May 25, 2022
Business News

Kilkenny engineers develop innovative VR Covid-19 safety programme while locked-down at home

A pair of Kilkenny engineers have developed a virtual reality programme which hopes will make it easier for kids and those with autism to understand, and to educate them, on the risks and safety measures associated with Covid-19.

Amazingly, Colin Fardey, a Software Research Engineer, and Miguel Ponce de Leon, a Technology Gateway Manager at the Virtual and Augmented Reality team in Telecommunications Software and Systems Group (TSSG) at Waterford Institute of Technology (WIT) developed the majority of this innovative new tool while they were working from home during lockdown.

The team at TSSG made the most of their time while confined to their home, with each member working on the project utilising the materials in their respective homes and then came together online to create this learning tool.

What TSSG have come up with is a virtual reality programme that has combined visual and physical touch learning tools to raise awareness of COVID-19 safety and good practice.

Aimed at children aged eight and up, this interactive experience is also Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) friendly and can be used as a tool to educate children in a fun and engaging environment.

Ian Mills, Technical Lead of the Virtual Reality team is delighted with the progress of the team’s projects during the lockdown and says the development of this learning tool highlights the flexibility of the team.

“The Mixed Reality Lab will open up new possibilities for cutting-edge research across a number of domains such as health and education.

“The ARVR team were successful in an Enterprise Ireland funding call last year to develop a Mixed Reality Lab in TSSG however, due to COVID-19, the finishing touches have been put on hold. Rather than allow the new equipment to go unused, the team utilised the materials in their respective homes and came together online to create this learning tool,” Mr Mills concluded.


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