UMaine researchers develop innovative AR smartphone app for nursing lesson

University of Maine researchers developed an augmented reality smartphone app for teaching nursing students an interactive lesson about heart failure. 

The app displays a floating, animated heart model onto the smartphone screen, which is imposed onto the video feed from the camera. A heart failure lesson is embedded into the app and offers 45 swipeable slides containing informational text, heart animations to correspond with the information, vital sign updates and, in some cases, additional overlays. User interaction elements at the bottom of the screen display text, vital signs and navigation arrows to move forward and backward through the lesson. 

Throughout the lesson, users can change the angle of the heart view, and manipulate heart rate, blood pressure, stroke volume, cardiac output and Pox percentage to witness how it reacts in real-time for a better understanding of heart failure, according to researchers. 

Valerie Herbert, an assistant professor of nursing at UMaine, collaborated with the VEMI Lab at UMaine to create the app. VEMI Lab director Richard Corey, chief research scientist Nicholas Giudice, research scientist Caitlin Howell, laboratory research manager Kaitlyn Haase, laboratory technical manager R.J. Perry and graduate research assistant Christina LeBlanc participated in the project.

“The AR app has the ability to actively engage students for other challenging content, and applications to other populations, such as patient teaching,” Herbert says. 

The team recorded their findings in a report published in the journal Clinical Simulation in Nursing. The University of Maine System Research Reinvestment Fund supported the group’s work. 

Contact: Marcus Wolf, 207.581.3721;