How an AR app is taking Deakin students inside the heart

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How an AR app is taking Deakin students inside the heart

iOS app performs a digital ECG.

Deakin University medical students are using an iOS app to conduct virtual electrocardiography (ECG) tests on the heart through augmented reality.

The cARdiac ECG iOS app is the first project to be delivered under the university's three-year DeakinAR program.

The program will see the uni introduce an enterprise-scale solution for creating and managing AR experiences, like the 'Bony Orbit' AR model of the eye and its surrounds for optometry students, the 'Discover Deakin' augmented campus orientation experience, and use of AR for support for international students.

Knowing that introducing AR for learning would involve a significant cultural transformation, the uni started readying students and teachers for the change back at its 2014 open day, with an eight-week pilot of a multilingual mobile app for prospective students and parents.

It wasn't publicised, but with 3500 downloads and a 4.8-star average rating the pilot app showed CDO Willian Confalonieri's team that there was strong appetite for AR-based learning.

Two years later the cARdiac ECG app was born.

The iOS application teaches students the fundamentals of the heart and ECG through augmented reality, allowing them to explore "cardiac anatomy, physiology and pathophysiology relevant to the ECG".

Students can walk through an interactive cardiac model with overlays of the conduction system, blood flow and ECG trace, learn how to perform an ECG procedure step-by-step, and test their skills against teacher's expectations. 

"AR’s ability to supplement a real-world view with computer-generated artefacts like video or graphics, and enable device-based digital interactions, offers unprecedented teaching and customer engagement opportunities," Confalonieri said.

The app is currently in use in classrooms within Deakin's School of Medicine for first and second year students.

Deakin partnered with VR/AR software company Eon Reality to develop the core AR engine, 3D models, and interactions. It tasked its business analysts, technologists and design specialists to help design, test and build the bespoke app with the vendor.

The university is now claming the cARdiac ECG app has increased students' learning confidence by 70 percent in just a few short months since it launched.

This project has been named a finalist in the education category of the iTnews Benchmark Awards 2017. View the full list of finalists here.

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