I recently purchased a dresser from IKEA for my son’s bedroom – the one with 46 pieces of laminated wood, 15 bags of hardware a picture book of instructions that should make sense, but somehow didn’t.  Perhaps you’re familiar with this model?  After the fourth iteration of taking it apart to correct my mistakes, it occurred how fantastic it would be to have someone that had done this before looking over my shoulder to guide me through the process.


This is the basic premise of a recent presentation by SOLUTE, a Sigma Defense Company, team members James Pinpin and Vivian Hsu at the Augmented World Expo in Santa Clara, California: “VADER: Using XR Technologies for Remote Critical Care Assistance and Training”.  VADER, which is an acronym for “Virtual Augmented Distributed Engagement Reality” is an Extended Reality (XR) application platform for providing remote training and remote assistance capabilities, developed by James and Vivian and the SOLUTE team, in collaboration with a U.S Navy hospital.

Unlike the IKEA anecdote, the potential for VADER is much farther reaching and can have a much greater impact that an assembling a dresser.  Imagine an experienced surgeon based at Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Bethesda MD, guiding an Army medic in a remote base in the middle east through a complicated medical procedure, seeing exactly what the medic sees and providing expert guidance through virtual and augmented reality tools in real-time.  This is a technology that has lifesaving potential in the literal sense of the word.


“It’s not just about getting the patient to the surgeon, it’s really about getting the patient to the surgeon who has the knowledge and expertise to properly treat that injury,” said James Pinpin during the session at the AWE Conference. “The problem is that these expert surgeons, there’s not enough of them and for their limited number, most are located in military hospitals remotely and not on the front lines…A group of trauma surgeons based in San Diego came up with this idea of using XR technology, where an expert surgeon with a VR perspective can provide remote guidance to a novice surgeon with an AR perspective when they are going through a surgical procedure.”


VADER uses cutting-edge gaming technology based on the Unity Engine to provide a rich virtual-augmented 3D environment for remote expert use cases.  Leveraging a multi-player on-premises Unity session hosting service, it allows for multi-player engagement into multiple concurrent sessions, which provides the ability to scale well beyond one-to-one engagements between expert and novice.  VADER is predicated on a Service-Oriented Architecture (SOA) for its design of its back-end services, which currently consists of the Unity session hosting service, image processing service, video feed service, health vitals feed service, admin configuration service, data source service and authentication service.  The Open Architecture, Third-Party Integration and Microservices Framework allows for future functionality to be easily integrated to support varying requirements and new capabilities.


In this recent demonstration, the SOLUTE team simulates a surgeon interacting with a remote medic, integrating voice, video, 3-D capture along with digital medical images, electronic health records and sensor data to provide a rapid response to an injured patient during the “golden hour”, the period of time immediately after a traumatic injury during which there is the highest likelihood that prompt medical and surgical treatment will prevent death.


While this is one example it can be used, there are infinite use-cases;  from an avionics technician training junior mechanics on jet engine diagnostics to a SATCOM engineer instructing new communications tech on setting up a remote communications, the ability to scale expertise is increasingly in demand.  AR/VR technology enables the expert to “be there” without actual “being there” while providing the most comprehensive perspective of any technology.


What use-cases can you envision for VADER?  We want to hear from you – share your ideas or on contact us to schedule a demonstration.