I-React – Improving Resilience through Advanced Cyber Technologies is a 6.5 m€ project funded by the European Commission aimed at creating a real time prevention and management system for natural disasters. The Istituto Superiore Mario Boella from Turin is the coordinator of a project that brings together 20 European partners, including research centres, IGOs (e.g., UNESCO), public entities and SMEs that will support the commercial exploitation of the project.
Accessible real-time information
Augmented Reality (AR) is an innovative technology that permits to any user to visualize the most relevant information on anything in real-time, thanks to a virtual layer filled with information that overlaps the real world.
It allows for the enrichment of human field of vision through the screen of a device provided with a camera. When Augmented Reality is applied to a connected environment, the software becomes potentially aware of the context of the user who is operating, and can deliver in the right moment, the right information, to the right person.
With the advent of smart glasses, this technology is finding fertile ground in all those fields that require contextual real-time information, while keeping hands free. Indeed, a constant increase in adoption of smart glasses equipped with AR applications is happening in the professional field.
Augmented Reality and smart glasses were a good solution to experiment in the I-React project, with the goal to empower end-users to achieve improved in-field coordination, and at the same time to monitor position and the safety of the operators during the emergency management.
The solution can be particularly useful in the emergency response phase, because it can run an AR application to enhance the user’s interaction with the perception of the environment, displaying information that cannot directly be detected with senses. The final step is to integrate the new solution into traditional emergency processes, enabling the realization of a powerful collaborative platform together with the other technologies developed for the I-React project. What was done in the I-REACT was to develop a brand new AR application running on smart glasses that will allow first responders to send geo-localized status report in real-time, to obtain situational assessments, and to receive communications from the operational centre.
Real Action Test – Ipswich
Recently, I-React has completed an important milestone for the project. The system has been tested in Ipswich, one of the oldest cities in the UK, located in an area under severe risk of floods, this allowed to better understand and stretch the capabilities and limits of all the technologies involved in the system.
Tests included a full day of real action under a flood simulation, where first responders had the chance to try the complete set of tools together, for the first time since the project started. JoinPad has been on first line to support users during tests with the AR app on smart glasses, the platform also included a mobile app, wearable devices and a full set of crucial information for the responders.
One of the most remarkable achievement for the project is that the simulation demonstrated the maturity and readiness of the system, that now represents an alternative to existing plaftorms, being one of the most innovative tools for the management and assesment of natural risks.
Read more about the flood simulation in Ipswich here.