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White House demo showcases advanced technologies


The advanced technologies displayed were representative of the work managed by the Army's Telemedicine and Advanced Technology Research Center. The center has partnered to create items like the NOMAD head-mounted display that not only gives Stryker brigade members in Iraq situational awareness by showing allied and enemy positions on a digital map but also lets brigade medics see patient records. The digital ambulance was originally designed so physicians can telementor emergency medical personnel when they have to transport seriously injured patients from rural America to a hospital.

"Basically we're allowing the physician to intervene earlier in the care of a patient," said James Wall of the Texas Center for Applied Technology. For the military it permits "the medical expert that you wish were at the scene but is not there to be there. We've used communications and cameras and physiological telemetry to be able to virtually bring the physician there to assist in the treatment," he said.

Trend: Augmented Reality Check

Honda is deploying Nomad Expert Technician Systems from Microvision, hands-free wearable displays that reflect images directly into the user’s eye, in their 12 U.S. training centers. The systems give the entry-level and experienced technicians who come for training access to online vehicle history and repair information without them having to take time away from the car to look at a separate computer display.

Microvision says their technology results in higher-quality work from less experienced technicians, and 30 to 40 percent efficiency gains measured in real-life trials. The devices cost about $4000 but the company says they can be paid back in less than 3 months and that a typical dealership adds $16,107 in gross profit per technician by using the devices.

In addition to Honda, some vocational technology colleges are using Microvision devices, also for automotive repair, as well as the military for maintenance training. We can imagine many other uses for this type of visual augmented performance support for workers who don’t sit at desks and would not normally have access to a computer, but who need to access written material or diagrams. Medical personnel and factory workers are just two groups who could benefit.

Fast Fact
By 2014, more than 30 percent of mobile workers will be using augmented reality.
Source: Gartner, via Information in Place

Interaction between real and virtual humans
For some years, we have been able to integrate virtual humans into virtual environments. As the demand for Augmented Reality systems grows, so will the need for these synthetic humans to coexist and interact with humans who live in the real world. Here, we use the example of a checkers game between a real and a virtual human to demonstrate the integration of techniques required to achieve a realistic-looking interaction in real-time. We do not use cumbersome devices such as a magnetic motion capture system. Instead, we rely on purely image-based techniques to address the registration issue, when the camera or the objects move, and to drive the virtual human's behavior. The above images represent two scenarios we have been working on:

The integration of virtual humans in industrial environments for service and training through augmented reality. This application shows how useful AR can be in real industrial training and planning. The camera is dynamic and robust to aspect changes. An autonomous virtual human is playing checkers against a real opponent in real-time. The real camera is dynamic.

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