10:01 AM

PULSE Lifesaving partners with Mohawk to develop augmented reality first aid training

A new applied research collaboration between Mohawk College and PULSE Lifesaving is poised to transform how Canadians receive first aid training.

Mohawk will design and develop a prototype for an augmented reality (AR) first aid training program for the Hamilton-based start-up company. Designed for use with a specialized AR headset, the program will deliver emergency first aid and CPR-B training using interactive and digital training scenarios, superimposed on a users’ view of the real environment.

The partnership will help PULSE Lifesaving accelerate the development of a functional AR prototype, with a planned launch of a beta version of the AR First Aid Program by Fall 2021.

"PULSE is thrilled to have secured MITACS Accelerate funding to support our continued prototype development and applied research,” says PULSE Lifesaving founder Dawson Lucier. “This important collaboration brings valuable research capacity to our work developing and testing an augmented reality first aid training program. This announcement comes at an exciting time for our organization as progress towards our remote training solution continues to move forward."

Founded in 2019, PULSE Lifesaving is a full-service provider of lifesaving, first-aid, and lifeguard training. Recent social distancing restrictions due to COVID-19 have prevented the company from offering in-person corporate first aid training.

Lucier realized that using AR headsets could provide a high-quality interactive training experience that respected public health guidelines and could, in the future, help the company provide convenient and economical first aid training for companies based in remote locations.

“This project will contribute to the improvement of AR technology for an entire field of training,” says Dr. Marilyn Powers, Director of Academic Technology Integration and Innovation. As the research lead on the project, she believes the project results have the potential to inform the creation of more effective education and training curriculum, especially in the health and safety training field.

“While there are published sources that indicate that this is technically feasible, the technology has never been proven in the field.”

The ten-month project is funded by a $60,000 grant from the MITACS Accelerate Program, a research internship program that helps connect companies gain a competitive advantage by accessing high-quality research expertise.

Two students from Mohawk’s Virtual Reality Multimedia Production, Dragan Visekruna and Nicolas Tristani, have been hired as interns by PULSE Lifesaving to create the program’s immersive content and scenarios, including completing all 3D modeling, 3D asset creation and programming.

"Merging the virtual and physical worlds to create powerful hands-on training simulations for numerous lifesaving skills will be an amazing experience,” says student Dragan Visekruna. “ A disruptive and exciting project such as this will help me consolidate a variety of skills and interests, and put them to use to solve problems that could benefit generations to come."

Mohawk College is recognized as a Canadian leader in augmented and virtual reality, often referred to as Extended Reality (XR). The college hosts Canada’s only EON/Mohawk XR Development Centre and also offers a graduate certificate program in Virtual Reality Multimedia Production.