Did You Know that a Costa Rican Engineer Is Helping to Develop the Augmented Reality Technology in the US Army?

TEC Graduate Participates in Research that Would Help Wounded in Battlefield

Increasing security while saving human lives is part of the actions carried out by the US military, with a research where the Costa Rican contribution has played a key role in the development of a new technological procedure.

Edgar Rojas Muñoz, a Costa Rican engineer and doctorate student at Purdue University

With support from augmented reality, Edgar Rojas Muñoz, a graduate of the Computer Engineering degree from the Technological Institute of Costa Rica (TEC) and a PhD student at Purdue University in Indiana, is part of the tele-directed System Development Team with Augmented Reality (STAR), which proposes aid to the wounded on the battlefields with remote technological support from medical specialists.

Star’s implementation will allow doctors to support procedures performed on the battlefield using an augmented reality screen, which gives those who care for the injured, a clearer view of the damage as well as the anatomy and other key elements to safeguard lives, thanks to the surgical instructions that are received by special lenses.

One of the validations of the project was performed at the Naval Medical Portsmouth Medical Center in Virginia, where a thyrocrichotomy (a procedure to open an emergency airway) was performed on a simulator patient. This was done with conditions similar to the battlefield, such as smoke, shooting sounds, as well as explosions.

A US Army surgeon tele-directing an emergency medical procedure known as thyrocrichotomy

The project funded by the US Department of Defense with support from the University of Indiana and Purdue University through the Laboratory of Intelligent Systems and Assistive Technologies (Isat), has been developed since 2014 and is already in its final stages, according to Rojas Muñoz

“Most of the work now focuses on the dissemination of technology and the development of additional functions for the system. For example, we are developing a function to capture the arms of expert surgeons and transfer a virtual version of them to remote mentors”, Rojas said.

Ultrasound with gesture support

The capabilities offered by the technology are undoubtedly, increasingly taken advantage of for the health field. Proof of this is Rojas’ participation not only in the Star project but also in the research he carries out in the framework of his doctorate. This seeks that the ultrasounds have interpretation by means of gestures of the doctors, in such a way that through these it is possible to interpret part of the results of this medical study.

The system called Mimetic and Gestural Instructions Comparator (MAGIC) has an architecture that manages to represent and compare morphological gestures linked in the first instance to the study of ultrasound, but which can be applied to both health and entertainment contexts, among others.

The graduate emphasizes that his training based on both the development of software as well as hardware, in addition to the participation in the eScience group as a student, provided him with tools and key knowledge that he applies today in his research. “The fact of being a graduate of the TEC has a very wide range of skills that I apply today in the framework of the doctorate”.

The results of the research carried out by Edgar have been presented at important conferences in France and Germany, both at the IEEE and other organizations. Rojas hopes to finish his doctorate in 2020 and in the future share his experience and knowledge with other young students of our country.

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SOURCEKenneth Mora Pérez
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