Augmented reality (AR) often referred to as Mixed Reality (MR), refers to a set of mobile digital technologies that allow a three-dimensional computer-generated model in the form of a hologram to be overlaid on a real environment. This technology can be used to ‘create’ simulated patients for the purpose of learning in an Immersive Learning Environment (ILE). With the use of HoloLens devices, simulated patients (manikins) can be ‘brought to life’ in physical classroom environment. The learners can have the opportunity to interact with the Holo-patient in close proximity thereby bypassing the restrictions of the real clinical environment with all the risk involved, particularly during a pandemic outbreak. The learner gets the advantage of an immersive experience that bridges virtual and real-world, supplements reality, and have the potential to redefine how student/learners interact with the clinical/teaching environment.
‘Most MR devices use a headset such as Google Glasses or the Microsoft HoloLens that projects a hologram into the users’ physical environment. The HoloLens device is controlled by hand gestures in the air, using swiping or pinching movements like those made on an iPad or smartphone, or with voice commands’. With the headset on, the learner can see the patient, hear real sounds from the patient and see an objective data/ vital signs that can aid clinical reasoning. AR/MR devices are better tolerated than totally immersive Virtual Reality (VR) devices. AR/MR (such as the Micro HoloLens 2) is connected to the network over Wi-Fi rather than tethered to a PC. This enables increased mobility and application in almost any clinical and educational setting.
The Immersive Learning System (ILS) will expand the scope of traditional teaching and learning by bringing extended realty into the clinical training setting. The use of simulated Holo Patients that can be visualized via a HoloLens device will provide our healthcare professional students and trainees with opportunities of educational and engaging simulation activities.