Think Digital brings Microsoft AR to SA farmers

Think Digital brings Microsoft AR to SA farmers

Using Microsoft HoloLens augmented reality headset, smartphones or tablets.

Kat Bidstrup (Think Digital)

Kat Bidstrup (Think Digital)

Credit: Think Digital

Immersive technology specialist Think Digital has created an augmented reality (AR) app to help track cases of foot-and-mouth disease in South Australian farmers’ livestock. 

Working with the South Australian government's Department of Primary Industries and Regions South Australia (PIRSA), Think Digital created the app to be used in conjunction with Microsoft HoloLens AR solutions. 

Known as the Sheep Emergency Animal Disease AR Tool, the app allows farmers to view a small flock of 3D digital sheep using a Microsoft HoloLens AR headset, smartphone or tablet. 

The tool displays visual symptoms of foot and mouth and other emergency animal diseases, which can help farmers pinpoint symptoms it is presenting, like foot and mouth lesions and lameness. The tool delivers feedback and pop-up hints to help them, Microsoft said. 

Noting that the tool would be used on remote properties that may have limited connectivity, Think Digital designed it with an offline mode. 

“Connectivity can at times be quite challenging in the bush; the Sheep Emergency Animal Disease AR Tool can work completely offline until they get to the point where they want to learn more about the disease and can visit a website,” said Think Digital founder Tim Gentle. 

Since the app was completed in June 2022, it has been received positively by the farming and agricultural education communities, Microsoft claimed. 

Future iterations of the tool could include a collaborative model where two people can view the same content, even if they are in different locations, or beaming in remote assistance from vets. 

“Pinning AR to real-world objects is the sweet spot for augmented reality,” said Kat Bidstrup, CEO of Think Digital. 

“Our experience using immersive technology with students is it’s a great tool to engage them with their learning. We hope this will be the same, just with a different demographic who are very interested in technology. I think it will be really powerful”. 

“I can’t say too much, but there are definitely broader applications in agriculture for this technology that we’re exploring right now.” 

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