published on The Lead.

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