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DCAD and the Physics Education Group host a joint HoloLens Demo

On the 6th May, DCAD hosted an Augmented Reality (AR) event which gave Durham University staff the opportunity to get hands-on experience of using the Microsoft HoloLens. Organised by Dr Pippa Petts of the Physics Education Group, the event brought together over 30 members of staff from all four Faculties for an afternoon of talks, tech, and trays full of cakes.

A classroom in the Teaching and Learning Centre, Durham University. A male presenter is stood beside a lectern with a projector screen. 17 people sat are sat listening, looking towards the presenter.
Craig Dores (far-left) gives an opening presentation to Durham staff explaining how the NHS are utilising AR technology for training medical students.

The session was led by Craig Dores from Bishop Auckland Hospital’s Clinical Simulation Centre, who gave staff an insight into how the NHS is using AR technologies. Using devices like the Microsoft HoloLens, coupled with a training ward, the NHS are able to train medical students on how to give effective patient care in safe, high-quality, simulated environments.

Following on from the session introduction, three demo stations were on offer to give staff the chance to try out some of the HoloLens applications for themselves. The first station was facilitated by Charlie Atkinson of Health Education England who demonstrated HoloHuman, the world’s first 3D human anatomy atlas that uses full-size, immersive holograms to allow people to explore regions of the body. The skeleton came under close scrutiny from Dr Trudi Buck from the Department of Anthropology.

Three people stood in a room. Two are wearing Microsoft HoloLens headsets.
John Stratford (centre) leading staff through the demonstration of HoloPatient.

The second, hosted by John Stratford from Northumbria’s Dinwoodie Assessment and Simulation Hub (DASH), used HoloPatient, an app that helps students assess, diagnose, and treat real-world conditions through true-to-life holographic simulations of standardised patient scenarios. This application focussed on the softer skills of clinical practice, where users interact with hologram subjects to help surface illnesses that are not immediately apparent.

A hospital patient room with a holographic male patient sat on a bed. To the right of him are holographic heart monitor infographics and interactive controls.
An example of how HoloPatient appears through the HoloLens. The patient and the interactive display are both augmented into the patient room. Image ©gigXR

The final station offered staff something a little different. An online meeting and collaboration platform called JoinXR designed for engineering and data-intensive applications. In this demo, Durham staff were greeted by JoinXR co-founder Mark Knowles-Lee in an online meeting environment. To demonstrate the capabilities of AR collaboration, Mark was able to project a full-scale Formula 1 car into Teaching and Learning Centre, where staff adopted the role of pit crew, working together to change the wheels on an F1 car.

Three people stood in a room all wearing Microsoft HoloLens headsets.
Durham staff taking part in a JoinXR meeting are presented with a holographic Formula 1 car that is projected into the room. JoinXR co-founder Mark Knowles-Lee speaks to staff through speakers built into the headsets to instruct them what to do.

This event is connected to a DCAD Collaborative Innovation Grant led by Dr Pippa Petts and supported by Ross Parker, which will be used to develop a set of augmented reality (AR) learning materials to aid first year physics students in advancing their conceptual understanding of key topics. Visit our SharePoint site to find out more about the DCAD Collaborative Innovation Grants and how you can apply. You can also contact your DCAD Digital Education Consultant for an informal chat about any ideas you may have.