US Army engineers use mixed reality to assess potential Covid-19 facilities

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The US Army engineering corps is able to virtually assess potential locations for alternate care facilities required to house patients with Covid-19 amid local surges

Quick read

➨ Scientists and engineers at the US Army Engineer Research and Development Center developed the MR-based solution
➨ The solution uses a combination of live-streaming and MR overlays via Microsoft’s HoloLens
➨ Five US Army Corps of Engineers districts are currently prototyping the solution, and another two are planning to use it soon

The story

Immersive technology is assisting the US Army Corps of Engineers with its site assessments of alternate care facilities as the country battles the Covid-19 pandemic.

Military and defence scientists and engineers at the US Army Engineer Research and Development Center have developed an MR-based solution to enable the engineering corps to virtually assess potential locations for alternate care facilities required to house patients with Covid-19 amid local surges.

A combination of live-streaming and MR overlays via Microsoft’s HoloLens have given smaller groups of engineers located on-site the capability to share information with subject matter experts working remotely.

The solution has also hastened the delivery of information and feedback to the Federal Emergency Management Agency, which is aiding the coordination of the US-wide Covid-19 response.

Five US Army Corps of Engineers districts are currently prototyping the solution, and another two are planning to use it soon.

Jonathan Boone, a research civil engineer at the US Army Engineer Research and Development Center Information Technology Laboratory where the solution was developed, said: “Facility assessments are critical to the success of the alternate care facility mission. Having reachback, live-stream capabilities allows engineers and architects who are leading efforts from a ‘boots on the ground’ team perspective to get virtual support from other US Army Corps of Engineers subject matter experts.”

Boone went on to reveal that immersive technology “is the connective tissue for all things the Engineer Research and Development Center is doing with artificial intelligence and robotics to leverage more informed decision-making for the nation and the warfighter”.

He said: “In a virtual world, our stakeholders can practice, fail, learn and improve through repetition in a safe environment. That way, they’ll be better suited to perform their duties.”

Image: Kelly Irvin of the US Army Engineer Research and Development Center uses MR technology developed in the Information Technology Laboratory to inspect a mock boiler room
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