Dutch startup Fectar has developed an app that helps Ukrainian children, among others, learn to recognize mines. This first ever interactive augmented reality (AR) lesson with a hologram was created for education about explosives. The lesson stems from a question that military man Charles Valentine asked himself, “How can we help the Ukrainian people de-mine their land when 30% of the ammunition shot did not explode but is still there?
Valentine, a soldier in the Explosive Ordnance Disposal – EOD, wrote an article on social media about the war in Ukraine*. In it, he appealed for help in identifying and clearing the country’s munitions. “About 30% of the ammunition shot does not explode but is still in the country. With great danger to the population.” In his search for a solution, he stumbled upon Fectar, a Dutch Metaverse Creator Platform for Augmented Reality (AR) and Virtual Reality (VR). He discovered the potential of this Dutch startup’s AR/VR app and built an interactive 3D lesson for recognizing mines. A life-saving learning tool for children in war zones.
Education in Ukraine
The goal is to reach at least 15,000 ambassadors with the virtual lesson for demining. The Ukrainian organization “Terra Pyra”** will roll out the training of the lesson throughout Ukraine. They will use community centers and online training to introduce residents and their children to how AR works on their cell phones. The free Fectar app is specially designed to provide a full-fledged Augmented Reality experience even on older smartphones with slow Internet connections.
Learning like in the real world
It is the first AR lesson used to explain the dangers of unexploded explosives. It shows 3D models of different types of munitions. In the lesson, for example, children learn what a mine looks like in real life and that it is dangerous to pick up a mine. This AR technology contributes to a better learning experience. Unlike VR, where users enter a completely digital world, with AR users see the real world around them where digital information and 3D models about situations are overlaid. In the process, a hologram of a Ukrainian teacher keeps looking at the user, providing contact with users and thereby enabling education. During use, the app measures the learning process and training can be adjusted.
AR provides a safe learning environment, leading to a better understanding
AR not only allows students to absorb their learning better and faster, but it also allows them to learn more naturally and intuitively. Traditional education is more passively designed and uses abstract concepts and difficult to understand theories, but through AR, children find themselves in “real life” situations that they can interactively recognize or explore. This accessible and safe way of learning leads to better results. For example, virtual field trips or simulations can provide better understanding of the world, as well as scientific subjects, history, geography, practical, complex or creative ideas, and in the case of Ukraine: munitions.
*Ukraine ArcGIS story: https://storymaps.arcgis.com/stories/eb04510258bb424ab0ffd79aa3934611
**Ukrainian organization: https://terrapura.ngo/