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Augmented Reality as a Training Tool

2010 January 25
by Richard N. Landers
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This post at Singularity Hub details an augmented reality tool developed for the Marine Corps that helps marines perform maintenance and repair an armored turret.

If you’re not familiar with the concept of augmented reality, think of it this way: instead of viewing reality directly (i.e. using your eyes), users view reality through a recording device.  The recording device can be virtually any electronic device with a video camera on one side and a screen on the other, including basic consumer technology like mobile phones.  The user points the camera at whatever they want to look at, and the device displays the live camera feed on the screen.  What makes it “augmented” is that other information is added on top of the live feed.  For example, a marine looks at a turret that needs repair, the computer inside the augmented reality device detects what the next step in the repair process is, and it adds annotations and sometimes videos to the video feed, which explain how to do whatever it is that the marine is trying to do.

Augmented reality is one of my personal research areas, but unfortunately, the tech is just too expensive for much research in psychology.  Which, of course, is why this research was conducted by engineers.

But on the bright side, the tech is getting less expensive, and reasonably low-cost alternatives to traditional technologies are appearing up all the time.  Just consider the $18,000 medical-grade balancing device that could be reasonably replaced by a $90 Wii Balance Board.  Whenever I can get an augmented reality device for $100, the research shall begin!

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