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MWC: Augmented reality to enhance quality of life

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Qualcomm, Vodafone and a Spanish non-profit organisation have joined forces to develop augmented reality apps aimed at improving the lives of the intellectually disabled and their families.

Qualcomm, Vodafone Spain Foundation (VSF) and the APROCOR Foundation, a non-profit organisation aimed at improving the quality of life of the intellectually disabled and their families, yesterday presented the Augmented Reality for e-labora project, which aims to help workers with intellectual disabilities integrate into the labor market.

People with intellectual disabilities need assistance to perform work tasks, such as how to replenish depleted products on store shelves or what to do when a copy machine runs out of paper. With this in mind, the Augmented Reality for e-labora project, implemented by VSF and the APROCOR Foundation and supported by the Spanish Government, seeks to develop “a new paradigm of accessible work environments””. This project will work to improve the integration of intellectually disabled persons in the workplace, creating an environment that enhances their safety, emotional stability, communication, self-determination and participation.

Using Qualcomm’s Vuforia augmented reality (AR) platform, 3G-enabled smartphones and tablets, and applications and content created by VSF, the project incorporates AR into job coaching and training activities.

With a grant from Qualcomm’s Wireless Reach initiative, these AR-enabled devices will be used as personal support tools that provide communication, scheduling functions, on-location tutoring, step-by-step training, task descriptions and other relevant information. Applications include an office navigation tool, a printer instruction guide, and a manual to help gardeners and supermarket stockers through their daily tasks. For example, with the EasyUse AR application, the user points a mobile device at a printer to access an interactive instruction guide with easy-to-understand learning commands that have been digitally superimposed onto the physical environment.

“”Qualcomm’s Vuforia platform improves the autonomy and integration of the intellectually disabled in the work environment,”” saidRamon Corral, chairman of the APROCOR Foundation. “”It’s very helpful for identifying people, giving information about their responsibilities, describing the space they are working in, or offering advice on how to use a device.””

“”Augmented Reality enabled through 3G connectivity offers new opportunities to improve people’s lives,”” said Shawn A. Covell, vice president for Qualcomm’s Wireless Reach initiative. “”We are very pleased to collaborate again with our long-term partner Vodafone Spain Foundation and APROCOR Foundation on this project to support an important community of workers. This project demonstrates how AR on mobile devices can be an effective tool to allow people to achieve their full potential.””

“”The Augmented Reality for e-labora project is a good example of how VSF helps build strategic collaborations across relevant stakeholders to match social knowledge with technology in order to achieve as a team what we can’t do individually,”” saidSantiago Moreno, general manager of Vodafone Spain Foundation. “”With this project, we have the opportunity use technology to change the lives of people with intellectual disabilities and make a difference by promoting independent living and personal autonomy.

Additional information on the project is available at www.qualcomm.com/vsf-project

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