Last summer, millions of children discovered the power of Augmented Reality (AR) while using apps like PokemonGo, Snapchat and Instagram.
AR is a growing field of technology where real life is modified and enhanced by computer-generated sights and sounds. It differs from its entirely computer-generated sibling Virtual Reality (VR) in that AR offers a live view of the physical environment, with elements that have been ‘augmented’ by overlaid computer-generated information. AR is also more commonly used through mobile apps. Point your device’s camera at something that the app recognises, and it will generate a 3D animation or video superimposed over whatever is on your camera’s screen. The effect makes the computer-generated item appear like it’s really there.
So what? You say… how can this be used in farming?
Here at the Farm Safety Foundation, we have been beavering away behind the scenes for a year – working on our own exciting AR project and it launches today!
Over the past year, we have been working with Warwickshire-based Exhibit Interactive, a start-up business specialising in emerging technologies like augmented and virtual reality, mixed reality and multi-touch. We have combined interactive communication and engagement with the innovation of ICT and created a farm safety learning tool which will be suitable for learners of all abilities… and ages!
This new tool will help reinforce in an interactive way the life-saving and life-changing work we at the Farm Safety Foundation do – day in, day out. We work closely with partners in the industry to engage, educate and communicate strong and relatable farm safety messages to the next generation of farmers. Our unique farm safety training has been delivered to over 4,200 agriculture students in 41 different land-based colleges throughout the UK and to over 1,600 young farmers at Young Farmers Club level since May 2015. This training has recently been acknowledged in the HSE Agriculture Intervention Strategy saying “Industry initiatives, such as the Lantra-accredited Introduction to Farm Safety training course, developed and delivered by the Farm Safety Foundation (FSF) , and the FSF Farm Safe Curve Module, delivered at YFC level, are starting to define the industry’s expected basic standards of health and safety training.
The training involves a CSI style face-to-face interactive session recreating four common farm accident scenes from a choice of eight. Students have 20 minutes at each scene to work out what has happened, what they can practically do to help the victim and, importantly, consider how they would prevent this accident from happening to them in the future. When 95% of agricultural students who received our training in 2017 claimed they would think twice about taking risks in the future, we know that we are beginning to make a difference which gives us the determination to continue to strive for zero avoidable deaths on farms.
Now we know that young people learn in different ways and we believe in championing alternative learning methods and the value of life skills, as a way of engaging young farmers and equipping them for their chosen career.
So, we recognise that young people learn in different ways and there are many more farmers out there who aren’t attending college but still want to learn in an innovative and engaging way.
For a generation raised on interactive technologies, bringing AR into learning can help encourage active engagement and contribute to delivering the farm safety message.
How can you try it out? Our free app will be available to install from today from either the App Store or Google Play. Search for Yellow Wellies AR Experience……you’ll be able to interact with a farm scene, get hold of some top tips and in depth advice on working safer with Livestock, Height, Slurry, Overhead Powerlines, Machinery and of course Children on Farms.
The app will also be adapted as a website version where users can see and rotate the farm scene on the home page of yellowwellies.org. There will be six different hot spots where users can click to reveal an information banner which will link through to our new advice pages.