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Benefits of Using Augmented Reality for Scenario-Simulation

In the Iron Man II movie, there are some incredible scenes of Tony Stark interacting with fantastic looking digital holographic interface in his lab. In one scene, he was manipulating a digital globe structure in his hands and visualizing different configuration and iterations. In the next scene, he was putting the globe structure into a simulated Iron Man suite to see how well it fits.

Obviously, current technology is still far from this type of human/computer interface. However, these super hero movie scenes are actually a good depiction of what Augmented Reality looks like in the future.

Using heads-up display (like smart glasses and Hololens) or mobile devices (like smart phones), AR can already achieve similar effects today. Digital 3D models can be superimposed in the real world environment from the above mentioned devices’ viewpoint, which is conceptually similar to what’s showing in the movie.

Marvel movies are great but what about real life applications? Among all the applications of AR technology, simulation of real-life scenarios has strong impact and specific benefits on training and education. Let’s take a look at how this is done and why.

How is AR used to simulate real-life scenarios?

AR experiences can be designed so that people can interact with the AR virtual models using either hand gestures in air or finger motion on screen. There could be different kinds of interactions with the AR models. For example:

- Virtually taking things apart and putting them together to simulate repair scenarios.

- Virtually pushing buttons or turning knobs to simulate operating scenarios.

- Virtually changing variables and factors to simulate what-if’s scenarios.

- Virtually adapting to environmental changes to simulate the inter-dependency between environment and virtual objects placed in the environment.

The four examples above certainly are not the complete list of potential applications for AR. They are all based on building various levels of interactivity design into AR virtual objects. This involves user interface design, 3D modeling, animation, spatial correlation and data stream integration.

Why AR simulation brings benefits to training and education?

It is not hard to understand why Augmented Reality can be beneficial for education or training. AR simulation provides the benefits of:

- Repeatable results:

When compared to using actual physical objects to demonstrate, an AR demo consistently works the same way every time. This provides a stable environment to show desired results.

- Robust training model:

Through repetition, trainees can better retain the knowledge learned. Specific instructions built in will guide users through training without human errors.

- Clear visualization of cause-and-effect:

There is no ambiguity or guessing involved when demonstrating different actions and outcomes (cause-and-effect) scenarios. This way, training is not only flexible but can also cover all possibilities that are rare, impossible, dangerous or expensive to generate for real.

- Controlled environment means it is OK to fail

It is safe to fail and learn from mistakes in a virtual simulation environment.

Here are two specific examples.

1st example:

AR simulation is used to show a virtual experiment on equipment. What will happen to the output of equipment if operation parameters are changed? A virtual experiment provides the perfect tool for playing with the settings and visualizing the results. It is a great tool to showcase product features and capability demonstration, by showing what the results would be if operation was done differently at certain steps. There is no risk of safety concerns during this type of simulation. This learning will not impact throughput or generate any off spec product. The things learned in the setting will aid reduce loss and increase productivity.

2nd example:

AR simulation is used to teach nursing students what’s correct and what’s not when caring for a patient. By building many combinations of actions and potential outcomes accordingly, students can learn quickly the proper care steps. They learn even faster through their own mistakes. A set of wrong choices in true clinical settings can lead to dangerous and adverse patient outcome. In a virtual simulation setting, it is safe to fail and make mistakes. Learning how to choose the correct sequence or combination of the actions, they will improve their own logical, analytical and critical thinking.

From operating physical equipment to teaching real-life lessons, virtual simulation using AR can provide repeatable results, robust model, clear cause-and-effect visualization, and safely controlled environment for all training and teaching applications.

To discuss how AR can help your organization’s technical training strategy and achieve ROI mentioned in this post, or to experience a real demo yourself, please contact

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