TELEPRESENCE TOOLS

As part of the Ageing @ Work platform, a Situation Awareness tool has been developed, which is based on AR techniques and enables the user to gain better real-time feedback from the environment through localized indicators, as well as be trained in various scenarios relevant to their field of work. For workspace awareness, people need to gather information from the environment, understand it and predict what this means for the future. Offering an immersive environment, AR can contribute to this by allowing the user to observe the environment in greater detail, and process a greater amount of stimuli. In addition, the immersion provided by AR-based systems has shown to significantly reduce training time and costs required by employers. As such, AR technologies can be particularly helpful while considering ageing workers, as they can offer them with respectively enhanced situation awareness while operating or learning to operate a new device in their workspace.

The Situation Awareness Tool comprises two main elements: The AR Viewing tool and the AR Scenario Creation tool. The Scenario Creation tool lets users author their own training scenarios, using an expressive and intuitive node-based interface, and make those available for viewing and training. The Viewing tool is the counterpart of the Authoring tool that actually enables the immersive viewing of and interaction with the generated training scenarios.

The AR Viewing Tool is an application to navigate training scenarios, enabling the workers to be trained on various procedures in a safe and intuitive environment, that allows gaining the necessary information while minimizing issues such as equipment failures, and injuries, and ensuring a better comprehension of knowledge. The tool has the capability of navigating the procedure step by step, following sequences, loops, and conditions included in the procedure and, in doing this, it delivers the content which has been previously managed and included as resource by the Authoring Tool. The content delivered could depend both on the capabilities of the platform (for example, the operator will be exposed to video, sound, images, 3D models etc. depending on the fact that h/w platform can render that kind of content).

Furthermore, the operator has the opportunity to choose the best content that fits its own needs among the contents that can be deployed and delivered in the platform he/she is actually using. The tool has been developed in Unity, using the Vuforia framework. Vuforia has been used to ease the AR targets handling and to speed-up the development of the AR tools. Vuforia is an AR SDK specifically tailored for mobile platforms.

The main goal of the authoring tool is to enable the creation of authoring scenarios which are to be consumed by the AR Viewing application, to facilitate training. The scenarios contain instructions on how a specific procedure should be carried out, and are designed to convey detailed knowledge regarding the process, while taking advantage of the intuitive environment offered by AR. In this sense, and in the same way the AR Viewing tool facilitates training, the AR Authoring tool aims to provide an environment to facilitate the creation of scenarios, which is user-friendly to non-experts but still maintaining a significant level of capability.