entioning digital technology in the same sentence as viruses probably makes your first thought hackers, not headsets, however, one college is using augmented reality to combat a different kind of virus, using Microsoft HoloLens to learn how to treat COVID-19.
The Southern Institute of Technology (SIT) in New Zealand have introduced augmented reality into their teaching to train nursing students how to treat patients with COVID-19.
The AR technology comes in the form of Microsoft HoloLens, a pair of mixed reality smartglasses developed and manufactured by Microsoft. The program, designed for the AR smartglasses, enables students at SIT to experience exactly what it is like to care for a patient in hospital suffering with COVID-19 in a completely safe and controlled environment.
When a student wears the headset, they are presented with a realistic, 3D holographic patient which allows students to visualise different symptoms and are able to fully interact with the virtual patient. For students, this kind of experience could not be gained through textbooks and allows for a deeper understanding of what it is like to care for real patients.
Karyn Madden, Year 2 Programme Manager of SIT’s Bachelor of Nursing, stated:
“Being able to work with holographic patients is actually even better than real life, as it’s safer and provides a much wider range of clinical situations than would otherwise be possible,”
Now the technology has become part of SIT’s long-term curriculum, and can be used to train nursing staff in a number of different ailments beyond COVID-19.
Dimi Mardas, Education Industry Manager for Microsoft New Zealand, is delighted with how valuable SIT students are finding HoloLens technology concluding:
“SIT is a leader in using augmented reality in New Zealand education, and we are thrilled with the successes they are seeing. It means that students no longer need to be in specific settings in order to gain hands-on experience, so far more people can access the skills they need. We’re looking forward to working with SIT and other education institutions around New Zealand to explore how else we can support learning and skilling using augmented reality.”